Sleepy - Box-balance physics you could set your sleep-cycle to.
As a fervent supporter of any game which contains vast quantities of unnecessary explosions, firearms and swathes of generic, expendable enemies being mown down by moderate to heavy machinegun fire, I looked upon the title ‘Sleepy’ with enough doubt to make me physically rub my own chin with negative anticipation. When looking for any game to hit the entertainment spot, I rarely choose one that sounds as if it would invoke feelings of tiredness or a title which implies that a dream-like state may be induced upon playing. With my eyes already heavy with anticipation of imminent slumber, I loaded up the game and began to play. The resulting experience I had of the game can only be described as counterintuitive to expectations.
In a considerable deviation from my initial expectations, ‘Sleepy’ turned out to be a very simple physics game with pleasant point-and-click functionality and relative ease of play. The premise of the game is extremely straightforward and undemanding to anyone who may wish to play it: You are presented with a basic two-dimensional outdoor landscape onto which many small squares are dropped, and it appears to be your job to eliminate them in their entirety in order to pass through to the next level.
For reasons unbeknownst to me or to deductive reasoning in general, the boxes are both alive and in a state of comfortable slumber as they balance precariously on and around one another. The challenge is to selectively click on the boxes one by one without waking them from their dreams of one day existing in three dimensions and being able to act as a convenient packaging and storage solution for a variety of objects. It is as simple as pointing and clicking on the squares of your choice in order to reduce the number of boxes on the level down to zero.
To add to the challenge of the game, the choice of box colour that you are able to eliminate is limited to two at any one time; these colours are dictated to you by the game itself and change accordingly with every box you remove, making it essential to be discerning when selecting which box to eliminate next. This also means that you can’t simply go for what looks to be the easiest box to remove on each turn, which is a technique that often escalates a casual game of Jenga into the unbearable construction of a dangerous, teetering tower whose imminent collapse keeps everyone on edge.
The difficulty of the game increases with each level; the boxes that drop each time are higher in number and are more precarious in placement than the previous stage. Having to remove the only blue box which appears to be propping up the remaining boxes above it for example can prove to be somewhat challenging, making it essential to select your colours carefully when progressing through the levels. Removing the least-risky culprits early on when possible and attempting to leave the load-bearing offenders until the last minute seems to be the key to success in this game.
Having the boxes possess a consciousness and the ability to sleep is not simply an aesthetic quirk of the game, however. Should you disturb a box enough to wake it up, your health bar decreases slowly until such a time that the box should drift back into its sleeping state. You will find that if you disturb enough boxes at any one time, your health will deplete so rapidly that failing the stage is inevitable and you must restart the level as a result of your breakdown in dismantling technique. The differing states of consciousness shown by the boxes therefore merely act as an indicator for your progress throughout the level and should function as a system of measurement for how steadily you are managing to remove each box.
The only aspect of the game that even came close to my initial imagining of it as a sleep-inducer is its soundtrack, which is a loop –track consisting of a light and extremely inoffensive combination of strings and xylophone music, presumably to reflect the docile state of utter contentment being experienced by the many squares which are inexplicably able to sleep without issue; a state which I as a human - who may I add is biologically programmed to be able to fall asleep (unlike your average quadrilateral) - consistently fail to achieve.
‘Sleepy’ is not a game of great depth or longevity, but when it comes down to it, it simply isn’t meant to be. From the outset it is clear that the game’s intent is to provide a fast piece of easy-to-play entertainment, offering fifteen levels of physics-dependant square-elimination fun at low, low prices (completely free) and with minimal requirement for the player to invest any more than a little time and effort into it. I heartily enjoyed working my way through the levels (fifteen is plenty), having any excess stress relieved along the way, courtesy of the pleasant and delicate bedtime music. Play for a quick, cheap thrill or lightly tip-toe your way through each of the increasingly difficult and precariously-balanced stages; it’s really no concern of mine, since I am simply too relaxed from the gaming experience to care.