Among the Sleep


Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Krillbite Studio

Released:  May 2014

PC Requirements:  

  • OS: Windows 7 or higher
  • Processor: Quadcore 2.5GHz
  • Memory: 4096 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Video card with 1024MB of VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Yes


    by flotsam


    Among the Sleep

    Krillbite Studio

    The world of a two year old can be a scary place, especially if mummy isn’t around. While there is much to admire in this first outing from Krillbite, it ended up falling short of the mark, literally and figuratively, primarily because it moved beyond that toddler realm.

    The opening scenes give you a taste for what you are in for, perspective wise. It’s your birthday, and mummy has cake, and the high chair the spoon coming at you make it clear you are anything but grown up. Then it’s into the play pen for some R and R, and you get to come to terms with the perambulation limitations of being this small.

    Getting out of the play pen will help you with the games mechanics, and then you get to explore. Finding the talking teddy will give voice to the things you can’t say yourself, some more mechanical instruction, and, in a rather nifty take on being on infant, some illumination via a teddy hug.

    While I never have liked the style of interface where you mimic the action you are trying to achieve with the mouse (e.g. hold and pull back on the mouse to pull a draw open), these initial scenes do a pretty good job of building your baby person. Crawling is a quicker way to get around as opposed to your standing shuffle, but standing is necessary in order to reach some of things above ground level. Being a baby is further enhanced by the first person perspective, and the fact you can “see” yourself, or at least your baby blue pj’d bottom half, if you look down. 

    So far so good, and then it gets gooder, as the bed you have been put in is tossed about and mummy is no longer there. Out of your room, and the dark house, with its massive size given your diminutive stature, brings back all the reasons why noises and objects are scary when you are small. I can distinctly remember running across my dark bedroom and leaping onto my bed from as far away as I could manage so whatever it was under my bed didn’t get me. At this point in the game, Among the Sleep does a great job of conveying that same sense of scary dread.

    And then I thought it lost its way. Exiting the house takes you to a series of alternate reality type worlds, which while having a mundane base ultimately detract from the “why are things scary to a toddler” dynamic. They were visually interesting, and audibly rich in themselves, but they didn’t feel like part of an overall whole. Or at least not a whole that had been built on the original foundations.

    Puzzling too was a tad uninspiring. True, there is a not a lot that a toddler can do, but the puzzles reflected this. Solve the first few and you have unlocked the way forward for the rest of the game. From an adventure perspective, it lacked any real substance.

    So too the story, although again there are obvious limitations given your age. I liked the fact that writing appeared as gobbledygook – babies can’t read so why would it be comprehensible – but the talking teddy notwithstanding, the tale lacked any real substance.

    Which would have been ok if the whole thing had stayed within the realms of ‘realism”. A small child looking for its mother in a dark house, beset by all those shapes and noises, would probably have been sufficient. The soundscape, especially with headphones, and the visuals would have conjured up all those latent childlike horrors, and a few hours later it’s end would have felt like a welcome relief. However by moving beyond that, it ended up feeling like style rather than substance, and its limitations become so much more pronounced.

    Which is a bit of a shame, because as I said at the start there is much to admire. You have to like something that tries to be different, especially as there is way too much that is simply a rehash of other things. There is promise here, and that’s a good thing for Krillbite.

    Grade: C+

     I played on:

    OS: Windows 7

    Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

    RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

    Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB


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