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AMONG THE SLEEP: Toddler Horror on Kickstarter

Among the Sleep, a forthcoming game from Krillbite Studios, is a unique little thing. It’s a survival horror game unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Horror games typically now fall into these categories:

  • Horror-themed action shooter: F.E.A.R. 3, Bioshock, DOOM, or Resident Evil
  • Zombie games: Left 4 Dead, Dead Island, Dead Rising, ZombiU
  • Supernatural horror: Fatal Frame, Silent Hill series, Siren
  • “Accidental” horror (more creepy than overt): Eversion, Anna, Home, Yume Nikki, Slender: The 8 Pages

Most of the last category have come from the publisher-less and budget-lacking indie scene, and just like film, low budget horror often has more going for it than not. It can be cheap, Flash-based slashers, or use its limitations to its benefit. Our minds fill in dark spaces and creepy, ambient soundtracks with unseen monsters all the time. Our childhood fears are resurrected in the form of deranged mascots, baby dolls, and wholesome family entertainment. Most of our fears come from our powerlessness, which is why action heavy games like F.E.A.R. 3 almost always fail to truly frighten. Casting your player as an apocalyptic, near-invincible warrior is hardly the way to provide that experience.

Among The Sleep casts you in the first person perspective as a 2 year old toddler wandering through darkly lit living rooms, chased by dark supernatural beings. A wobbly perspective, a full view of your hammy jams, and tiny hand pushing aside obstacles, it’s fully committed to the perspective. This conscious choice to make the player physically incapable of fighting back is a truly spark of innovation, as it plays well off of our youthful, plastic imagination in seeing a wind-rippled shirt on a coat rack as a terrifying ghost. Check out the first gameplay teaser below:

I’ve played a lot of games in my time, but I’ve never played a survival horror game as an actual child. Maybe other developers are to chicken to insinuate a 2 year old is in danger, or simply prefer the easy “kill all monsters” take on the genre. All of us were young once, and have shared these types of experiences, either real or imagined. Among the Sleep looks truly interesting, and worth succeeding on Kickstarter. This team, made up mostly of semi-pros working part time jobs to survive, have poured an amazing amount of work into this game so far, and it deserves a chance. As of this article, it’s about 1/3rd of the way there, with 26 days to go. You can find the game project page here. Donate $20, most likely the initial cost of the game, and you can get a digital copy as soon as it’s released.

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The Author

Carl Wilhoyte

Carl Wilhoyte

Carl Wilhoyte is the Video Games Editor of a class warrior poet who writes about all things video games. He's sure everything is not under control and is not going to be okay. For a good time, follow his angry rants and smart thoughts on Twitter: @carlwilhoyte.