I’ve never been a sleepwalker, and the Escher style world Back to Bed is based in makes me thankful for this. Taking the form of a puzzle game you are tasked with leading a sleepwalking Bob back to his bed.
It’s likely the first thing you’ll notice about Back to Bed is the art style and overall presentation. Looking like a bastard love child of Mc Escher and Salvador Dali on a day trip to Belgium this has a very distinctive look. During your time with the game you’ll experience whale trains, flying chess pieces and a dog with a human face. The presentation extends to the use of sound effects and voice over, with a gloriously laconic narrator providing you with pearls of wisdom. The controller mic also gets an outing on the PS4 with some great incidental effects.
This is not a big game and you will happily breeze through the normal level sets within a couple of hours. These levels are then remixed into a nightmare mode, but are still fundamentally the same levels. It’s a pretty damming indictment to say that despite the short running time of this game I found myself getting bored pretty quickly. The main reason for this is the lack of any real challenge offered. Within the game death isn’t really punished, should Bob fall off the map he simply returns to the start again. Many of the puzzles are easy to complete, and it’s only on the latter part of the game that any challenge presents itself, and even these levels fall pretty quickly. Decent presentation does not a great game make.
The game sees you guiding Bob to his bed so he can sleep in peace. Bob constantly walks forward and when he hits a wall will turn clockwise. As his trusty companion dog you are able to place obstacles in his way in order to direct his travel. And that’s it. This is a really simple mechanic to build an entire game around. I’ve played this kind of puzzle loads of times before, but generally as a part of larger game. Have you ever played that puzzle with the lasers where you have to move mirrors to reflect the beam, yeah you know, the one that is in every game ever? Well if you have you’ve pretty much played Back to Bed.
This is an extremely throwaway game, the fact it is available on mobile platforms may give you some understanding what this means. It’s a game which can be picked up and dropped within moments, one that demands no emotional connection with the player and one which relies on its brevity and art style to draw you back. There are some significantly better puzzle games out on the Playstation consoles, and it’s hard for me to recommend this as anything other than a curiosity.