Here’s the thing I love most about Tarsier Studio’s Little Nightmares franchise: it does not tell you the whole story. I know, it may sound strange if you’ve never played or watched gameplay footages but let me explain. They tell the story without using any dialogue, but the world around you tells you to take in bits and pieces of it in order to come up with your own answers. They don’t even tell you how the world of Little Nightmares work, you must then allow yourself to take in what is handed to you.
Both games even begin with our protagonist waking up from an ominous dream. The game never tells you how they got there, and who they are, they just set you strapped in for the ride and you have to be as observant as you can to know what to do next. The game taps in on your instincts, and allows you to explore and wonder what lies ahead.
Let me try my best to explain to you both stories before I go on with my theory here, and let me also give you a heads up that I am not a professional at this—I just love and enjoy the game so much, and if you’ve seen me on my Youtube Channel or my Instagram, I love nerding out about these things. I do however recommend you try the game out yourself first before proceeding. Huge spoilers ahead!
THE STORY OF LITTLE NIGHTMARES I
With the first game, we are set in the Maw, a vessel in the middle of the ocean that doubles as a somewhat restaurant where The Lady resides and watches over her grotesque visitors who consumes all the food she has set up in front of them. Without going too much into detail, this game’s protagonist, Six, wakes up at the bottom of the vessel and must escape.
Throughout the game, Six experiences hunger which plays as an important role in the story as she must scavenge for food. Starting out with a piece of bread, a sausage, a rat, and then in a horrible scene, she consumes one of the gnomes that tried to aid her. In the end, she confronts The Lady and consumes her as well; she then is revealed to have powers. As she escapes the Maw, she walks through a room filled with the visitors trying to devour her, but in an instant she is able to kill them with her new abilities.
This is where the first game ends. I’ll be excluding the DLCs that further explains the fate of the gnomes, maybe I’ll explore on that some more in another post. But for now, this is what you need to know about the first game.
We don’t really know who the Lady is, we don’t really get an explanation on how these events turn out and where these visitors come from. But what we do know, is that their world exists in such a way where over indulgence and mindless consumerism takes place.
THE STORY OF LITTLE NIGHTMARES II
Now let’s talk about the second game. Our protagonist here, is Mono. It is important to know that in this game, the player can collect hats; he starts off with his paper bag hat, but the other things he ends up wearing in exchange for it does cover up a lot of his face.
He wakes in the middle of the woods next to a television set, and from there, the game begins. The environment suggests that there is a hunter somewhere as it is filled with traps and decaying animals (or humans) everywhere. Mono avoids all this and finds himself in the house where the hunter resides. He follows the sound of a music box up the stairs of this home, and finds himself in a room where a little girl is held captive. He offers to help this little girl but she runs away. Later, she does meet the little girl again and ultimately she decides that in order to escape, they must work together.
A side commentary on this game (I’ll write more about these when I actually make a review video about the gameplay) is that I love that it gives you the option to hold hands with this little girl. It adds a bit more emotional attachment to them.
In numerous instances, the little girl will be of great help. Especially with huge gaps in their way, she will extend her hand and catch you as you make your jump.
After escaping the hunter and killing him with a shotgun, they find a door and uses it as a flotation device through some foggy waters. At the very end of their quiet journey, they reach The Pale city. Observing this city, it looks abandoned; seemingly something happened that caused people to disappear— but this place isn’t totally empty.
The first terrifying inhabitant the two will encounter would be The Teacher, next it will be The Doctor. I won’t go over them here, but I might discuss them further in the future because Tarsier Studios did a fantastic job in making these two foes creepy as possible. But it is important to know, that in these sections, we lose the little girl from time to time and we, the player, will save her. It is also something I commend about this game as you tend to miss and really worry for her as the game makes sure that we are aware that she is useful in our journey.
It is later revealed in the rainy alleys of the Pale City that this girl is Six, the protagonist from the first Little Nightmares. The game reveals this as Mono becomes concern that Six is unprotected by the rain, he spots a yellow raincoat, and she wears this for the rest of the game.
Throughout their journey in the city, they encounter Viewers, who mindlessly watch a static signal on the television. Mono is able to turn these signals off, but in return as he does, he gets visions of himself running through a claustrophobic inducing hallway with the Eye carved in the door at the very end (the eye is a repeating symbol throughout the game, even on the first one)—another mystery presented to the player.
Towards the end, Six is captured by The Thin man, a suit wearing man that emerges from the TV. Mono learns that he can teleport through one television set to another and uses this to progress through several apartments of the city.
Mono is later on chased by the thin man and ends up in the middle of a rainy street. Here he decides to remove his paper bag from his head, and faces the enemy face to face. Using his acquired ability, he pushes The Thin man with away from him, The Thin man does the same but is ultimately overpowered by Mono. Mono then teleports towards the radio tower that transmits the signal.
Upon entering the tower, he learns that each door is a teleport. He finds his way up the tower and discovers Six as an enormous monster protecting a music box. The player must destroy the music box to free Six. Once the player does, Six returns to her normal self, and there they must run from the Eye, a fleshy blob consuming the entire room bit by bit and destroying the tower completely.
THE ENDING (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD)
And this is where the game throws us to a twist.
As the two run away from the blog, they see their one chance of escape in a static screen at the very end of a narrow platform. Six is able to run ahead before the platform breaks, leaving Mono behind. Reminiscent of the several instances where Mono leaps a huge gap and is caught by Six, Mono jumps and barely makes it to the ledge. As Six pulls Mono up, she looks at him carefully. Without warning, Six drops Mono, and escapes through the screen by herself.
Mono wakes up surrounded by the blob, and finds a chair in the middle of it all. There he sits and waits. The player is then shown that Mono grows up simply sitting there, and is then revealed to have grown into the Thin Man himself. The game pans out to this reveal by showing he is in a room, enclosed by the same door with The Eye that Mono dreams about.
POST CREDIT SCENE
In a post credit scene, we return to find Six. She is teleported in an unknown location and is faced with a static/glitch version of herself. She looks at it, and the glitch looks at a poster of The Maw, it leaves without a word, but we hear something familiar. Six holds her stomach as it growls, her hunger has began.
HOW THEY ARE CONNECTED
This to me shows that Little Nightmares II is a prequel to the first game.
The post credit scenes tells us that Six will later try to enter the Maw, maybe sneak herself in in a desperate attempt to get something to eat. This theory of mine stems from her waking up next to an abandoned suitcase in the first game. But I also do wonder if she was taken there against her will.
This also explained the dark twin of Six that appears each time she eats something in the first game. In the corner of the screen as she eats, the player can see a dark shadow of Six; this to me is the glitch she faces during the post credit scene— the darkness inside of her that is brought to life by the teleporting abilities the television sets in their world introduced in the second game.
EXPLAINING THE BETRAYAL
To me, Six did not intentionally want to betray Mono. Granted Six has shown some signs of being unconcerned or undisturbed by murder through out the game (an example of this is when they defeated The Doctor by burning him alive, she sits next to it and warms her hands to the fire), I don’t think she is evil—maybe not yet.
The moment Six catches Mono is where this betrayal needs a bit of explaining. My theory is that as she pulls him up, she sees his face clearly for the first time. Note that Mono has worn hats throughout the game that hides his face, and now that Six sees it clearly, she must have recognized that his features resembles the Thin Man’s. So she drops him, that unfortunately is the very reason why Mono then grows up to be the Thin Man, desiring to capture Six in an act of revenge.
THE THEORY OF SIX AND MONO’S FATES
With this in mind, we are introduced to the possibility of time-loops in the world of Little Nightmares. This then brings me to another theory about Six. What if Six, is the Lady in the first game? They have similar powers as well like how Mono and The Thin Man does. What if Six, consumed by the power she acquires in the end of the first game becomes the Lady herself seeking revenge by capturing children and taking hostage of the Maw’s guests as I would assume they are the richer inhabitant of the Pale city.
This also brings me to conclude that maybe Mono is the unnamed tall man hung and shown at the very first room of the first game. The man is shown to be suspended, and right below him is a stool similar to the one Mono sits on as he ages in the second game.
Maybe, Mono is able to capture Six and takes her to the Maw, but later regrets this decision and decides to hang himself there. Six then tries to escape The Maw and defeats her the Lady, and therefor consumes the Lady’s power and becomes the Lady herself. This makes the gameplay mechanic of using a mirror to defeat the Lady in the final stage of the game have more sense.
Just like Mono facing himself in the confrontation in the rainy streets, Six literally lets the Lady face herself with this mirror. Which also explains all the broken mirrors found in the Maw, she simply refuses to face what she has become.
This is the theory I came up with as I tried piecing together the story Tarsier Studio has laid out in front of us. I think it’s a fantastic game, and I do adore how it tells so much by giving us so little. It is on of those games that will make you remember significant and frightening moments, and also make you think even long after you have played the game. The studio really knows how to make you want to know more, they have done this so well in the first game and provided us with a collection of DLCs to explain a few things for us, but we ended up with more questions than answers as well.
This then gives me hope that Little Nightmares II will also have DLCs, maybe explaining a few more mysteries surrounding the Pale City, or maybe we will return as Six finding her way to the Maw while being chased after Mono as the Thin Man.
All in all, I encourage you to play this game. Let me know what you think of my theory! If you enjoyed your time here, please do consider sharing this article to anyone who may be interested or shares the same thoughts as I do—I would love to talk about this some more given the opportunity.
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Until next time, Pirates!
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