Among the Sleep first appeared on PC two years ago, but it’s now releasing on consoles. With a horror adventure setting you play as a two year old toddler, who wakes up to find his mother is missing.
During the intro sequence your sat in a high chair as your mum brings you cake, and soon after your dad drops off a present for you, before you have chance to eat any cake, your mother takes you up to your bedroom and rubs in the fact she’s left you starving by commenting on how much cake you’ve eaten.
Soon enough you’re left in your play pen to get to grips with the world, given the chance to explore a little you discover your new found friend Teddy, who guides you through a couple of tutorial like games to get you used to the mechanics of moving objects and interacting with the world around you.
Soon after, asleep in your cot you awaken to see a invisible force taking teddy from you, and you’re left to venture through linear path until you find your good friend once again.
From this point the title takes a pretty dark step and the whole horror card is dealt time and time again, nothing is a major scare and there’s not many jumpy moments, but you’ll soon learn that the static sound and scrambled effect mean the monster is near by, For reasons made clear towards the end of the game the monster takes on a very specific appearance when you finally meet its physical form later in the game, and here’s also the link with broken wine bottles that intelligently link to the new found evil and tie in to a pretty strong underlying subject.
Hidden within the options menu, you’ll come across the option to turn on commentary, and while I’d certainly avoid this first time round, it’s well worth switching on for a second play through as these translucent commentary clips that are scattered through the world are one of the best parts of the game as you learn the complexity behind the development and the lengths the dev’s have gone to to introduce the story of family and hardship.
Graphically you can tell it’s a two year old game, and while there’s a degree of next-gen gloss, It’s still looking much more 2014 than 2015, the world is detailed to an extent but still kept very simplistic, it’s worth remembering everything is through the eyes of a two year old child, so things like drawings, doors, drawers and things to climb on quite fittingly feel like the most tempting things.
Before too long your left thinking like a toddler, what can I climb on, what can I pick up and can I throw this and when things get a little dark and scary, you can hug your teddy which doubles up as a clever lumination.
Sadly while the game is packed with small puzzles, it never really touches the depths that I would have liked to have seen. After the initial house section, you visit a central hub that then branches off to worlds forged from the toddlers imagination and while there’s some clever use of physics especially when you come to breaking bottles, It’s a little unfortunate there wasn’t more of the physic based puzzles, in fact the best part comes when you realise breaking a bottle is certainly a bad thing, and you spend a large section of a latter mission carefully moving bottles to safety, by the time you’ve got the hang of this it’s all over and there’s very little afterwards to test your metal.
Audio is well done, with the voice acting of your mother and teddy, both acceptable but still feeling somewhat flat. This is made up for by some eerie noises and effects which do a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere of each area, with many noises intentionally dark and unknown soon establishing themselves as something quite ordinary outside of the imagination.
There’s also some very clever work done with the voice selection which will go unnoticed until you revisit the commentary boxes to shed light on the majority of the game you might not have fully understood the first time around.
With only about 3 hours of gameplay, gamers will feel a little hard-done by, but that’s doubled if you take the time to revisit the world with the commentary option on, these audio dialogues improve the game greatly and it’s fatastic to see the work done to bring us the title, even if it feels a little underwhelming,
The underlying subject is unfortunately discreet until it’s almost over, and the short lifespan won’t please everyone, there’s hidden pictures to collect on your travels with plenty of 100 gamerscore achievements rewarded for finding them all, Unfortunately though outside of the achievements there’s no reason for doing so, and while there’s a few pijamas to choose from, it’s only the very well done (but hidden in the options) commentary boxes, making it worthy of a second play through.
Bottom Line :
Among the Sleep is a dark, eerie tale from the eyes of a toddler, with it’s basic graphics, deep and detailed audio and impressive physics based puzzle system there’s a very unique game that sadly just doesn’t last long enough.