Among the Sleep: A Horror Game Starring a 2-Year Old and His Teddy Bear
Horror games are saturating the market right now, so news of yet another psychologically terrifying game might provoke eye rolls rather than interest. Among the Sleep distinguishes itself right off the bat though by casting the protagonist as neither a gun-toting everyman nor a grimly determined young girl but as a toddler forced to deal with obstacles that range from “opening a door” to “escaping the monsters.” To make matters worse, your faithful teddy bear can apparently talk, whispering instructions into your ear. Um…pass.
Toddlers and talking teddy bears evoke an immediate comparison to Jhonen Vasquez’s Squee!, but rest assured, the game isn’t interested in retreading such familiar paths. Teddy acts more as a guide than an independent creature, necessary for a protagonist that hasn’t totally mastered upright movement let alone puzzle solving and logical thinking.
It’s immediately obvious that the game shouldn’t be taken literally and that a good deal of the surreal horror stems from your infant mind struggling to process a hostile environment, but just how much of the game that this analysis applies to is up to you. Not everything can be packed away into so neat an explanation. And although Among the Sleep begins simply enough, the environments quickly grow more twisted and warped as you progress. The game is genuinely creepy, with a big twist that I can honestly say I did not see coming.