Among the Sleep by Krillbite Studios is a crowd-funded horror game with a twist, as the entire game takes place through the eyes of a two year old child.
The game starts out as a happy place where you get taught the mechanics and also are introduced to your companion in the story, a talking teddy bear. After falling asleep however, you soon wake up to find that your mother is gone, and is up to you and teddy to find her.
You soon find yourself in weirdly fantastical environments, where you have to search for memories of your mother in order to obtain the objects in each of them, in the hope that this brings you back to your mommy. The environments are really well designed, as they can be perceived as the child’s view of some real life situations, or metaphors for what is happening in the child’s life.
The mechanics are quite clunky to deal with, and often have you trying to do something two or three times before it actually works. The baby can walk and crawl on all fours (which is faster than walking), and can climb up objects to get to his goals, and these mechanics are pretty much the only mechanics you have to deal with at heart.
One mechanic I really enjoyed was the teddy itself, as you can hug him tightly to produce a light around you, so you can see in some of the darker situations. This is almost a metaphor for how children run into a fantasy world when dealing with tough situations, and how things like teddy bears can help them cope with what is happening around them, and is a subtle yet brilliant addition to the game.
The game itself is more of a puzzle game than a horror game, as a lot of the horror comes from the atmospheric music and environments that the game puts you in, more than the monster itself that patrols around the levels. Every time you see the monster, your screen distorts in an effect similar to that of the Slenderman game, and is almost a horror game cliché now, which is a bit disappointing and after the first scare, not really that frightening.
Among the Sleep is only about two hours long from start to finish, so can be easily accomplished in one sitting if you don’t have much time. Personally, although some might say that it was way too short of a game, I think it does its job while without overstepping itself, as some horror games have the tendency to go on way after the “horror” aspect is gone and turns into a chore.
The best part of the game by far is the story line. Told through the eyes of an infant, it gives you a completely unique perspective, as you soon appreciate that even things like door handles are obstacles for young children, and Krillbite Studios has grasped the concept of “seeing through a child’s eye” to a tee.
There are hints throughout the game as to what the story is actually about, skittered across the environments through pictures (obviously drawn by the child), paintings on the wall, and the final confrontation towards the end of the game.
Even though I had guessed the ending, it still came as quite a shock, and was an incredibly poignant way to bring across a much darker message then I could have ever suspected.
The resolution of the storyline never comes to an actual close either, as it is left fairly open ended, so what happens to our protagonist is left up to the imagination of people that have played the game.
Among the Sleep is an incredibly atmospheric horror game, and although is not actually that scary, is carried by its story told through the eyes of a two year old child. If you are into horror games, this is definitely a must have to your terrifying collection.