A strange patched up speaking teddy bear sits on my shoulders telling me to go inside a dark wardrobe…wait, where exactly is this game going?
Among the Sleep puts you in a nappy of a 2-year-old toddler, as you crawl and waddle your way through a nightmarish and surreal experience to find out what happened to your poor mother. That teddy bear I mentioned seems to been gifted from my father, maybe. Within the first 20 mins, things start to get spooky and my mother is nowhere to be seen, so it’s my job to help find her with the assistance of the walking, talking stuffed bear.
Krillbrite has done something very interesting by having the main protagonist be a small dainty 2 year old, especially in a first-person horror. His height means everyday objects look very daunting and scary looking, even a door can look ominous when the lights the out. It’s a unique perspective you don’t often experience in a video game or any other media.
The teddy bear guides you across some strange locations, as you solve very basic platforming puzzles such as pushing blocks or picking up items you need to progress. It all seems a little wasted opportunity, nothing ever becomes a real challenge. You can crawl, which is a faster way to travel but in doing that you can’t interact with much of the environment forcing you to waddle around or run until you stumble. In darker areas you can hug your bear slightly illuminating your surroundings making them less sinister, but again you are limited to what you can interact with.
You get closer to solving the mystery of the whereabouts of your mother by collecting memories that are scattered around, and while not spoiling the conclusion of the narrative all of what you experience is connected to real events happening away from the nightmare like levels.
As you are still just a baby in this experience don’t expect any combat, in essence this game shares similarities with the likes of Gone Home and other ‘walking sims’. You’ll explore each environment, move some objects and progress with the game, occasionally a dark ominous figure will chase you meaning you have to escape to avoid a game over. These parts were problematic for me, one mechanic allows you to close your eyes and hide. Yet the switch version never seemed to work, I could only close my eyes if I paused the game which seems wrong. This unfortunately caused a bit of frustration, as pausing would kind of break the immersion of playing.
It is a unique take on horror, but sadly it never get scary. I suppose with it’s 12 rating I won’t get to Resident Evil scares. What it does get right is it’s atmosphere and the feeling of been quite helpless, as you are just a two year old. Given it’s short length you should complete within 3-4 hours, which is good as the game never felt like it was padded out unnecessarily.
Sadly I wouldn’t recommend this title at its current price, it’s a fairly short game with next to no immediate replay value.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*