You wouldn't expect a puzzle platformer to be one of the pleasanter surprises at EGX 2016. Perhaps the booth should have been a better indication; Little Nightmares wasn't stuffed away in the corner of the convention, but instead commanded centre stage, with an elaborate labyrinth-like setup involving towering drawers and dressed-up chefs.
With such a theatrical setup, we were bracing ourselves for the product itself to disappoint, but its 10 or so minute mix of stealth, platforming, and horror actually showed immense promise. In development at Swedish studio Tarsier, this is essentially LittleBigPlanet with a rancid exterior, as it uses physics-heavy platforming to direct you through an underwater world.
You can run into the background if necessary, though the cross-section camera position means that the gameplay here shares more in common with a sidescroller than a true 3D platformer. Still, it looks and sounds great, with the opening moments of the demo seeing us employ our clandestine creeping abilities to slope past a Claymation chef with a big butcher's knife.
Later on, we're required to gather some meat, so that it can be fed into the grinder in order to make sausages. The processed meat can then be used as an impromptu rope to reach the next part of the level – it's Sackboy in his worst ever nightmare. The controls and physics all feel right, though if you've never been a fan of LittleBigPlanet's platforming, then you're probably not going to fall in love with this.
We're rather excited for it, though. In a year that's introduced the outstanding Inside, Tarsier is going to have its work cut out topping it. But we enjoy the odd twisted adventure from time to time, and it's clear that Bandai Namco has a lot invested into this project. Can the final product deliver? It's certainly looking anything but a nightmare right now.
Is Little Nightmares the game of your dreams, or will you be abandoning sleep after seeing screenshots of this? Try not to cry in the comments section below.