Review - The 'Deep Sleep' trilogy of on-line computer games

Jack GoblinStarred Page By Jack Goblin, 24th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2iybxlxr/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Games>Adventure

An examination of three popular on-line point and click games that tell a horror story.

Introduction

'Deep Sleep', 'Deeper Sleep', and 'Deepest Sleep', all by programmer Scriptwelder, are three on-line point and click computer games built around a horror / suspense theme. They are available to be played for free on such gaming sites as Kongregate, Armor Games, and Newgrounds, among others. Indeed, Deep Sleep won 1st prize in the tenth Casual Gameplay Design Competition, a contest sponsored by Armor Games.

What sort of games are these?

Point and click games are adventures, usually story and sequence driven, in which the scene or scenes you are shown on your screen, and the items in it, are the focus. You move about and manipulate objects in that environment by means of your computer mouse - hence, 'point' and 'click'. The challenge is to advance the story by determining what action or series of actions to take to achieve a goal.

One frequently used scenario, for instance, is that you are in a locked room or series of rooms, and you have to search through the furnishings and fixtures, examine the items you find, and figure out how to use them and combine them to escape. That may sound trite; but if the challenges involved include solving mathematical puzzles, discovering and opening secret panels, and unraveling problems that the game designer spent a great deal of time devising, such an escape can be a serious exercise in discernment and thoughtful analysis.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto...

Point and click games can also be extremely atmospheric; and such is the case with Deep Sleep. As noted, it is a horror / suspense story, and the instructions suggest you enhance the experience by turning off the lights so you're playing in gloom, and listening to the game via earphones to get the full benefit of the creepy sound effects.

The game also starts out with the brightness of the screen turned down, so beyond the range of a flashlight's circle or what you are immediately focused on, there's mainly just shadow. This increases the unease you feel as you explore the Dream World, but can lead to you missing interesting and even essential details. Fortunately there are game controls available that will enable you to turn the brightness up, if you wish, so you can see everything plainly.

Which might be advisable on aesthetic grounds, as was as for game play. The graphics in the Deep Sleep series are pixel art, limited... but effective. Game creator Scriptwelder has used that pixel art to create an intriguing world: Lighthouses and fog shrouded wells, rooms that look as if no one has been in them for decades, bizarre, surreal landscapes. As to the games themselves...

To sleep, perchance to dream.

The first game, Deep Sleep, starts out with you the narrator moving about your home and musing that you've always been interested in the phenomena known as Lucid Dreaming: Having a dream, knowing you're dreaming, and being able to semi-control how the dream unfolds. When the walls of your bedroom suddenly disappear, revealing an alien world, you realize you're not awake, you're having a Lucid Dream!

But while exploring mysterious passageways and odd rooms is fun, it soon becomes clear something is wrong here. You get momentary glimpses of dark figures that disappear before you can do anything. There seem to be odd obstructions and problems you have to circumvent or solve. And you find notes scattered about that speak of creatures that inhabit the world of dreams and seek to escape by taking over the bodies of certain humans that come there. Humans in a coma, for instance. Or those having Lucid Dreams.

Soon you are attempting to find a way out of your own dream, desperate to escape humanoid beings that look like darkness personified. Who are hunting you...

In the next game, Deeper Sleep, the events of Deep Sleep weigh heavily on you. Were they real, or did you simply have a very realistic nightmare? In seeking to find out you somehow enter the Dream World once more; and this time things are much more serious. You find you can't wake up, for one thing.

A mysterious figure who you encounter explains the dream creatures are furious you escaped them before, and this time they've sealed all the routes out of Dream World they know of and intend to finish what they started. Your only hope is to search through the rooms and strange landscapes of your dream to find a way to the lowest levels of the Dream World, where the dream creatures fear to go. Free of them, perhaps you can discover a way out they don't know of. If you live long enough to succeed.

Deepest Sleep is the third and last part of the series, and it's the most fearful. You've reached the lowest part of your dream, a level of death traps and horrible monsters drawn by sound and sudden movement. The rooms and passages are the strangest yet as you try to find a way out of the Dream World; and you can only hope, if you do, that it is not too late...

The quality and playability of these games have made them fan favorites. The puzzles are logical and reasonable, the action smooth, and the story is coherent and intriguing: What ARE these dream creatures, and can you escape them? If you can't, or can not get away from any of the other menaces in the game, fortunately death is not the end; you get to restart game action slightly before whatever happened that killed you, and try again.

Which certainly is dream-like.


Media Source: Wikimedia Commons

Tags

Computr Games, Deep Sleep, Entertainment, Horror Suspense, Lucid Dreaming, Scriptwelder

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author avatar Jack Goblin
Was born. Haven't died yet. Don't intend to anytime soon.

Thank you much for reading my articles. I hope they brought you pleasure and enlightenment. :)

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