Sleepwalking can be dangerous. It can result in people exiting their homes in the middle of the night and falling off a ledge. Back to Bed by Bedtime Digital Games plays on such fears by introducing us to Bob the sleepwalker and his subconscious guardian named Subob - a four legged creature that must guide him safely back to bed each night.
Originally released on computer and mobile in 2014, and PSN in 2015, the 3D puzzle game featuring isometric challenges has finally made its way across to the Wii U eShop. The only noticeable difference in this latest version of Back to Bed is the ability to play the game on the Wii U GamePad. The controller's screen mirrors the television. With the player taking control of Subob, you are required to safely navigate Bob from point A to B by moving the objects around him - to begin with, giant green apples that stop him from falling off a ledge or making contact with other dangers.
Each stage in Back to Bed can take a few seconds to a few minutes to complete. The nature of the gameplay is rather simple and the difficulty of each puzzle gradually increases as you progress. You start out having to simply relocate a few objects to stop Bob walking off a ledge, and over time more elements are thrown into the mix. These can include mobile clocks that will wake up Bob if he makes contact with them, isometric flooring - making it harder for Subob to move about, and paintings that transport both characters from one side of a level to another.
One other noteworthy rule is that Bob can only turn clockwise when he makes contact with a blockade in front of him, such as a chimney. This means a lot of the puzzles require a bit of pre-planning in order to succeed. To further complicate matters, there are nightmare variations of both worlds (Rooftop and Harbour), which raise the difficulty of the puzzle solving. With all of this in consideration, a lot of the puzzles are likely to take multiple attempts to solve.
The 3D graphics in the Wii U version of Back to Bed are a little rough around the edges. Despite this, the art style and sound effects fit perfectly with the dream sequences presented throughout the game. The title makes use of surreal art with melting clocks, flying hats with wings, paintings hanging on walls and even a slow-talking narrator that will make you feel like you're in a famous dream sequence from Twin Peaks. The cutscenes and levels also include hand-painted effects and the use of impossible shapes; the music supports the visual choices, adding a sense of mystery. All of this combined works well given the main theme.
As simple as Back to Bed may seem, it's a satisfying puzzle game. Bob's dream sequences further enhance the experience with the inclusion of an appropriately fitting surreal art style. If you're in the mood for a fun and functional puzzle game, maybe consider this one.