Little Nightmares Secrets of the Maw Chapter 1 Review

By Mark Delaney, 5 months ago
Little Nightmares is a game we adored when we reviewed it back in April, citing its paradoxically grotesque and beautiful world and its charmingly vague story as high points in the six to eight hour game. If you've been following along, you know the game has more nightmares to share in the form of "Secrets of The Maw", a three chapter DLC season set to unfold over the next several months. The first of those chapters, "The Depths", is more of a brief daydream than a lengthy nightmare, but it still manages to give fans reasons to return.

Little Nightmares DLC

Like most DLC, "The Depths" doesn't seek to reinvent the wheel. The core gameplay of Little Nightmares remains intact. It does, however, introduce some minor new mechanics by focusing a lot on water. "The Depths" seems to take place closer to the bottom level of the imposing ship, The Maw, so a bit of flooding is in play. It's a sensible fit given that so much of the main story has you sprinting with threats of imprisonment, or worse, literally on your heels. The panic-inducing lack of maneuverability that water creates only adds to that tension as the new playable character, The Runaway Kid, attempts to avoid a grandmotherly new villain always lurking just below the surface of the flooded ship.

These mostly water-based puzzles can still feel a bit trial-and-error like their predecessors, although it seems because most anyone playing "The Depths" is a seasoned Little Nightmares player, the game's language speaks more recognizably. You'll likely spend less time figuring out what to do because by now you know what surfaces and objects may be manipulated in the immersive, almost entirely prompt-less game. That means the puzzles, which were never too difficult to unravel, are now a bit simpler. They're still greatly based on timing, though, often leaving you with literally no spare moment to ponder your next move.

Little Nightmares Secrets of the Maw

A new protagonist means a new perspective for the greater Little Nightmares mythology. This is really the high point of the DLC. If you've spent time wondering just what The Maw and its inhabitants may symbolize, if anything other than childlike subconscious fears, "The Depths" offers some more context to that end, although it's hardly any clearer. Perhaps by the end of the "Secrets" season the symbology will be more apparent, even though a lingering mystery seems fitting too.

The achievements are very generous, and if you're both a fan of the game and gamerscore, you'll probably adore "The Depths". The DLC adds just three achievements but tacks on an additional and quite simple 400 gamerscore. One unlock comes when you finish the chapter, another is a secret (but already has a few great guides here on TA), and the last is to collect all five bottles strewn throughout the one hour add-on. To consider that there will be two more DLC chapters over the next few months, it seems Little Nightmares might offer quite a lot of gamerscore by the end of its twisted story.

Summary

Little Nightmares is a pick for Game of the Year right now and its first DLC chapter, "The Depths", enjoyably builds on the intoxicating and mysterious mythos of The Maw. It doesn't resolve the long loading times seen in the full game and it's admittedly a brief stay, clocking in at just an hour of play time. Still, because of its world-building and new unsettling villain bolstering the gallery of the grotesque, "The Depths" returns to the surface all the reasons to love Little Nightmares.
4 / 5
Positives
  • A new villain to join the other memorable Big Bads
  • More world-building in one of the year's best game worlds
  • Mixes in new puzzle mechanics
Negatives
  • Just an hour of new content may seem brief for some
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent one hour swimming in "The Depths", collecting all three achievements for 400 gamerscore. An Xbox One review copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his fiancée and son. He almost never writes in the third person.