Every now and then, someone has a fabulous idea in gaming. Sometimes that involves hordes of undead zombies, or a rocket launcher and the literal forces of Hell. Sometimes it means spending hours thinking "Just one more turn" as you craft the destiny of a city or an entire civilization.
Sometimes it means being two years-old, with cute fuzzy pajamas and a teddy bear.
Among the Sleep is played from the perspective of a small child of indeterminate sex. The Kickstarter project puts you in the footie pajamas of a toddler who wakes from a nightmare into a dark, scary nursery. Everything is rendered from a child's viewpoint, with surreal lighting and spooky corners. For a game that's just in Alpha, Krillbite's design is astounding. You can walk -- but crawling is faster. You can pick up small objects and push or pull larger ones, but everything feels a little slow, a little clumsy -- just like a child. When you hit Esc to bring up an option menu, the character actually covers their eyes -- a brilliant little feature that fits perfectly in the game's nightmare aesthetic. Sound is extremely well-handled -- you'll hear creepy effects (Teddy in the washer sounds like something out of hell), but you're always wondering if something is actually scary --
or is the child's interpretation of an event?
The Alpha gives you the opportunity to crawl through the early levels, rescue your Teddy from the evil of the washing machine and explore the downstairs of the house.
Hugging Teddy actually increases ambient light, in a friendly nightlight glow.
There are other, numerous tips of the hat to the fact that the protagonist is a very young child. You can't really read any of the writing on objects -- because you can't read. You can't reach door handles or table tops without finding things to climb on. Hiding is apparently a major part of gameplay, because let's face it -- they don't make BFG's for two-year-old hands. The Alpha demo is available for download from the Kickstarter page. This game is a surreal exploration of horror from the perspective of a person for whom the borders of reality, imagination, and fact are fluid. Teddy is also alive, and speaks to you (though he doesn't go full Hobbes and run around on-screen -- at least, not yet). Check it out.