14 Best Indie Games Like Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares debuted in 2017, and the sequel debuted in 2021 as a prequel story. According to the publisher, Bandai Namco, the prequel was the end of the story. 

These games offer a short but memorable experience. Can you continue it on other titles from a gameplay perspective? Selecting games like Little Nightmares or Little Nightmares II means understanding what the saga offers:

  • A 2D story-driven cinematic horror game with a dark theme and an ominous atmosphere. 
  • Limited gameplay revolving around puzzles, interactivity, and simple platforming.
  • A hyper-surreal and hand-drawn art style that goes alongside an eerie soundtrack. 
  • Mostly helpless protagonists that rely on hiding and items to survive. 

Games Like Little Nightmare

Outer Wilds

outer wilds
  • Developer: Mobius Digital
  • Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
  • Release Date:  May 2019
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Outer Wilds (not Outer Worlds) is nothing like Little Nightmares, yet is the unique indie story-driven experience you may be looking for. It won the Best Game Award at the 2020’s BAFTA awards. There’s a lot of critical and fan praise behind the entry.

The setting is a free-roam mystery without quests, map markers, or clues. You have to stop an endless time loop that resets an entire solar system every day. To complete the quest, you must venture into the world to slowly uncover what happens until you find the solution.

So, this is a massive open-world puzzle-adventure-platformer game. You play as an Outer Wilds Ventures recruit. This is a space program searching for answers in the solar system. Freely exploring the setting reveals many secrets, environmental hazards, natural catastrophes, and paths to reach a solution. 

Undertale

undertale
  • Developer:  Toby Fox
  • Publisher:  Toby Fox
  • Release Date:  September 2015
  • Platform: Windows, macOS X, Linux, PS4, PSVita, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch

Undertale is an indie title by a single person, Toby Fox. He crafted the story, characters, graphics, gameplay, and music of this cult-following experience. 

The plot follows a child who falls into the hidden underground realm where monsters live. As he searches his way back, he uncovers their heartful, charming, but gruesome story. 

On the surface, Undertale is a retro-RPG akin to Earthbound. It has two key differences, though. Combat opens up a Pokemon-like screen, but the battles occur through mini-games like bullet-hells. Then, there’s always an option to bypass combat through charm, persuasion, and others. 

LISA: The Painful

lisa the painful
  • Developer:  Dingaling Productions
  • Publisher:  Dingaling Productions
  • Release Date:  December 2014
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux

Lisa is a 2D side-scrolling retro RPG set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It follows the brutal journey of Brad Armstrong saving her daughter from warlocks. 

The story opens up a story-driven RPG with choice mechanics, permanent consequences, and several endings. The world will force players to make tough choices that affect heavy cinematic moments. Most of these moments revolve around dark and twister moral themes.

Lastly, you can recruit over 30 party members across the world’s camps and towns. Then, you tweak your party to explore the world and fight enemies. However, your party members may die and suffer under your command.

It Takes Two

it takes two
  • Developer: Hazelight Studios
  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Release Date: March 2021
  • Platform: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, Windows

It Takes Two is another stellar indie story-driven and cinematic game. Also, like Little Nightmares 2, it follows two small protagonists traveling in an overwhelming world, full of puzzles and dangers. Most of all, it uses all of its quirks and elements to tell a compelling story.

However, the story is whimsical and full of hope. You play as Cody or May (online or offline co-op only), a couple on the verge of divorce. A mysterious spell turned them into dolls, and they must find their way back to their bodies.

The setting delivers nine linear chapters with a blend of puzzle and platforming. Characters also learn abilities they can use for travel and combat, and challenges are varied to keep the game dynamic.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach
  • Developer:  Steel Wool Studios
  • Publisher:  Scott Cawthon
  • Release Date:   December 2021
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, PS5 

Five Nights at Freddy’s is a series of family-friendly interactive horror. We choose the latest entry in the series because you can play either game without knowing the story.

You play as Gregory, a boy trapped in an overnight pizza place (Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex). As in previous games in the entry, the place is full of hostile animatronic hosts. The player must find a way to survive by using security systems, items, witts, and hiding spots. 

It’s a first-person survival horror about adapting, hiding, escaping, and surviving. It also features light puzzles, a hint of humor, and a lighter tone for younger gamers. 

Bendy and the Ink Machine

Bendy And The Ink Machine
  • Developer:  Kindly Beast (Joey Drew Studios Inc.)
  • Publisher: Kindly Beast (Joey Drew Studios Inc.)
  • Release Date:  February 2017
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One 

Bendy and the Ink Machine is a first-person 3D puzzle action-horror title. It’s an odd mix of animation and graphical style akin to Cuphead. However, as a 3D game, it uses cell-shaded graphics as a Borderlands game. 

You play as Henry as he revisits the abandoned workshop of an animator. There, he revisits demons from his past in a twisted and cinematic experience. In essence, you explore the world, find items you can use, solve puzzles, escape the enemies, uncover the story, and move on. 

In the cartoon world, his old drawings came to life and come to murder him. Henry has limited ways of defending himself, though. You’d have to hide, interact with items, and solve puzzles to survive and solve the mystery of the workshop. 

Bendy and the Dark Revival

bendy and the dark revival
  • Developer: Joey Drew Studios
  • Publisher: Joey Drew Studios
  • Release Date: November 2022
  • Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One 

Bendy and the Dark Revival is the sequel to the previous indie horror hit. The story happens 10 years after the original events but introduces a new character, Audrey.

Audrey is an animator. The “Ink Machine” pulls the animator into the twisted ink world, and she gains special abilities she can use to protect herself. Her goal is to put an end to the evil ink cycle.

As before, you’d play through a first-person horror adventure. The graphics, the cinematics, the music, and the gameplay are overall better, though. Notably, Audrey can use stealth, strategy, and skills for exploration, combat, hiding, and puzzle-solving.

Detention

detention games like little nightmares
  • Developer:  Red Candle Games
  • Publisher:   Red Candle Games
  • Release Date:  January 2017
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Android

Detention starts like a regular history lesson through the eyes of protagonist Wei Chung Ting. He takes a nap but wakes up in a school dyed in blood, with an ominous message on the walls. “Typhoon Warning,” says the blood-died corridor.

In the otherworld, he finds another student, Fang Ray Chin. Together, they must find a way back to the real world, but the halls are full of ghostly creatures. Playing as Wei and Ray, you must carefully plan your steps to avoid the animals. So, you hide, run, escape, and find clues to end the terror.

The creatures can hear your breathing, though. Your best hope is to see the clues to uncover what lies ahead. These characters can’t fight or protect themselves, though. It’s a 2D horror adventure about hiding and finding the way out. 

Hollow Knight

hollow knight 1
  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • Publisher:  Team Cherry
  • Release Date:  February 2017
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Hollow Knight mixes Metroidvania, 2D platforming, souls-like combat, and story-driven elements. Also, the game’s eerie setting, hyper-surreal style, and haunting soundtrack will remind you of Little Nightmares. 

You play as a bug knight traveling to Hallownest. You use an evolving set of skills to unlock areas, travel, and combat. The combat relies on your skill, but it’s the classic dodge/slash/dash you’¿d expect from the genre. 

As for the Metroidvania design, it means you can unlock previously inaccessible areas by learning new skills or finding items. That said, there’re multiple paths for each quest, as well as a huge cast of NPCs, enemies, bosses, and areas. 

Fran Bow

fran bow games like little nightmares
  • Developer: Killmonday Games
  • Publisher: Killmonday Games
  • Release Date:  August 2015
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS

Fran Brow takes players to a place of nightmares akin to Mono and Six’s world, but ten times crazier. The experience is a psychological horror puzzle adventure game with point-and-click mechanics.

You play as Fran, a girl looking for her parents. Her only friend is a black cat, Mr. Midnight, who can’t help her. She’s trapped in an asylum in the 1940s. Her destiny could be a lobotomy, a common treatment for the time.

Before that, Fran takes her chance at finding her parents to save herself and save her family. However, she must escape the asylum as reality shifts between real, not real, or both.

Inside

inside games like little nightmares
  • Developer: Playdead
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Release Date:  June 2016
  • Platform: Windows (GOG Store), mac OS (GOG Store), Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch 

Inside is a surreal horror title that takes players to an unsettling world. Just like Little Nightmares, the characters are mostly helpless, so the gameplay is about hiding, escaping, or finding items you could use as weapons.

Players control a boy trying to escape from a dangerous world. Rather than facing supernatural foes, the enemies are cruel humans. The story explores the darkest side of our nature from the perspective of an innocent boy.

All of this happens as a 2.5D puzzle platformer. Then, the setting is dark, and the color is scarce, highlighting key parts of the maps. Lastly, the game is mostly silent, although there’s the occasional musical cue, sound effects, and dogs barking. 

Limbo

limbo games like little nightmares
  • Developer: Playdead
  • Publisher: Playdead
  • Release Date:  July 2010
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PSVita, Linux, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch 

Limbo is the first game by Playdead, so it’s quite similar to both Inside and Little Nightmares. It’s a 2D horror puzzle platformer following a boy on a quest to save her sister in a sinister world. 

The game delivers a series of puzzles and scenarios. The art style is akin to silent cinematic and black/white movies, reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie. Moreover, the enemies are shadows and distorted creatures. 

As players move through the game, they’ll uncover the story through environmental storytelling, metaphors, and action. There’re no cinematic cuts in the game.

Neverending Nightmares

Neverending Nightmares
  • Developer:  Infinitap Games
  • Publisher: Infinitap Games
  • Release Date:  September 2014
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, PSVita, iOS, Android, Nintendo Switch

This is a 2D side-scroller psychological horror adventure similar to Little Nightmares 2. The game follows Thomas, a boy with night terrors who wakes up in a nightmare one day, free to act as he sees fit.

The art style is like a black & white sketchbook, and shades of color highlight gore and evil. The surreal design comes from the developer’s experience with OCD, depression, and paranoia. 

The hide & seek adventure takes players deeper down the nightmare’s rabbit hole. The goal is discovering the source of the horror, and waking up. However, there’s something in his mind that wants him dead.

Among the Sleep

among the sleep
  • Developer:  Krillbite Studio
  • Publisher: Krillbite Studio
  • Release Date:  December 2015
  • Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Among the Sleep is a dreadful game about the dangers of leaving a toddler alone. The protagonist is a two-year-old boy and his teddy bear. The mother is gone, and the baby uses his imagination to stay alive.

The experience becomes a first-person horror adventure about finding your mother. The setting is full of atmospheric horror. Anything could look alien and terrifying to a baby. 

Ultimately, the experience is simpler and shorter, but it can be scary if you’re a parent, or if you went through something similar when you were young. 

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