Remember when you were a child, waking from sleep late at night to strange noises, being haunted by shadows and shapes and the only thing that could calm your fear was your parents? Enter the world of Among the Sleep. It emerged into our facebook news feeds and emails as a Kickstarter campaign to build one hell of an interesting take on your normal horror based game. The game’s development team Krillbite Studio managed to raise a whopping USD 248,358 from an amazing 8,110 backers pledging their hard-earned money to see this project come to life. Sadly there are a lot of backers who felt cheated because of the promise of Virtual Reality support being removed.
Among the Sleep features you, playing as a terrified 2-year-old toddler, exploring the house and things become heart-poundingly scary as you attempt to find your beloved mother with the help of your teddy bear, who loves hugs! The game-play is amazingly lifelike and while you are only 2 years old you can both crawl and attempt to walk while cutely falling over your tiny feet. The controls are both pleasant and simple and this makes for a great experience while you are soaking in the surrounds. As you can probably understand there isn’t really much dialogue, however, what little you will find is quite clear and perfectly suited to the characters.
Sadly, there is little to no choice in your path through the game, but this can be mostly overlooked while you try to work your head around the brain-tingling puzzles that await you throughout the game. The flow of the game is phenomenal and it really gives you a little extra kick for the spooky, creepy and damn right dark ambience the game presents.
Graphically the game is stunning, it really drives home those memories of early childhood with the surrounding toys and furniture. Once you mix that with the spooky memories of a house at night, the whole scene really jumps to life with its dark eerie tones and dazzling interior design. You’ll find some small cutscenes which really set a good point to experiencing some back story and seeing the fear of a child evolve as his mother leaves the room.
The real question is, does it fit into the horror genre that Krillbite Studio was so eagerly aiming for? Most definitely, it screams indie horror, but it also seems to punch through to its own special kind of horror. The fact that you see through the eyes of a toddler in Among the Sleep really limited the amount of gore that could be shown, however, it still managed to effectively present a true cerebral horror game, a true psychological adventure.
Among the Sleep has really excelled in creating something special, something unfamiliar and something that is terrifying in all the right places. With amazing visuals and special effects it really hits home. However, you’ll be left with an overwhelming need for more exploration, more foes, and more teddies! While this is a good thing for any sequel sales, it doesn’t help you justify a second or third playthrough. Hopefully, there is either some Downloadable Content (DLC) in the works from Krillbite Studio to beef up the game, or perhaps, to possibly give you a choice in how you get to checkpoints. But all in all, for a low budget indie game it does very well, however, it does feel like it’s more suited to a console layout with some surround sound and a huge TV.
Among the Sleep was eagerly awaited and is now a giant in the indie horror lineup for most any platform. So the question stands, should you, the gamer, buy this game? YES, it’s absolutely something that will slot happily into any gamer’s arsenal. It’s totally worth the minimal price for such a high-quality game with such fluent, spine-tingling game-play. While they could change a few things in patches or add some DLC, the game does its intended job quite well as it stands. So sit down, dim the lights, turn up the volume and prepare yourself not to sleep for a while.
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