After almost a year aboard the Maw the stories of both Six and the Runaway Kid have finally come to a conclusion with the final Secrets of the Maw DLC, The Residence.
With the last two DLC drops The Depths and The Hideaway expanding on the world we explored as Six, The Residence closes a phenomenal gaming experience with a bang. Awakening in the Lady’s private residence what seems like moments after The Hideaway ended, the Runaway kid is confronted with a Resident Evil-esque mansion filled with secret passages, trick rooms and ingenious puzzles intended to keep prying eyes away. Bathed in eerie shadows, the Lady’s library comes complete with tumbling piles of books, towering marble statues and shattered mirrors. Strangely, the residence seems far too decayed to be lived in by the elusive and glamourous Lady of the ship.
Intricate background details hold the key to unlocking the ingenious puzzles in the Lady’s Residence. Disfigured portraits litter the walls creating a tense atmosphere but deeper observation of them reveals the path to the next room. This is one of the most effective moments of the Residence DLC, solutions to complicated puzzles lie just out of view, nestled in the background waiting to be uncovered. There are also clues imprinted in the walls of the Maw itself to aid the boy on his journey to freedom. Scuffs on the floor hint at where to head next whilst adding hesitation as you explore the Lady’s personal quarters. There’s also a heavy sense of anticipation as you move through The Residence as so far the only danger in this chapter comes from mechanical traps and falling from heights. However, from what we know of Little Nightmares so far it’s clear that we won’t get out of the Maw without some kind of fight.
As expected enemies lurk down here, demonic shadow children that stalk you in the darkness. With no weapons at his disposal the Runaway Kid is forced to use his flashlight to burn these phantoms to dust. Compared to the blind janitor, the lumbering chefs and the slimey black worms these ghastly children are the most haunting of all the foes on the Maw. Unseen in the shadows they squeal and giggle, the sudden appearance of fellow children suddenly frightening and unwelcoming rather than comforting. Although these illusions are not that hard to defeat they appear in swarms and, if the Runaway Kid is cornered by two or more of them, his chances of survival are slim.
As well as the scenery being horrifically memorising the lullaby of the Maw is eerily beautiful. The Lady’s presence commands a sinister track, one which mirrors the chilling moments of her final encounter with Six in her Quarters. Although the musical score is subtle and quiet for most of the chapter it lifts in tempo and urgency when facing off against the demonic children or the Lady herself as the game draws to a close.
Finally the Runaway Kid comes face to face with the Lady. The outcome isn’t pleasant but Little Nightmares succeeds here in tying together the main game, the three DLC’s and, as promised, revealing the Secrets of the Maw. Even more impressively, the carefully crafted final twist is jaw-droppingly good. It caught me completely off guard and perfectly concluded the franchise whilst upholding the dark and twisted nature the game has exuded since its release almost a year ago. The Residence really is a fantastic DLC.