The horror genre is one that usually pits you in a mansion, a forest or a haunted village meeting your worst fears. Yet every time you play as a detective or some unfaithful man or woman. What if you saw the world through the eyes of a toddler, now that could be scary!
In Among the Sleep we take on the role of a two-year-old child. A loving intro with a birthday party does not end so positively when mum has an argument with someone at the door. However, presents make up for everything, and since we are still only two years old we need to head to bed straight after. In the middle of the night, we are awakened by a mysterious sound and curious as you are you head out of your bed to find out what it is. We feel safe thanks to our talking teddy bear that we take with us, because a toddler is just a toddler of course.
The story of Among the Sleep is good, but actually pretty short. After around 3 to 4 hours you are already at the end of the adventure, something that is not exactly stretched by the puzzles that you are offered. Getting the door open (not quite easy for a tiny cutter) or finding a key are just about the core tasks and, as said, not immediately called challenging. “Child’s play” is the most suitable word for the level of difficulty. Only once did we really have to think carefully, but that was because we didn’t even know we could perform a certain action.
The tension is in the creepy monster that wanders around during the story, a monster that you cannot defend against (toddlers do not immediately have a defensive reflex outside of screaming and crying). Yet you don’t have to worry right away, because escaping is pretty easy. Just find a hiding place and play hide and seek, although in many cases you can also just walk away, since the monster runs fixed patterns and you can fathom them quite quickly.
If it really gets too dark, you can switch on your teddy bear, because a hug provides a light beam so that everything becomes slightly more visible. Nevertheless, there are also some shock moments built in, although we have to admit that they have not had much effect on our playing session. It all remains a bit awkward, especially since the aim of the game is to make sure you get a thrill out of the fear effects.
Graphically, Among the Sleep does not look bad, especially since it is an indie title. The different environments are well made and atmospheric the game is great, even with the Switch downgrade visually. Regarding dialogues: these are also well finished and especially the voice of the teddy bear is a plus, because it is calm and soothing – just like any teddy bear should be. The Enhanced Edition also offers you a new museum level that lets you take a look at the creation of the game as well as the soundtrack. This is a nice plus if you happen to like the music, which is quite good!
Among the Sleep takes a interesting approach by letting you crawl around as a two-year-old. The game is best played for the atmosphere and as a walking simulator, as the puzzles and horror elements aren’t that amazing or worth remembering.