Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep does its job in presenting a powerful message, one that seems all too familiar in today's world of emotional video games, yet it lacks solid gameplay and only presents brief challenges.

By XboxBetty, Posted 17 Jun 2014

Among the Sleep is a first-person horror adventure starring a two year old child and his teddy bear - his protector and guide. Successfully Kickstarted in May of 2013, Norway developer Krillbite Studio's game quickly gained the attention of adventure and horror fans alike, garnering over $200,000 in pledges.

The game kicks off with the introduction of a young protagonist, his teddy and his seemingly kind mother. After being comfortably tucked into bed, the child is frightfully awoken, crib knocked over, with his beloved bear and mother nowhere to be found. With a dazed and half asleep toddler, players are unaware of the circumstances leading up to this occurrence, unraveling the game's much deeper message only through further completion of the title.

Among the Sleep, Review, Screenshot, PC, Krillbite Studio

And so, after finding his teddy, a young child begins a frightening adventure to find his mother, exploring a dark world, solving puzzles and exposing the truth one memory at a time. The eerie, frightening atmosphere that all horror titles deserve is immediately prevalent in the game, with dim surroundings, blurred visuals and hair-raising sound effects. From the creak of a door to a mysterious, ghostly humming, Among the Sleep is not an adventure for the soft-hearted.

This dark, nightmarish world is visually stunning, with splashes of gold, blues and brightly lit areas highlighting pertinent paths and objectives. It's one of those games that players need to take a moment to appreciate, soaking up the ambiance and stopping to smell the roses. With each successive chapter of the story, another depressingly beautiful scene will appear, just begging for a screenshot.

Among the Sleep, Review, Screenshot, PC, Krillbite StudioAmong the Sleep, Review, Screenshot, PC, Krillbite Studio

However spine-tingling Among the Sleep may be to some, the strong willed will make their way through the title without even blinking. Those who've been waist deep in horror games before may laugh at the idea of Krillbite's game being called such, as more experienced players quickly learn that not a whole lot can harm the young child and not much will make them jump from the studios' attempt at a scare.

Among the Sleep offers the option for players to peek around corners, to see what's expected before it's thrown upon them, however, these controls are not necessary and more of a hindrance than a service. Diving in and facing this child's fears head on is much more rewarding than slowly creeping around waiting for a scare that players may or may not happen upon.

Among the Sleep, Review, Screenshot, PC, Krillbite Studio

Among the Sleep's controls are simple enough; so simple in fact that their ease often becomes a burden. Clicking and interacting with items is as it sounds, however, many objects are a pain to handle as players must be precise, clicking exactly on one specific area of the item. Moreover, climbing up, say a dresser, can be just as tedious, and there are moments throughout the game when teddy becomes an obstruction, blocking players movements so far as to negate further play, requiring players to load from their last save point.

We all know how annoying it can be to have a companion follow a game's main character around. Luckily enough, in Among the Sleep teddy only trails the toddler briefly. This is where the mentioned issues pertaining to movement occur, so it's a sigh of relief when we learn that teddy can be picked up, carried by the child and used in a more helpful manner.

Instead of using the typical flashlight seen in many horror games, to light the way in Among the Sleep the teddy bear is used as a source for light. When the toddler becomes afraid, or players need light to navigate, he simply squeezes the bear and with its squeak, dark becomes light. This is an amusing feature, only when using it players are only allowed to walk slowly, making progression a bit slower to the point that it's almost better to take the darker road.

Among the Sleep, Review, Screenshot, PC, Krillbite Studio

A quick journey, around three to four hours, Among the Sleep does its job in presenting a powerful message, one that seems all too familiar in today's world of emotional video games, one that many of us may have experienced firsthand. However strong this life lesson is, Among the Sleep lacks solid gameplay and only presents brief challenges, quickly solved with a bit of logic and thought.

Among the Sleep is now available for PC, Mac and Linux, and Krillbite Studio recently announced that the title would release for the PlayStation 4, utilizing the optional Project Morpheus, on an unspecified date. 

Megan Bethke (@XboxBetty), NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Krillbite Studio
Developer(s): Krillbite Studio
Genres: Survival Horror
Themes: First-Person
Release Date: 2014-06-16

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