Also On: PC
Publisher: Killbrite Studio
Developer: Killbrite Studio
The survival horror genre has an identity crisis as of late. Capcom pumps out action titles, calls them Resident Evil and somehow they get classified as survival horror. I miss the classic survival horror titles like Silent Hill and Eternal Darkness. There was hope of a revitalization with Kojima’s P.T. but that ended before it could even get started. Enter Among the Sleep from Killbrite Studio and after a few trailers I thought this could finally be the survival horror return I’ve been waiting for. Does Among the Sleep deliver, and is it truly survival horror?
Among the Sleep takes you through a trippy adventure told through the eyes of a two year old as he tries to find his mother, preventing you from achieving this is a shadow like individual (very similar to Slender Man). Not only that but you have a companion talking stuffed teddy bear (named Teddy for obvious reasons). How could this not be a survival horror title? Originally released on the PC in 2014, Among the Sleep is now seeing its release on the PS4 (and will also see a release on the XBOX One at a future date to be determined). Right from the first few minutes of gameplay you can tell this was a game ported over from the PC. While that isn’t necessarily always a gripe to have, in this game in specific, it rubbed me the wrong way. The mapping of the actions to a controller is fine, it just feels like it was meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard and is a bit wonky with the Dual Shock controller.
Like I said earlier, Among the Sleep is told through the eyes of a toddler and I mean that literally. This is a first person toddler title (new genre of FPT coming soon) and through your adventure you will crawl, climb and kinda run. While also picking up objects such as drawings and other children’s toys along the way. Among the Sleep is not a very long game; clocking in around 2 hours (although it does come with a Prologue stage that was originally DLC for the PC release). I really don’t want to dive into the stages involved in the game for spoiler purposes. I will say you get to explore the child’s house rather early in the game and this is where the game starts you down the rabbit hole on its eerie nightmarish adventure.
Basic controls involve; crawling, grabbing items (holding items has them float in air which reminds me of Half-Life) and hugging Teddy to lighten up areas as well as calm the toddler down. Controls and gameplay are very basic and honestly that's not what’s important about Among the Sleep. The atmosphere and musical score is what I was looking forward to most, and in my opinion it is the most crucial part of any survival horror title. So I’m happy to report that while the game is very short, the environments and mood throughout really enhanced the storytelling experience. Playing Among the Sleep with the lights off will deliver more creeps and scares than Capcom has been able to deliver with any Resident Evil title for the past 10 years.
Among the Sleep is a baby step (see what I did there) in the right direction when it comes to the survival horror genre. It’s an original concept and a very unique experience. Not to sound like a broken record, but Among the Sleep feels like it’s over just as it’s getting into its groove and that’s really my only major complaint. Hopefully this isn’t Killbrite Studio’s only entry into the survival horror genre because I would love to see what else they could pull off with a longer story and bigger budget.