If 20th century surrealists made a video game, it might look a lot like 'Back to Bed.'
Surrealism and somnambulism are the themes behind a new video game inspired, in part, by the topsy-turvy aesthetics of Dutch artist M.C. Escher, and the unique stylings of modern masters Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. A major hallmark of surrealism has always been the blurring of the lines between dreams and reality, and bridging the divide between the unconscious and conscious. In this way, Back to Bed serves as a fully-immersive platformer in which you don't just study, read, or admire surrealism, but actually get to experience it in action.
Back to Bed features a narcoleptic protagonist named Bob who blindly navigates a world of increasingly elusive portals, stairways, and tessellated planes. In his quest to get safely back to bed, Bob is aided by his subconscious, represented by a small quasi-guide dog named Subob who employs a giant green apple to prevent Bob from free-falling into infinity. Together, they meander among innocuous flying bowler hats, frenetic and dangerous walking clocks, and giant air-blowing lips, among other curious, strange, and often impossible objects.
The game began as a project in 2011 by students at the Danish Academy for Digital Interactive Entertainment (DADIU). The students successfully created a version of the game as part of their studies. After graduating, Jonas Byrresen and Klaus Pedersen decided they wanted to continue building and designing the game, so they formed Bedtime Digital Games to fully realize the dreamlike puzzle game with whimsical design elements that test logical skills as well as creative thinking.
Back to Bed became available in 2014 on Steam, iOS, and Android after a successful Kickstarter campaign, but it wasn't long before Southern California-based indie game publisher and interactive entertainment developer LOOT Interactive helped expand it into a console version to help players truly appreciate the meticulous design that's gone into it.
The console version of Back to Bed debuted at this year's E3 and has just been released for the PlayStation 3 and 4, plus Vita. It has been remastered to 1080p and 60fps and features 30 levels, as well as a "nightmare mode" for those who can actually finish the game and move beyond the already practically impossible levels.
Admittedly, there's a mounting frustration as each level becomes increasingly complex, demanding faster and more sophisticated problem-solving skills. But in the end, it's all mitigated by the chance to just explore a beautiful world where nothing makes sense—and it's not supposed to.
Click here to visit Back to Bed's website.