Deep sleep seems deceptively simple at first. Low resolution graphics and basic sound effects don’t instantly hit you in the gut with suspense and fear but oh boy does this game grab you quickly.
It’s a point and click, where you utilise items to interact with your environment again fairly standard but this is a game that builds in both suspense and story.
That moment early on when you interact with something and the world fades away is spooky and you genuinely don’t expect it. The corpse in you bed is equally nerve racking. Is it you? Did you even wake up? is it all a dream? And the music I called basic earlier really ratchets up the tension.
There’s a staircase in the first environment and years of horror games have hardwired me to be worried about heading down those stairs.
You also occasionally get little text notes on the bottom of the screen when you interact with them which to me seem cryptic and add to the tension also.
You hear a ringing phone and when you answer it you hear a whispering voice telling you to wake up and to beware the people made of smoke. Talk about cryptic and terrifying. What’s worse is it loops just when you expect it to stop it just keeps going.
So I found myself very quickly with only the stairs left to explore and so I bravely ventured down them. Armed only with a flashlight with no batteries.
I won’t talk you through the entire game just some early highlights to get you into it. You find a note from yourself which talks about lucid dreaming and how you aren’t in the real world. Suddenly you realise anything can happen but the warnings earlier on the phone mean perhaps not all is well. The nietzsche quote about darkness seems particularly apt, for dreams are but pleasant nightmares and if you stayed too long in dreams surely a nightmare will find you.
I remember this being one of the first flash games where I felt true atmosphere and intensity, it wasn’t just some escape game (the only other flash games I really played as a kid) it has a real ongoing story and a sense of danger and reality to it.
The newspaper headlines add a particular sense of dread as you worry you’ll never wake up.
This game does so much with so little, just the appropriate amount of noise, the seen and unseen, even the low quality Pixel graphics add to it because you imagine what you can’t see hidden away in the dark dusty corridor.
And then the first chase, you don’t know what it is so you just run and barely escape it feels real and gets the blood pumping.
The game is brief but enjoyable with a larger mythos and story built across the two later installments. A truly unforgettable gaming experience than my mind lept to instantly when I decided to include flash games/online games to my review list. I give this game a 9/10, my only complaint is there wasn’t enough of it. I thoroughly recommend you set aside a couple hours and play this and the two direct sequels Deeper Sleep and Deepest Sleep which I will also be reviewing, and also while I’m at it check out Scriptwelder the developer of the series, he’s very talented and has made plenty of fantastic flash games, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter and via his website. I’ve lined up an Interview with him as well so keep an eye out for that as well. Anyway Check out the game on Armor Games and make sure to have pleasant dreams.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org