Sleepwalking and Dreamscapes: 6 Games Like Back to Bed
By Marcus Estrada
Back to Bed by Bedtime Digital Games is quite the unique puzzle game. Playing as an odd human-faced dog named Subob, your goal is to guide a sleepwalker named Bob through surreal landscapes. Those who guide Bob safely through all the stages (nightmare mode and all!) might find themselves looking for more like this. But are there any other games that have you keeping sleepwalkers safe? What about games that take place purely in dreamscapes? Surprisingly, there’s not a huge amount available! I’m here to guide you to a handful of other titles that may help scratch the Back to Bed itch in their own special ways.
Did you miss out on LucasArts releasing Lucidity in 2009? Don’t worry, both Windows and Xbox 360 owners seemed to completely skip over the game. Lucidity stars a young girl named Sofi as she travels through her dreams and nightmares after the loss of her Nana. As with Back to Bed, you don’t get to control her directly (although she doesn’t appear to be sleepwalking). Instead, your goal is to guide her safely along through the dream stages to an exit. The implementation of this is a bit odd, though.
In order to help her along the player is given one of five objects that serve as guides. The game attempts to randomize these to increase replayability, but it would be much easier to simply access whatever items you want whenever. Then there is the odd placement for objects that sometimes leads to misplacing things. Still, the visuals perfectly accent the “feel” of dreaming with stress weighing heavily on your mind.
In many ways, Sleepwalker seems similar to Back to Bed. The game stars a duo named Lee and Ralph. Lee is a young boy who sleepwalks out of his room one night. Pet dog Ralph follows after and does its best to keep Lee safe from the many dangers that await. This 2D puzzle platformer tasks the dog with keeping Lee safe from cars, attempting to walk across gaps, getting sprayed by water, and many other obstacles.
Interestingly, if you can collect all the goodies on a stage, a video plays out afterward showcasing what Ralph imagines. Despite its very selfless nature, the canine dreams up all sorts of situations where Lee is abruptly woken up. Unfortunately, Sleepwalker was available on Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and DOS-based computers in 1993.
In 2012, 11 bit studios had made its debut with critically-acclaimed Anomaly: Warzone Earth. One of their next games was none other than Sleepwalker’s Journey – quite a departure from a war game! Sleepwalker’s Journey places you in the pajamas of a sleepwalking character named Moonboy. He must collect as many stars and moons as possible while navigating a gorgeous 2D landscape.
Players do not control Moonboy directly. Instead, they manipulate the environment by shifting walkways up, down, left, right and various other manipulations. As such, the game was definitely made for touchscreen devices. Even so, you can still download a copy on PC if you’ve lacking in Android or iOS devices. Although it begins very simply, the mechanics quickly ramp up making Sleepwalker’s Journey a tough puzzler.
If you know what to do, you can beat 1988’s Weird Dreams in under twenty minutes. However, most people who’ve ever encountered the game find its dream logic seriously obtuse. Of course, this makes sense because players are in a dream! The game stars a man in black and white checkered pajamas as he explores the vast dreamscapes of his own creation. Odd visuals are aplenty, as well as nightmarish monsters.
Played as a typical point and click adventure, you’ve got to survive your own dreams by craftily solving puzzles. Some examples of weird puzzles include luring a bee with giant gobs of cotton candy, carefully avoiding being eaten by a soccer ball, and smacking a giant brain in the desert with a trout. Just try your best to not die in the dream as each failure has a creepy animation!
There’s a smattering of releases that might be of interest! Unfortunately, it seems that the biggest explorations of dreams and sleepwalking within games were years ago. Thankfully I’ve got two final suggestions for players who need more after playing Back to Bed. These final suggestions have little to do outright with the themes of the game, but offer very close similarities in other ways.
If you loved Back to Bed thanks primarily to its artistry then The Bridge should definitely be on your radar. This is another puzzle game that takes visual cues from M.C. Escher. However, where Back to Bed never really plays heavily with weird, twisty perspectives, The Bridge dives in head first. Players must rotate heavily Escher-inspired stages in order to guide a character through to an exit. This game also includes a harder puzzle mode after completing it once. You can nab The Bridge on PC or Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Marketplace.
In RUSH, your goal is immediately similar to Back to Bed’s. Players must get automatically-moving objects to their goal. However, objects are keen on moving in just one direction. Once they hit a wall, they will turn 90 degrees clockwise and move that way. This is an incredibly similar gameplay concept! RUSH moves beyond this basic mechanic and includes many other features to spice up puzzles such as conveyor belts and many objects on screen at once. The title is available on PC and via Wii under the name Rubik’s Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH.
Well, there you have it! This is by no means an exhaustive list of games similar in theme, gameplay, or visual aesthetic to Back to Bed – but it should serve as a good starting point. Have you discovered any other similar titles that other fans need to know about? Feel free to name drop other neat titles in the comments!
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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]