13 Wonderfully Horrific Games Like Little Nightmares

Image credit: Playdead

Some of the main reasons people like Little Nightmares is because of its amazing storytelling, rich atmosphere, and playful character design.

Every aspect blends well with one another. The game turned out to be one of the best indie horror games and even spawned a sequel.

Little Nightmares has more of a mystery game than horror, and it takes the player on a journey of emotions while playing the game.

For this list, we have compiled 13 games like Little Nightmares you can try that are equally great. Each game will have the core elements of what made Little Nightmares great.

A Tale of Paper: Refolded

A Tale of Paper: Refolded is a side-scrolling, puzzle-based game in 2.5D that looks similar to Little Nightmares. You play as Line, a magical character made of paper.

Do you know how small Six is compared to the things around her? Line is the same since he is basically just made out of a piece of paper.

The difference is that Line has the power to use origami to his benefit. As Line, you will be in situations where you must turn yourself into different origami designs to help you progress.

When you want to reach a high point but you are too small to jump, you can turn yourself into a frog to help you leap higher.

When you need to jump from building to building, you can turn yourself into a paper plane and glide along. This ability is part of the decision-making process when doing puzzles. 

The game’s atmospheric gameplay and eerie music set the tone of the game. After finishing Line’s story, you will be able to unlock a total of three different storylines with other characters as the protagonist. 

Contrast

Contrast is a puzzle-based game with a story bound to gain everyone’s interest. 

You play as Dawn, who is the imaginary friend of a girl named Didi. In the game, Dawn and Didi are actually the only characters that are in 3D.

Dawn has a special power: she can switch between the physical world and the shadow world.

Since this is the case, you will have to utilize light sources in the 3D world, to create shadow paths in the 2D world. The paths you create can help you reach new places. You can jump on top of a building’s shadow or even the shadow of other characters. 

Because Dawn is just an imaginary friend, you only see the other characters as shadow figures, giving the game a unique aspect. You can only imagine how they look but not actually see them.

Playing the game will require you to solve a lot of puzzles. You will have to be creative on how you utilize shadows throughout the game.

There are times when you will find yourself accidentally going back to the 3D world, despite wanting to do puzzles in the shadow world. 

Inside

Inside is a puzzle platform game in 2.5D where you assume the role of a boy who finds himself in a very odd facility. You have the ability to control employees or people around the facility.

The game gives out a dark atmosphere, adding to its overall look and feel. 

Aside from the atmosphere and its side-scrolling game mechanic, Inside is similar to Little Nightmares in a lot more ways.

One of these is the fact that you will get chased a lot in this game. You will often run away and try not to get caught.

Another thing is when you will have to avoid the spotlight for fear of getting caught. Once you get caught or die, you restart at the nearest checkpoint.

Dying in the game can be a bit graphic. You can really see its gruesome effects. 

In most games, you will have hidden objectives wherein you can collect stuff. Here, it is the opposite.

You are able to deactivate light orbs in random bunkers located inside the facility. Deactivating everything unlocks an alternate ending that you wouldn’t want to miss. 

Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep is a survival horror, action-adventure game played in first-person. You are playing as a toddler, walking or crawling around an unfamiliar house. 

During your exploration, there are monsters chasing you, with a lady humming a creepy tune being one of them. This will remind you of The Lady in Little Nightmares, who brings out a spine-chilling vibe. 

Most of the time, you will be crawling as this is the most comfortable way for you to move around. However, there will be moments wherein you will have to run.

Running and hiding are two ways in which you can escape from the monsters’ grasp. Once you get caught, you restart at the latest checkpoint. 

You are accompanied by a stuffed toy named Teddy, which serves as your light source. All you need to do is give the bear a hug, and it will emit light. The objective of this game is to regain your memories and eventually return to your house safe and sound. 

Seen 

Seen is a side-scrolling adventure game in 2.5D. You play as a lonely kid who is trying to escape a dark world.

While you play the game, you will notice that the boy’s surroundings are full of toxicity and negativity, which could be the reason why the boy is miserable.

You will meet adults who are indifferent and would say mean things to you. When this happens, you will see red symbols spawning out of their mouths, hurting you in the process. 

The game gives out a very dark atmosphere, and you will have to collect little orbs of light as you go.

This could symbolize the light that is guiding you through a better path. Remember to avoid red orbs, as these will hurt you. Seen also features inspirational quotes that pop out randomly, depending on the scenario. 

After some time, you save a cat who looked as lonely as you. Together, both of you try to escape the darkness. The cat serves as your only refuge and comfort outside of a horrible world. 

Hoa

Hoa is an adventure puzzle platform game set in 2.5D. From the initial look of the game, you will notice a similarity to the animation of Ghibli films.

This is what makes the game so attractive. Not only that, but it also gives the same relaxing vibe as the movies, which is a refresher from other heavy games. 

You are a fairy who was separated from your tribe after a tragic event. One of your goals is to collect butterflies that are hidden around the map.

These will allow you to get information about your forgotten past and stories from your tribe as you find your way back home.

Hoa will also be taught new abilities and can explore new places after every chapter. While playing the game, there are surely puzzles that you have to solve, but these are not as complex as Little Nightmares.

You will not feel frustrated when you do get stuck, as there is relaxing background music playing while you are trying to perform all tasks.

Hoa is a game that can be enjoyed with your family. In its gameplay, the worst that could happen to you is that you can get knocked back.

Apart from that, there will be no damage dealt. You can take turns playing this with your siblings or children, making sure that everyone in the family is able to appreciate this beautifully crafted game. 

Ori and the Will of the Wisps 2.5D

A sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps brings you back to the tragic fairytale world of Ori. The game is a side-scrolling adventure game in 2.5D.

While you play the game, you will meet characters that offer side quests. Once completed, you receive items or Spirit Lights as rewards.

Spirit Lights can be used to purchase goods. It serves as an in-game currency. You can also obtain Spirit Lights when you defeat enemies, when you pick up Spirit Light containers or when you complete Spirit Trials. 

A Spirit Trial is a race to see who can reach the finish line the fastest. This is a race that is played against other players online.

Your time is displayed, and when you are at the top, your name will show on the scoreboard.

Despite the game being a single-player one, it still has this feature that serves as its multiplayer aspect.  

To become better during Spirit Trials, it is best to earn Spirit Shards that can help enhance Ori’s skills. These are unlocked every time a challenge is completed. Upgrades are available and can help you get that advantage when you go against another player. 

Stray

Stray is a puzzle-platform adventure game in third-person. This game is unique since you play as a cat situated in a futuristic world overrun by robots.

Don’t worry; not all robots are harmful. Most of them actually help you find your way and guide you through your journey. 

While you are exploring the world, you are accompanied by B-12, who is a drone. You will have to climb and jump your way through countless obstacles, all while solving puzzles.

As you play the game, you find pieces of B-12’s memories. Its memories add up to the storyline and allow you to discover more about the world you are in. 

The puzzle-solving aspect is similar to Little Nightmares since most of the time, you are met with moving hurdles where you will have to figure out how to get past each and every one. 

There is also no spoken dialogue in the game. You are only left with the game’s elements and atmosphere, which is one of the things that makes this game a hit.

You will, at times, stop and just appreciate the beautiful world of Stray. There is no natural lighting, only neon lights, and lamps.

Limbo 

Limbo is a 2D side-scroller, puzzle-platform game. You play as a boy who is in search of his sister. The game is in black and white.

How you interpret shadows will depend on the figment of your imagination. This adds to the scare factor that the game portrays. 

As you look for your sister, you encounter monsters hiding in the shadows, lethal bear traps, and glowing words that spring over you and control your movement until they are defeated.

The puzzles in the game involve these deadly traps. Dying in the game will bring you back to the latest checkpoint, where you can restart and try to change your fate. 

Even if they are lethal, traps can also be used to your advantage. You can use these as weapons or tools to help you move forward. 

Limbo has the same eerie atmosphere and ominous mood as Little Nightmares, which is equally enjoyed by fans of both games.

However, Limbo wins in ambiguity. The question of why you are separated from your sister or why everyone else is trying to attack you is never answered. We will leave the answers up to your imagination. 

Pinstripe

Pinstripe is a side-scrolling, platform adventure game. You play as Teddy, an ex-minister who is in search of his daughter, Bo. She was kidnapped by the antagonist, Pinstripe. 

The first few parts of the game will have you experience being in the company of your daughter. This fact makes the longing greater since you feel a big void without her. 

As you look for your daughter, you will encounter puzzles that will make you feel nostalgic.

The games will remind you of the games you play as a kid, such as spot the difference. You are only equipped with a slingshot to defend yourself from the monsters you will encounter. 

Both Pinstripe and Little Nightmares have a tone that sends you into turmoil. Not to mention, their art styles and music also have similar tones. 

You’ll eventually find that there is an even greater mystery behind just saving your daughter. These will be slowly uncovered as you find clues to unravel your past. 

Darq

Darq is a psychological horror game set in a lucid dream. You find yourself stuck in the dream world, desperate to wake yourself up. 

A unique aspect of this game is that you can walk in all 4 directions since your environment can shift in an instant. You defy the laws of gravity in this game. This is sometimes part of a puzzle you have to solve. 

There will be instances where you get stuck in an area just to find out that you have to change your perspective and go in another direction. It allows your creative mind to spark and take control. 

The animation of the game is similar to Little Nightmares. Both games have depressing circumstances and murky settings.

In the game, there will be times when you will have to avoid creatures or individuals that are occupying certain rooms.

Stealth and fast hands are needed during these scenarios, just like how you got through the Janitor or the Twin Chefs as Six. Remember to be very careful, or you’ll get caught.  

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a side-scrolling adventure game in 2D that enunciates that same dark theme as Little Nightmares. You are a knight navigating his way to the fallen kingdom of Hollownest. 

The kingdom has been plagued by an infection with insects attacking you here and there. As you find your way, you have no choice but to fight the enemies you encounter on your way.

During your journey, you will be able to find Charms. These are items you equip that provide you with special skills. There are over 40 charms available throughout the game.

If you do find them, you can equip them while sitting on a Bench. Benches do not only serve the purpose of equipping charms.

These are also checkpoints and an area where you can restore your health when you get too exhausted from fighting. 

It is up to you how you want to play the game. You can focus on exploration more if you like uncovering new areas. If you enjoy fighting challenges, you can choose for the game to be centralized more in combat. 

Hollow Knight is a game that will certainly get you hooked and asking for more. You eventually uncover its story, and how you discover it will be entirely up to you.

Machinarium

Machinarium is a point-and-click adventure game in 2D. It was first released in 2009 and named runner-up for PC game of the year by Kotaku.

The game is set in a mechanical society where you play as a robot named Josef, who is looking for his girlfriend, Berta.

Berta was kidnapped by the Black Cap Brotherhoods, who are the game antagonists. They are gangsters who plan to destroy the city and take the place of the mayor. 

Machinarium will show you how machines exhibit mindless, programmed behavior. You will notice that robots stick to certain habits and will continue to do so until you interfere.

This is why the game involves a lot of puzzle solving and minigames. You will have to help various robots in town and solve problems for them. Josef is someone who displays emotion, specifically empathy. This is a trait that is non-existent in a mechanical world.

Machinarium has become a classic game that lives up to its art until this day. Nostalgia will hit you if you have played this game before as a child. Replaying it a second time will make you appreciate the game even more. 

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