You’d be proven wrong from right to left that horror games haven’t made a significant comeback over the years, particularly due to their popularity on Youtube. It’s made obscure fan-fictions like Slenderman become global phenomenons, and gotten games out of development hell like Alien Isolation.
As is the case with any genre imploding, multiple developers will try to jump on the bandwagon, with some offering a far more interesting twist than the rest. I saw this to be the case in Among the Sleep, a horror title offering a more juvenile perspective, quite literally. So, does it revolutionize what we know about horror games, stick to tropes, or stay in between? Here’s my critical analysis.
The most surprising feature in Among The Sleep’s gameplay department is how it uses platforming for exploration, puzzles, and of course getting away from your deepest fears. Since you are a toddler, you can’t do every physical activity to get to your objective, which leaves to a lot of improvisation, which is either fun or frustrating.
However, that doesn’t mean to say that you’re always at a lost for help. Your plushy teddy bear companion is quite useful in the darkest of corridors and he can offer some last minute solutions/shortcuts if you are in the thick of things. It’s a nice element, and is a great contrast to some of the poorer horror games with “sidekicks” like 2012’s AMY.
Story & Design:
Among The Sleep’s story builds itself to be very memorable, and adds rich exposition that builds and builds the further you go. However, there are a couple of negatives in the design department. While the controls are responsible enough, there isn’t an adequate form of a difficulty spike. However, this won’t bother everybody, considering how short the game is.
Presentation/ Visuals & Audio:
Among the Sleep makes a slew of interesting presentation decisions, but these are heavily brought down by it’s less than stellar technical prowess. While there weren’t any crashes, I always was expecting something grim to happen considering the constant frame drops. If this gets patched, then Among the Sleep will be a much more enjoyable experience.
Among the Sleep is one of the better horror titles I’ve come across in recent memory. It’s unique take doesn’t take away any of the scares, and the plot doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and creates a collection of memorable scenarios. The same can’t be said for the presentation, which is the one urgent issue of fixing.
Among the Sleep gets a 8/10 (Very Good)
We’d like to thank Krillbite Studio for giving us a code!
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