This game was reviewed using a review copy of the game.
Among the Sleep is an interesting title in a genre that is known more for its gore infested cutscenes and horrific gameplay, but even though this particular title has neither it still holds up well as a first-person horror adventure game. As the game starts you find yourself playing a two year old boy on his birthday, his mother is making a delicious cake and as he’s about to chow down as a visitor knocks at the door. Shouting can be heard from the hallway and the screen becomes blurry and filled with static, but as peace returns and his mother comes back into the kitchen everything returns to normal. She comes back with a gift and you’re soon left to wander around your room in search of your new friend that has managed to break free.
Say hello to Mr. Teddy, your sidekick in the upcoming adventure. You’re placed into bed and are sung to sleep with a rather eerie lullaby. In the middle of the night you’re awoken by strange noises and shadows, only to find that Mr. Teddy has been taken by some mysterious force and your mother is nowhere to be seen, it’s here that the real horror adventure begins.
As a two year old you are limited in what you can do with the environment around you, in fact, I sometimes felt a sense of helplessness as I travelled around knowing I could only do so much. Reaching doors are a problem and requires you to drag boxes or other smaller items so you can climb on top and use the handles and you somtimes need to use your initiative and open drawers and use them as ledges to traverse across gaps and solve basic puzzles. The young boy sounds, walks, crawls and acts like a two year old would, complete with sound effects. Walking is rather slow and rocking to and forth like a penguin can become a drag when you wish to get somewhere in a hurry, running is also an option but run for too long and you’ll fall into the crawl position, the crawl position being the best way to travel around each environment. It has never been so entertaining to be a child once more.
The only let down is the voice acting, it’s rather poor considering this title’s quality. Whenever the mother speaks it feels like the voice actor is reading from a script rather than talking to a child, I would have liked to have been immersed into the world a little more.
Each environment has been cleverly created and depicts what the world must look like such a young child. A washing machine becomes a scary monster, coats on coat stands become eerie looking creatures and other everyday objects look strange to say the least. The developers have done a good job with depicting both real and imaginary worlds, they’ve also done an amazing job with the teddy that travels around with you, making him come to life as you would expect any child’s favourite toy to. From the creepy swamp worlds to the everyday living room, visually this game looks great despite some small texture problems and objects dropping through floors and sliding through walls or other objects.
The teddy as mentioned above acts as a guide as you travel, giving you small hints and generally trying to make you feel at ease. He is attached to your back, looking over your shoulder at all times. Giving him a hug will emit a huge bright light from his body, helping you search through dark nooks and cranny’s.
You and your teddy aren’t the only beings on your adventure. Out to find you are strange looking creatures with long arms, tree-like features and large feet. In parts of the game they will be roaming around looking for you, catch a glimpse and the screen will start to shake violently and a static film will appear. Moving out of sight or turning away and hiding will keep you out of harms way, but not knowing when these beasts will show up highlights how cautious you have to be, especially as a child. Later in the game a strange coated figure can be seen following you, what its intensions are you can only find out by playing.
You don’t really know what these creatures are until later in the game, though you do understand from early on that they should be approached or lingered around.