Little Nightmares - Secrets Of The Maw PC Review

A great final chapter saves Secrets Of The Maw from its uninspired start.

By Woozie, Posted 02 Mar 2018

With the recent launch of The Residence, its third episode, Little Nightmares’ Secrets Of The Maw expansion is now complete. The Runaway Kid’s adventure didn’t benefit a great deal from its episodes being spread over many months, especially given their relatively short length. With all three available, I chose to return to the Maw, to see how The Runaway Kid’s escape attempt held up when played without months-long breaks in between.

Little Nightmares - Secrets Of The Maw, PC, Review, Screenshot

The Depths isn’t the strongest start for the expansion. While The Granny is introduced in a manner that establishes her as a palpable danger, the brevity of the DLC means the time spent attempting to escape her will be very short. The Granny is spotted only briefly, outside of the trail she leaves in the water as she draws close to any movement in her liquid domain. This makes her quite terrifying, for the small amount of time spent in her (unwanted) company. Furthermore, the floating objects that make her lose track of where the Kid is, represent only temporary havens, as she’ll be quick to bash them, in hopes of getting him to fall into the water. These encounters happen in between regular platforming sequences that shouldn’t be new to people who’ve played the main story. While the area’s decrepitude might be justified, given how you’re in the Maw’s depths, the episode jumps too much on that particular ship and forgets to do anything interesting visually. Dingy rooms do tend to create a suffocating atmosphere, but in The Depths, they’re just monotonous after the opening minutes. The episode feels rather uninspired, taking players through the same motions as the base game, just minus the excitement and most of the unease. I’ve reviewed The Hideaway separately back when it launched. Its focus on the Nomes is an interesting addition, but the episode still feels a bit weak, as, again, it fails to use its environment properly. The return of the Janitor makes for a few moments when The Runaway Kid needs to get uncomfortably close to him, but, again that’s also nothing new.

The Residence is where Secrets of the Maw is at its strongest. A more puzzle-heavy chapter than its predecessors, it brings The Runaway Kid closer to the main game’s antagonist. The Lady is one of the Maw’s most memorable figures and this episode explores her a bit more. Environmental elements, as well as her behavior hint at a certain obsession with beauty, which contrasts the deformity of previously encountered denizens. The third episode handles its environments much better than the previous two. The Residence manages to unsettle, using light, darkness, large statues, and an overall obsession with image and beauty to make the Lady a present threat even when she’s not there. It’s also a chapter that reveals interesting details about some of The Maw’s inhabitants, even linking back to the Hideaway. A new enemy type is also introduced in the form of mask-wearing shadow children that can be fought off by using the lantern’s light. They spawn in the shadows, menacingly making their way towards the protagonist who needs to point his flashlight towards them, which is a bit fiddly using the keyboard, in order to weaken and eventually destroy them. This does not completely stop them in their tracks, as they’ll attempt to skirt around the light’s edge and back into darkness again. Letting them get too close means instant death. That being said, the episode’s length, which is about as long as its predecessors, makes it so that there are only a couple of encounters with them, but overall it’s a much more compelling experience.

Little Nightmares - Secrets Of The Maw, PC, Review, Screenshot

Were it not for The Residence, the expansion would be rather tough to recommend. The first two episodes have a few good moments, but ultimately fail to tap into what made the base game great. The Residence, on the other hand, manages to do so, while maintaining an unsettling atmosphere, introducing a new enemy type and further expanding The Maw’s lore. It’s a brief affair, and Secrets Of The Maw doesn’t soar as highly as Six’s story, but thanks largely to its last chapter, it does manage to leave its mark on the game’s world, perhaps in a manner that’s enough to warrant experiencing it.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Developer(s): Tarsier Studios
Genres: Adventure, Platformer
Themes: Horror
Release Date: 2018-02-23 (last episode)

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