Among the Sleep
|Among the Sleep|
Cover artwork for Among the Sleep
|Producer(s)||Ole Andreas Jordet|
|Genre(s)||Survival horror, action-adventure|
Among the Sleep is a first-person survival horror action-adventure video game developed by Norwegian developer Krillbite Studio for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It was released on 29 May 2014 in North America and Europe for the PC. The PlayStation 4 version's release date was announced to be 10 December 2015.
Among the Sleep is a first-person exploration game seen from the view of a toddler. The player can move the cursor to walk or crawl around, the latter of which is faster and is required to slide through obstacles blocking the way. Running is also an available option, though the player will fall down if it is done for too long. The player can interact and push objects and open doors and windows. Sometimes, the handle to open doors is too tall to reach for the player, in which case the player will have to push and climb chairs for additional height. Other than chairs, the player can climb boxes, tables, and various things to reach otherwise unreachable ledges and heights. Certain objects can also be held as well as thrown away. Others can be stored to the inventory and taken out again for later use.
For most of the game, the player is accompanied by a sentient teddy bear named Teddy, a birthday present from the toddler's father. The player can hug Teddy, who emits light that helps the player navigate through darker environments. The light will wear down after a while, but will recharge if left unused. If the player drops Teddy, which always happens whenever they arrive from sliding through pipes to a new level or environment, they will have to pick it up first before advancing again.
Throughout the game, the player is followed by two monsters: a feminine figure that haunts the first three levels, and a trench coat-wearing figure that haunts the final level. The monsters' appearance is indicated by the blurring of the vision, grating sounds, and in the case of the feminine figure, a slow lullaby (Trollmors Vuggesang, "Trollmother's Lullaby") hummed about. There is no way to fend off the monsters; if they appear, the player will have to run away or hide under tables or chairs until they go away. If the player is not quick enough to evade the monsters, a short cinematic will show the monsters taking hold of the player that results in a game over, followed by a continue screen with a pacifier. Clicking the pacifier restarts the game from the last checkpoint. The player can also get a game over by other means, such as falling into water or chasms.
The game is largely linear and involves going from point A to B, though the expansive environment with multiple obstacles may induce the feeling of being lost. After some time exploring the player's house, the player is taken to a dreamlike location with a gingerbread house-like hut that serves as a sort of hub level. The house contains a circular door that leads to a new level, surrounded by four containers where "memories" obtained from each level are stored. After the player finds a memory and heads to a tube at the end of the level, they will be returned to this hut. Once four memories are stored, the player can insert Teddy's right hand below the circular door to return to the player's house.
In the extra DLC level, instead of exploring dreamlike locations, the player is taken to another house with the objective of finding and thawing five frozen dolls by playing music or turning on the TV. The gameplay is still the same, with the feminine figure haunting the player, but the player is also confronted by a fireplace monster in the underground section that advances and closes in through an aisle.
Set in the 1990s, a toddler is having his second birthday celebration at his home with his mother. The celebration is interrupted by a visitor at the front door who is hidden from the player, but the story suggests it is the player's father, with whom the mother has divorced. The conversation is muffled and partly kept from the player as the mother raises her voice, refusing the father's request to see his child. The mother's angry tone frightens the toddler, whose fear is presented as blurred vision. Quickly, the mother returns with a gift, but the mother doesn't tell who the gift is from. Instead, she carries the child and gift upstairs to the child's room, a place of bright, warm colors and streaming sunlight. The mother briefly opens the gift, but looks at what is inside with a disdainful expression before quickly shutting the gift box. Before the present is given to the child, the telephone rings, and the mother leaves her baby in the bedroom to play alone. The gift is revealed to be a sentient teddy bear who climbs out of the box and hides in the chest until the child finds him. The bear introduces himself as Teddy. Teddy has a friendly, curious nature. After a few minutes playing together with a music box, a stuffed pink elephant, a story book, and a toy train, they go into the closet, which turns out to be a large, dark room filled with long, dark colored coats. Teddy says that if the player gets scared in the dark, they can hug Teddy to feel more safe. Once the player holds Teddy, he lights the way, acting like a flashlight. The small adventure is ended by the mother finding them; she tells the child, gently but ominously, to stop hiding from her and puts him to bed. The baby wakes in the night to find Teddy being taken by an unseen force. His crib overturns, and the player escapes. The child leaves the bedroom and rescues Teddy from a washing machine by unplugging it and opening the door. The bear says that something was not right and that they had to find the child's mother.
The search leads them to discover a slide that takes them to a small playhouse within a cavern that is presumably under the house, and the door found inside it leads them into a journey through several surreal environments. Teddy instructs the player to find four memories the child shared with their mother that will lead them to her. The memories take the forms of four objects: Her pendant from her necklace shown at the start of the game, the music box she plays to put him to sleep at night, the story book, and the pink elephant. Throughout the search, the player is pursued by a large, feminine, shadow monster and a creature with glowing white eyes that has a coat as a body like the ones in the child's closet earlier.
After the last memory is found, Teddy and the child try to go through the slide that would lead back to the playhouse, but the coat creature grabs onto Teddy to stop the child from completing the last memory. The child was hanging over an abyss and Teddy's arm was ripped off in the weight of the child. The player then falls into a dark room lit by a series of floodlights. The child follows his mother's voice and sees her drinking from a bottle as she transforms into the feminine monster from earlier (implying that they and the coat figure are the same) before disappearing. The child is left alone in the dark, with window lights coming from up ahead, leading it back to the playhouse. After using the last memory to open the playhouse's door, the child sees cracks in a door that's straight ahead. Once through the door, the child is back in their room (having exited through the closet). The child heads downstairs to find his mother crying in the kitchen, the damaged bear in one hand, an empty wine bottle in the other, which she drops. When the player attempts to retrieve the bear, the mother knocks the toddler over and shouts at the player to leave her alone. She apologizes and tells the toddler she didn't mean to, and that it's too much. The player has the option of briefly comforting mother should the player interact with her again.
There is a knock at the front door that the mother doesn't react to; instead, she continues crying. When the toddler goes to the door, it opens and reveals a glowing white light. The player's father is heard talking to the child, remarking on Teddy's broken arm, stating that he can fix him.
An expansion level available through downloadable content is set before the events of the game, again told from the toddler's point of view. The player is wandering through a winter environment and finds five dolls surrounding a light that breaks, sending the player to a house different from the one shown in the main story. The player is required to locate and thaw the five dolls that are frozen due to the freezing wind from outside coming through the open windows, which involves closing the windows and using music and TV to free them. Throughout the house, bright figures of the toddler's parents are shown arguing due to the mother's alcohol abuse. Along the way, the player encounters the feminine monster from the first game and a living furnace monster in the basement. Once the player finds all of the dolls, including the rabbit one found outside the house after it has fallen from a window, the mother is seen taking the toddler before going away in depression, implying that the house is the father's house and that the mother is taking her child to the house seen in the main story, leaving the doll out in the cold.
This "bad ending" was scrapped from the story but was placed in the enhanced edition of the game. The ending can be accessed in the "Museum level". The toddler wakes up in a broken down, cage-like baby crib in an unknown area. Then he sees Teddy turning a wheel, where the crib is being held, revealing a room with lifeless dolls, all memory items and a giant cooking pot. The crib stops moving and Teddy walks creepily towards the child, "happily" greeting him. From that moment his neck cracks and giant skeleton-like hands came out of his body, revealing his true ghostly form: "The Nightmare". It turns out The Nightmare has been using young children to collect beloved items to create a stew by disguising as stuffed toys and tricking children to venture far from their homes. He prepares his meal by placing all the items in the pot, stirring them, while saying the quotes from the toddlers book "Five Thirsty Animals." He then congratulates the child for doing his bidding, grabs him, and drops him into the boiling water ready to be devoured.
Development of Among the Sleep began in 2011, and attracted 225,000 NOK (€28,000) on 27 May and 200,000 NOK (€25,000) on 28 October in 2011 in funding from the Norsk Film Institutt (Norwegian Film Institute)  The NFI awarded the company a supplementary 400,000 NOK (€50,000) on 1 March and another 820,000 NOK (€102,700) on 1 November in 2012.
Krillbite Studio also gained subsidies by launching a Kickstarter campaign at 18 April 2013, where they managed to pledge $248,358 of a $200,000 target. Achieved stretch goals included a commentary track, downloadable content developed in collaboration with backers, and support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (February 2015)
As of 7 March 2015, over 100,000 copies of the game had been sold.
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