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Freeware Garden: The Deepest Sleep

Pleasant dreams.

The Deepest Sleep is a first person, horror point-and-click adventure; the last installment in a trilogy of adventures involving sleeping rather deeply. Happily, never having played its two prequels didn't spoil my enjoyment. The Deepest Sleep has you diving deep into your nightmares and fighting to find a way out, while avoiding the scary creatures that want you to never wake up again.

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You'll find yourself a traveler in a dark and moody world, where the sole source of illumination is your flashlight. An old trick, but it's effective and travelling through the atmospheric, varied and pixel art-y environments feels scary and anxiety-inducing. The constantly shifting artwork feels as if a filter of television static has been applied to it and helps a lot, as does the game's ambient soundscape. You'll hear the wind blowing, things crawling through the water, floors creaking, monsters breathing and other barely audible sounds you won't be able to decipher.

Everything is surreal and disorienting, thus perfectly capturing the dreamlike texture of the setting. It's a place where you'll be expecting a jump scare around every corner. A place of dread and fear that, miraculously, is supported by its wisely thought-out puzzles.

A spooky idol and a pointer.

Starting off from the rather obvious smashing-a-vase-with-a-hammer-to-get-the-hidden-gem, the puzzles quickly escalate to the more demanding, more appropriate be-quick-in-solving-riddles-under-pressure-or-die affairs. That might be a bit frustrating but it definitely makes sense from a narrative point of view. And then you'll be tasked with moving subtly, which has been wisely translated into being forced to move the mouse cursor painfully slow while still hitting a time limit. And this really works. The puzzles aren't merely tied to the overall mood, they enhance it.

Oh, and I believe that solving one of them will result in the hanging of a clown-like person, but I can't be sure. He could have been dead already.

So, uhm, before I start spoiling everything, I suggest you go and play The Deepest Sleep. Play it in full screen with your headphones on and the lights out. And, after you are done, I suppose you could give its two prequels (Deep and Deeper Sleep) a try. They might just clear a few things up.

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