Among The Sleep – Reviewed
By Marcus Estrada
Among the Sleep by Krillbite Studio gained a lot of attention during its Kickstarter campaign. Not only was it a horror game but it seemed to create something entirely unique in the saturated genre. In their game, players take on the role of a two year old. Playing as a toddler intrigued backers into funding the project and even going a bit beyond the asking price. Now that Among the Sleep is finally out we can view terror from another perspective.
The day starts out normal for our unnamed child. They are sitting in a high chair while their mother bakes a birthday cake. After that sugar-fueled excitement, mother puts you to rest with her soothing song. After such a friendly introduction things quickly go downhill. You wake up in the middle of the night to see the brown bear you received for your birthday being pulled out of the room by an invisible force. Then, your crib is unceremoniously tipped over, allowing you to escape it in the dead of night.
Yes, things definitely take a turn for the creepy rather fast. Once in game, players find themselves with an interesting set of circumstances to deal with. As a toddler, you’re too short to open doors. Instead, your stubby little hands must hope to push and pull climbable objects to reach doorknobs. They can also switch between crawling and standing state at will, although crawling is much faster. If something scary happens, you can simply crawl under the bed or into a kitchen cabinet because you’re small enough to do so.
Playing Among the Sleep is a very unique experience thanks to your baby-ized perspective, but also due to creative visuals. A darkened home is easily scary, but some of the imaginative landscapes you’ll run across are even scarier. Levels often feel like they’ve come straight out of a dream – or nightmare. And when things simply become too terrifying, you can hug your precious teddy bear tight. This illuminates the surroundings and also calms the child down.
For all its’ inherent creep factor, there are some design choices which do not work entirely in the game’s favor. This is mostly due to a host of very simplistic and similar puzzles. Each level typically has you collecting a certain amount of objects, placing them in one specific spot, and then proceeding forward. Usually there’s not much more to it and the platforming proves no challenge either. A low difficulty does help allow many gamers to play but it’s a shame there couldn’t be more creative (yet still simple) goals.
Scares are very effective but beware that they sometimes do utilize the “boo” factor. A sudden shock tends to produce a reaction in all players, so do your best not to scream! Most of the time, though, you’re stalked by who knows what, and that makes you dread every location. There’s no negative to losing though as you just start up again at the last checkpoint.
What surprised me the most was the storyline that finally reveals its intentions by the end. I had my suspicions, but found them confirmed only much later. By that point it was still shocking to see how Among the Sleep handled itself. It did so well, and many players will probably feel strongly about the ending. It takes most players an hour or two to beat the game and once it’s over there’s not too much reason to play through again.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/marcus.jpg” ]Marcus is a fellow with a love for video games, horror, and Japanese food. When he’s not writing about games for a multitude of sites, he’s usually still playing one. One day when he became fed up with the way sites would ignore niche titles he decided to start his own site by the name of Pixel Pacas. Writing about video games is something he hopes to continue doing for many years to come. Some of Marcus’s favorite games include Silent Hill 2, Killer7, and The Sims. [/author]