Asleep - Ato 1

Review

You wake up alone in a bedroom. You get up and walk out the door. Everything and everyone looks unfamiliar to you. You can’t remember where you are. You’re scared, and your anxiety is rising. Is this even real?

Asleep is a psychological horror indie game. There are plans for four chapters, but there is no set date at the moment. It has been developed by Black Hole Games and published by Nuuvem.

Asleep is set in the Brazilian Northeast of the 90s. You play as Ana Lucia, a young girl plagued by nightmares. You first wake up in an unknown bedroom, so you get up and start exploring your surroundings. You’re confused and everything feels strange. Eventually you come across a woman who asks you to find her little girl. The only place you feel safe is the bedroom, but you’ll have to gather your courage and step out of the house. While you wander around the town, you’ll meet some terrifying monsters, and all you have as protection is your old flashlight. A main part of the game is about unravelling this mystery, so if you want to know what happened to Ana you’ll have to play and find out for yourself...



Many important themes are brought up in Asleep: anxiety, nightmares, and even insanity. The storyline that has been constructed around these themes is very engaging. You never quite know if what you see is reality or your imagination. Even though this is only act one, it is still a self contained story in its own right. The developer has succeeded in creating a sinister atmosphere. The game doesn’t hand you the storyline, but it lets you discover it through collecting messages and drawings as you play. 

I played with a keyboard/mouse combo, but you could also use a controller; they both work equally well. The gameplay is relatively simple - a point & click mechanic for the most part. Walking and running uses WASD keys. The items that you can interact with will sparkle slightly. I love the combination between the more traditional point & click gameplay with horror; it works well together. There are light puzzles, mostly lock and key. The main objective of the game is to find the little girl. The whole map thus becomes a big maze. It’s nothing too complicated, but it does add some depth. The horror elements come mostly from the environment and some monsters. There is also a psychological component with Ana Lucia’s internal struggles.

Asleep is visually very beautiful. The game is done in a 2D pixelated style while the cutscenes are animated in a more realistic style. I love the art style, especially the cutscenes. Although they are scattered, I found them to be one of this game’s best features. The dark colour scheme of mainly blacks and purples fits perfectly with the horror theme. The music and sound effects add another layer that helps to create a great horror experience. The voice acting is also spot on. It sounds professionally recorded.

The area covered in the game is of good size. What I didn’t like is that although the town is of a fair size, the map still feels empty. There are a lot of doors and entrances in the town, but unfortunately most of them are not available to enter. Only a couple of story-related areas are accessible. It does feel like the developer tried to make the town feel bigger than it in fact is. Another design choice I found perplexing is the singular save file. In this type of game you’ll want to reload a previous save when you die so you don’t have to restart. It’s usually nice to have at least the possibility of two. For some reason, the map only shows up in Spanish even though my language was set to English. It didn’t stop me from playing the game, but it would have been nice to have it in English.

All of these are smaller issues, but there is one bigger flaw that I came across while playing. I didn’t finish the first puzzle in time (which was to unlock a door) so the monster unlocked and started attacking me. This shouldn’t normally be a problem as I should be able to restart at the same spot and complete this puzzle. If there had been more than one save, I could have reloaded a previous one. After dying, I tried to return and complete this puzzle. The problem is that when I attempted to do this, the monster was already unlocked and wouldn’t even let me get to this door without killing me. This door is important in the game because you have to go through it to progress. I had to uninstall, delete the data and reinstall the game to solve this issue. It has just released so I hope that those issues will be fixed, but it might deter some players from enjoying their playthrough in the meantime.

Asleep is a visually outstanding game that offers a spine-chilling retro atmosphere which will keep you on your toes. The pixelated atwork is perfectly suited to the 90s vibe the creator was going for. The gameplay is simple yet engaging. It is not very long, most players should finish it in 2 to 3 hours. I would definitely recommend the first act of Asleep to point & click and light horror fans, provided that the issues are solved.

Review written by VEE for Zeepond.com

Asleep - Ato 1 Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Impressive artwork
+ A mystery to unravel
+ Interesting sinister atmosphere

Negatives

- Map feels a bit empty
- Very short
- Some fixes are needed

Review Summary

Asleep-Act One is a compelling first entry. The stunning visuals, mysterious storyline and sinister atmosphere all work together to create an engaging experience.

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Zeepond Rating: 6/10

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