Among The Sleep – Alpha Demo Playthrough Without Audio Commentary

So it’s been a little while since I wrote my PSA for Among The Sleep, and now the Alpha demo has been released to the public over on the Kickstarter page. They even reached their Kickstarter goal tonight, so congratulations Krillbite!

I have now played through the Alpha, and done a thorough exploration of the demo area, which you can see right below here. I didn’t want to talk over it, since I felt that would ruin the mood. (And yes, showing the menu and controls in the beginning was intentional.) I recommend watching full-screen at the highest fidelity your connection can handle. (Personally I’d recommend at least 720p.)

Please don’t forget that this is a very early build, and therefore it’s hardly the most stable, and likely not very representative of the quality of the final product. I’ve watched enough Totalbiscuit to know that people need to be reminded of this over and over.

Text commentary below the break.

0:17 – The setting is that you play as a two-year-old child just put to bed, when strange things start happening. You end up exploring areas at night, starting with your own house. The devs have said the game is inspired by dreams they remember having as children, so it’s possible you’re in some sort of nightmare.

00:34 – The song the mother is humming is known as Trollmother’s Lullaby in Scandinavia. More detail in the PSA.

01:46 – The standard controls are WASD to move, and Ctrl to change between walking and crawling. You can crawl faster than you can walk and get under a lot of places, but walking gives you a better oversight of your surroundings, and lets you use Space to climb on top of certain things. You can also use Shift to sprint for a short distance, but you’ll fall down and have to crawl if you sprint too long, since you’re too young to have the best balance yet. The left mouse button is used to interact with things, and certain objects can be dragged and/or pushed around.

02:35 – Simple puzzle. Push a chair close to a door so you can reach the door-handle.

04:16 – Once you get your teddy bear, you carry him with you, and you can press G to hug him. This provides you with a soft light that lets you see well around you, but you can only hug him while you’re walking, and you can’t sprint or interact with anything while you’re hugging him. I assume that in the full game the light might give you away to monsters, but we’ll just have to see.

04:40 – Too many scary noises. I’d rather hide.

05:37 – You might have noticed that you can pretty much always see some of the child’s body in view. If you look down while standing, you can see all the way down to your socks. You even cast a shadow in light. I feel this helps enforce the feeling of actually being there.

06:03 – The derpiest elephant. 🙂

07:15 – I feel they’ve already done a good job on the engine, and I was able to spell the word “får” with the letter blocks. It’s a Norwegian word for “sheep”. Amusingly I see the side says “bæ”, which is our way of spelling “baa”. Didn’t notice that when I was playing.

08:06 – Yup, totally legit bowling move.

08:18 – The way all the book spines read like gobbledegook probably lends credence to the idea that the kid is dreaming, since that’s probably what the book titles look like to him.

09:07 – Here’s where I first notice that things look fuzzy if you’re not looking straight at them. I assume that’s a deliberate way of programming in peripheral vision.

11:49 – The movie boxes have more gobbledegook, with a few things that look like actual words. I assume because the kid has seen them more often than the others.

12:53 – An ÆØÅ block, just to prove we’re in Norway. Well, okay, it could be Denmark too, but there’s more proof later on.

14:20 – The can in the fridge says “Ost – ikke frokost”, which means “Cheese – not breakfast”. I assume it’s a joke or pun of some kind that I don’t quite get. In-joke, possibly.

15:12 – While the handwriting on the yellow jar was a little weird, I believe the three jars say (left to right) “Cookies”, “Coffee” and “Oatmeal”.

16:27 – While standing you can lean left and right with the Q and E keys.

17:34 – Very typical Norwegian depiction of a troll on that mug. It’s even holding a small Norwegian flag.

23:14 – While it’s hardly the first example, I would like to state that I think the sound design in Among The Sleep is fantastic.

25:46 – More letter blocks. They seem to turn up everywhere.

26:47 – I do wonder if it’s deliberate design or just unfinished product that there’s no dirt in the flower boxes. A two-year-old would likely not know that flowers need dirt to grow, so dream-logic would just kick in.

28:03 – And there you go. The early Alpha demo with a small sneak peak of things to come at the end.

Even in this early state I find Among The Sleep to be great visually, with haunting audio and wonderfully eerie atmosphere. I am a big wuss, but I still want to actually play this one. Experience the terror and horror, and then not sleep for a month.

There are still a few days left on the Kickstarter as of this writing, and even if you read this after it’s passed, I assume you can still get the Alpha demo from there.

If there is a desire for it, I can do a version of the video with audio commentary, but if no one asks, then I think it’s better as is.

~Wulf

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Posted on May 15, 2013, in Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Will be trying this out on my return from work.
    As a self-professed coward, I reckon I’ll be shaking in my child-sized britches for most of it…

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