Gentlepeople of the internet, welcome to Back to Bed, developed by the appropriately-named Bedtime Digital Games, who also published the unique title, Chronology.
Unleashed upon the world on the sixth of august, 2014, Back to Bed is a psychedelic, but simple puzzle game.
Reviews on steam are Very Positive, based on the 287 reviews at this time- however, it only rated an okay 57 on Metacritic-but then again it has won the Independent Games Festival Student Showcase, the Guts and Glory award for 2012, the Kill Screen Playlist Selection, the Indie Prize Europe 2014 Best Console Game Nomination, and was an award finalist at the 2012 unity awards, and a finalist for the Nordic Game Indie Night 2012.
Back to bed is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, SteamOS, Linux, the Playstation 3, 4, and Vita, iPhone, iPad, Android, Wii U, and even the Ouya. That’s a wide variety; the same can be said for it’s languages, as it supports 10; while again, only English gets Interface, Full Audio and Subtitles, ten others, those being French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian, and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, get Interface and Subtitles.
Any machine of modern computing can run this game. For those like me who like numbers, that’s any CPU higher than 1.8 Ghz, any RAM greater than 2 GB, and it requires only 600 MB of space.
The word ‘story’ is barely applicable to this unique experience, but there kinda is one. Bob is a narcoleptic- which is cool to see in a game, by the way- who often falls asleep at work and unfortunately sleepwalks. It’s the player’s job, as his unconscious guardian named Subob, to protect him and direct him to bed through his dreamscape- hence the title.
The only two real characters are the silent (unless you count screaming) Narcoleptic Bob and his dreamscape guardian and Silent Player Avatar, Subob. Bob has the same great art style as the whole game, but nothing particularly unique in his design or voice. Subob, however. Oh, boy. Strange, but kinda interesting. Comfortably strange. There is also a strange… Narrator? Their lines sound like they’re random sounds spoken backwards to form words, and what he says is random- sometimes actual important details, such as the fact that Bob turns clockwise, or sometimes random things like ‘the apple is a hat’. The narrator practically is the mystery of this game.
The HUD is incredibly simple. It allows you to speed up time or pause. That’s it.
The puzzle concept is simple. Bob moves of his own accord, and turns clockwise whenever he meets an obstruction. We, as Subob, can put objects- such as supersized apples- in bob’s path to make him do this.
The game has a nice difficulty curve to it- there’s always a trick to the level, but it is never overly complex.
The game’s levels themselves are rewarding to look at, passing one reveals the next, and hence, the reward for the puzzle is more puzzles. The game also sports a nice set of achievements for an extra kick.
The game has no tension. If bob ‘dies’, he merely returns to his starting position. But a game like this doesn’t need tension- the atmosphere of these Dreamscapes is usually rather peaceful, if not a little odd.
The environments… Oh, the environments.
The music, despite all the oddity, is actually gloriously calm- the mind is, after all, a mostly tranquil place.
I think it fits, anyway.
Even more glorious than this is the musical effects. Every time Bob steps, it sounds like he’s stepping in Water. Every time Subob steps, it sounds like a pen scribble. This really enforces the difference between the two and the strange nature of this world in general.
The atmosphere of this game is bluntly phenomenal. It feels like the Dreamscape it is, not some blank voids like some movie, nor as …realistic? As some novels can portray them. This is a strange, fantasy realm of the thought, where the only limits are defined by the base nature of the subconscious.
This is a great game. I was hooked from the start, and it just didn’t let go.
Anyone can enjoy this game. In fact, everyone should enjoy this game. I practically insist. Unless you don’t like mind games or have issues with this sort of material. That’s cool too.
Okay, so that was my second review.
I’d like to ask you guys to sleepwalk your way into following me. Also, be aware that I have an Email address. If you want to help out, you can send me stuff. I will credit you fully if I use it. Said Email Address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is Voltatilis, and I’ll see you next week for the next review.