Among The Sleep: Dragon Slayer Awards Nomination for Best New Indie Game 2014
The Dragon Slayer Awards are back, brought to us by GameSkinny's sister site Guild Launch. The Dragon Slayer Awards give you, the fans, a chance to vote for your favourite games, communities, gaming personalities and more! Among the Sleep has been nominated as one of the five games competing for the title of 'Best New Indie Game' of 2014. Let's recap on how Among the Sleep caused a stir within the indie gaming community as soon as Krillbite Studios unique idea got out to the public.
There are many first person horror adventure games out there within the indie genre, especially after the successes of games such as Amnesia. But Krillbite Studio offered us a totally different way to experience horror, through the eyes of a helpless 2-year-old child.
"With all the lumpen, gristly protagonists clogging up today's starring roles, it's heartening to see somebody trying something a little out of the ordinary."
Quotes like this were seen everywhere with the release onto Kickstarter in April 2013; where the company managed to gain more than their target, gaining $248, 358 of their $200, 000 target from generous and excited fans! Among the Sleep also gained much interest from the Norsk Film Institutt (Norwegian Film Institute). All of these generous donations not only led to the full development of the game that we have today, but also allowed a commentary track, downloadable content, and Oculus Rift support for full virtual immersion in this horrifying game of a child's worst nightmare!
When the game was officially released in May 2014 people were pleasantly surprised by the unique gameplay and intense storyline. We all remember the feeling of being scared in the dark as a child, now we can re-immerse ourselves in that strangely familiar feeling that no other game has explored before. Krillbite Studio has even nursed players' nostalgic sides with their very own teddy bear, Teddy, to guide the way. I'm sure many players will agree that this gave us fond memories of our own beloved stuffed animals. (Mine was called Ted, how very original!)
"Nowhere is this more keenly felt than your teddy bear, which accompanies you throughout. He can walk and talk, but he’s also a form of safety. When scared, you can clutch him tight and he will emit a familiar warm glow. It has the potential to be not only a great mechanic but also a powerful metaphor."
But oddly enough Teddy could also make the game seem even more unnerving...
"His nervous narration adds another layer of unease, while his children’s-TV-presenter intonation and unblinking, sewed-on eyes lend him the air of a vicarious arsonist encouraging you to light the match."
Among the Sleep explores most people's earliest fears; waking up in the middle of the night scared, only to find that your Mum isn't there to console you, but where is she? The gameplay has players overcome the inabilities of being a toddler by crawling through dark and eerie scenes, created by the child's imagination, all the while being chased by a shadow-like monster.
But what really grabs the player is the ending of this game; the realisation of the bigger picture. It's not just a game about a child's over-active imagination, but one of abuse and separation. There are many clues that point to this outcome throughout the game but they are quite subtle. It's not until the shadow-like monster engulfs you that you wake up from the imaginary hell-hole and into an even worse one in real life. Realizing that the mother was the monster all along was quite a shocking turn of events, and it was made even worse by the player's sympathy for the young child who has gone through so much to escape his own mother.
"It’s psychological approach and poignant conclusion distinguish it from a lot of the games that simply resort to shock tactics."
Among the Sleep can be played on PS4 as well as Windows, Mac and Linux from Steam, gog.com, and The Humble Store.
Overall the game attracted much attention, from beginning until the end of development. Many YouTubers and games journalists were eager to play and review it, giving the game a very strong online presence which I feel was very well deserved. If you feel the same way then vote now for Among the Sleep to win 'Indie Game of the Year'!