Friday, December 29, 2017

Pint-sized Scary: A Review of Little Nightmares and Half-Minute Horrors.

I was really happy that my son asked Santa for Little Nightmares, a new imaginative horror game that's catching fire with kids and adults alike. 



He loves the game and the expansion pack, and honestly so do I. When he plays new scenes, everyone in the house kind of gathers around the computer to watch because the art and the vaguely placed storyline here are intense and amazing. 

The gameplay isn't overly tricky for kids, the puzzles are mostly a matter of timing (so make sure you have a good PC game controller if you get the computer version because some of it felt impossible with a keyboard). 

Like my other favorite horror games (Fatal Frame, Clocktower), you don't really get to fight back much (and when you do, you had better make it count). You're weak here, starving, mostly alone, and tiny. And everything stronger than you wants you dead. 

Credit to the photographer for the background on my fan art
unsplash-logoPatrick Tomasso



The heroine (and hero in the expansion) don't have backstories, their faces are mostly hidden because the only thing you need to know is that they are children in this monstrous place. 

And I mean monstrous. 

The creatures are inventive, not gory in my opinion, but creatively grotesque; A janitor with long arms whose face is falling away like a bandage, and gooey fat chefs and their patrons dripping with gross as they grab for you whenever you're spotted, and a beautiful ghost-faced woman who seems to oversee it all. My son was able to handle the creatures and storyline and really enjoyed it, so if you have a bigger kid who loves colorful scares (Last Kids on Earth, Bendy and the Ink Machine, Goosebumps) then this might be a good find, but as with everything at this age, play it with them and talk about it first. 

If you're looking for a book for middle-schoolers with the same level of scares, I recently checked out "Half-Minute Horrors" by Susan Rich. 


It's a collection of super short horror tales (and some illustrations, photographs or comic panels) with this age-group in mind. And yeah, I read it, too. This one my oldest daughter really enjoyed, and it has some of our favorite authors like R.L. Stine and Lemony Snicket in the collection. Some pieces fall short, but it's worth it for the more creative yarns to read through the entire volume. And, as the cover states, it won't take you long. 


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