Today is your 2nd Birthday, you’re enjoying your favourite drink and a nice slice of cake, and before you even get to open your presents it’s clear that something’s not quite right. Darkness looms, and there’s an ominous, demon searching for you, and on top of that your mother has gone missing. All you have is your new gift, a talking Teddy bear – that is by no means creepy – to help support you through this ordeal.
It’s an initially welcoming, vibrant and simple game just to pick up and get stuck into. The game’s mechanics are basic enough, though there are some rather smart touches as well. Being a baby, much of the time you’ll be navigating your home – and your nightmares – primarily by crawling; you can stand and even sprint (waddle) for short distances before falling back down. Your best friend is a talking Teddy bear, whom if you hug, he then works as a flashlight to light up the creepy dark areas. Then there’s something as simple as pausing the game, this too has had some extra thought go into it, as the baby covers his eyes in typical ‘peek-a-boo’ fashion until the game is resumed.
Much of your navigating requires basic exploration and platforming, such as opening drawers and moving chairs to climb up onto work-tops or reach door handles to gain access to the next room – this is a persistent mechanic throughout that surprisingly wasn’t at all grating. It’s something that’s used more to create tension, as there’s often a sense of dread with audio cues and a shaky screen hinting at the demon’s presence nearby. There is no combating the demon, you can only hide under larger objects, such as tables, sofas, etc. and wait for the demonic figure to move on.
The game’s visuals and audio oozes atmosphere – playing from the first-person perspective of a child, this naturally makes you feel vulnerable, with an otherwise small playground seeming even more daunting and larger through the child’s eyes. It’s rather unique and frankly quite fascinating, with an even deeper meaning to the story than anticipated. Among the Sleep ultimately just kept me wanting to progress further and not put the controller down, which is a feat. few games can achieve.
Among the Sleep is by no means an overly terrifying or lengthy romp, in fact it’s initially rather welcoming and colourful, that is before the sense of dread and darkness creeps in. It hits a few disturbing notes, and after a minute of crawling around and talking to your creepy Teddy friend, the game will likely sink its claws into you as well.
Review code supplied by Team Xbox.