Among the Sleep

Developer: Krillbite Studio | Released: 2014 | Genre: Adventure, Horror

This was a short first person horror adventure in control of a little toddler that could barely walk. After a birthday cake from mum and a later put to sleep, the majority of the game went through surrealistic set pieces with elements from the house itself. Most of the game was very dark with a lot of walking/crawling, sometimes with light puzzles like dragging a chair to climb on or finding “memories” for a portal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it again – I’m not really fit for horror games or movies anymore. I’ve become completely numb. I really should stop touching this genre.

Nevertheless I bought the game and I am trying to work through my backlog.

But in spite of the absence of screaming in my apartment, the game did its best with a spooky atmosphere, it didn’t go crazy with cheap jump scares, and the ambient sounds were really good. Humans that can still experience the feeling of horror may find a lot to like here.

The surrealistic dream levels sometimes reminded me of American McGee’s Alice games.

There were light puzzle elements, like finding key lock items or a few objects for a counterweight or a simple puzzle to open up for further access. That being said, most of the game really was walking simulator territory. In the last third of the game there was a roaming monster to avoid – a cue taken from the horror classic Amnesia: The Dark Descent which no doubt also served as a solid inspiration.

Spoiler: Observations

  • There were body awareness. The kid was wearing blue rompers.
  • The toddler could crawl, walk and run, although the latter was often cut short by tripping.
  • I was given a teddy bear. It could comment on things, and when hugged it worked as a weak lamp.
  • Lots of doodles to find in various cabinets. I never got enough of them for an achievement.
  • Many levels ended with a brass tube that I could slide into, ready to enter the next level.
  • There was a smull hut where four “memories” could be placed to open the next set of levels.
  • The first real puzzle was finding a cluster of figurines for a small counterweight seesaw.
  • Sometimes the ambient sounds were assisted by the sound of a heart beating.
  • Boxes or chairs could be pushed for climbing but opening drawers also worked for that purpose.
  • When the toddler got scared (e.g. when the monster showed up) the entire screen shook its lines.
  • One of the better levels for avoiding the monster was in a library, hiding under the bookshelves.
  • In the final level, I sometimes had to hit a bottle with a ball to get access to a key lock item inside.
  • There was a level with lots of bottles on stacked boxes. Smash one and the monster came running.
  • At the last brass tube the monster came crashing in and ripped an arm off the teddy bear.
  • The reveal of the game was that mommy was a drunkard. Oh, well – then there’s always dad!

A few days later I also completed a DLC and visited a museum.

The DLC was about calming down and collecting scared toys around the house by closing windows (to keep out the snow) and switching on a device such as a radio or a cartoon on the TV. The hairy monster was also roaming, but the biggest challenge was actually avoiding a menacing furnace in the cellar.

The museum displayed all the assets of the game with lots of comments, some of which was told by teddy placeholders. It was surprisingly elaborate. In fact, it was almost too much of a good thing.


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