The Child-Like Terror of Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep Featured

Among the Sleep Featured

Among the Sleep is a horror game that was Kickstarted to the tune of $248,358 in 2013. The funding campaign hooked me with the game’s unique premise of playing as a toddler. Although I don’t feel the game reaches as far as my hopes did, it certainly succeeded at being terrifying in a very unique fashion.

Among the Sleep Screenshot 2

You see, the game doesn’t just cast you as a two-year-old but forces you to embody all that might entail. As such, the first person camera is very low to the ground (slightly less low if you attempt to amble about on two legs). Running, unexpectedly, leads to falling after a while. Sometimes you can see your arms, but unlike in Amnesia or its ilk, you’ve got diminutive hands and blue pajamas on.

The mechanics and initial setting of a dark bedroom push you immediately into embodying a childish mindset. A teddy bear which seemingly comes to life ushers you into a dark closet – but I was afraid to close the closet doors, lest I be covered completely in darkness. Of course, this moment of unneeded fear was just the start of many scary moments in the game – none of which were there obvious choreographed (and loud) jump scares.

Something about filling the shoes of a toddler instilled me with fears I didn’t expect to have. After finally closing the closet doors there is a Narnia-esque hallway to explore. Unlike Narnia’s exciting introduction, Among the Sleep paints the room as dark and incredibly foreboding. Hanging jackets are all long and block your path. I found myself wondering “will one reach out and grab me?” and attempted to not touch any. Of course, they never lashed out at me.

Among the Sleep Screenshot 1

Then there was a part which sends you into the mother’s bedroom. As a tiny child, parents are often the go to “safe” zone. But here even the bedroom is tainted thanks to a blanket completely covering a human-sized lump. It moves up and down with apparent heavy breaths but you just know this isn’t right. Honestly, this room reminded me of a nightmare I used to have and as such my heart rate did pick up once I realized, yes, you must go and pull the blanket down.

These are just a few of the moments where Among the Sleep got into my head. I remember almost nothing about being a toddler but somehow fell into ones fears while playing. The dark became truly ominous and the act of simply traversing a darkened home filled me with dread. Yes, there are some horror games that can truly scare players but never so have I felt it in this way before.

It seems the horror genre has become too focused with simply shouting “boo” because they don’t know how to generate true fear. Among the Sleep is an incredibly unique experience and I urge horror fans to give it a shot. If nothing else, we need to see more creativity in horror games and this might be the start.

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