Among the Sleep is hitting store shelves soon and on the off chance you haven’t played it digitally, like myself, this review is catered specially for you. The game has a sub layer plot that’s more than meets the eye. After all you see things through the mind and eyes of a two year old. So whatever you see in your 3D, horror, platforming adventure may well be completely exaggerated. That might be a good thing though. When everything is said and done Among the Sleep touches upon some pretty serious subject matters.
You are an innocent and delicate two year old navigating abstract settings while searching for your mother. This includes your own home or its nightmarish doppelganger, a nocturnal, spooky playground, or a grimy library. There is also a really creepy teddy bear that acts a companion. I’m sure Krillbite didn’t mean to make him this way but there’s no escaping the feeling. The goal of each level is to find a cherished memory of your mother and acquire a memento that will act as a key of passage to the next level. You’ll do this by navigating semi-linear maps by way of platforming and interacting with objects.
No game would be complete without danger and it’s sad to say the frightening atmosphere does not act in that capacity. The antagonist is a tall, black creature with solid white eyes. It’ll appear in certain levels at certain stages and will be hunting you. When it arrives the screen will shake and blur while a disorientating sound effect plays. It works well on an instinctual basis and will have you rushing away in any direction. Sadly, if it catches you there is no real payoff. You’re just lifted up and a continue screen pops up.
Which ties into one of the cons. The game’s real scares, few as they may be, lose their effect way to quickly. Simply put the scare tactics have been done before to death and better in other titles. I am aware Among the Sleep is aged but these type of scares have long been around since the PS3 days. After awhile I found myself taking way more chances than a person should in a horror game. In fact, the biggest scares came from when the monster glitched and grabbed me without all the effects or footsteps heard. The only saving grace came when the identity of the villain was revealed.
I wish I could say the problems stopped there. The way you interact with objects definitely shows its PC side. You have to click, hold, and slide open doors, drawers, and vents. It doesn’t transition well to console sadly. The thumbstick will be moved in the right direction but the corresponding action doesn’t happen on screen. It was really hard to tell if it was the lack of mouse or the very mechanics of the title.
Among the Sleep has decent enough graphics in its depiction of a small child’s nightmares but the animations were awful. Movements were wooden and passed through other objects on the regular. It was so prevalent that I couldn’t help but notice every time. Remember the teddy bear being creepy? He is a victim of this problem. The wooden animations and stale dialogue made him seem like a villain waiting to reveal himself. This is especially detrimental when the game has been out for some time and hasn’t been touched in the least. The review would be longer but another issue is content. You’ll most likely finish it in one sitting or at least in less than two hours.
Among the Sleep Review - PS4
Overall - Not Bad - 5.0/10
Among the Sleep implements its backstory well but without consistent scares and payoff it never comes together. You’ll feel more anger towards the antagonist rather than pity for our main character. The game is a decent platformer with minimal scares which is good or bad depending on your definition of horror. Sadly, it’s all hampered by technical flaws, repetition, and clunky execution. I can’t help but feel a little more fine tuning would have done this game wonders. Unfortunately, its been two years and these issues aren’t fixed so I’ll doubt they’ll ever be. If it wasn’t for the backstory, this game wouldn’t have entertained me as little as it may have. Hopefully Krillbite Studios puts a bit more polish on its next title.
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