As children, many of us may have loved the movie Toy Story. Who wouldn’t want their favorite Barbie or lovable stuffed animal to come to life and play with them? Well, in Bedtime Blues, your teddy bear comes to life! The only problem? He wants to kill you. And he will stop at nothing to do it.

The first person pixelated horror game, which was released only four days ago, has already made itch.io’s list of Latest Featured Games, and has a few playthroughs on YouTube. Although the game is still in development, the story goes like this: you’re a kid who is turning five years old. In your family, there is a set of toys passed down through the generations, which are bestowed upon each child once they reach the age of five. As you start the first chapter, your dad makes a comment about how “these dummies” used to get him in trouble when he was young. He was actually going to be the one to break the tradition, but your dying grandfather urged him to carry it on – so now you’re stuck with Teddy. Gee, thanks Dad. And Grandpa, for that matter. I guess they really don’t care about a child’s safety.

The Good

Easy to play – The gameplay is similar to that of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4. You play as a child, and your only defense is a flashlight. If Teddy opens your window, crawls under your bed, or appears in your bedroom doorway, you have to shine the light at him to get him to go away. If Teddy appears on the bed next to you, you have to close your eyes. Once Teddy is gone, you have to sleep. Your goal is to fill up your sleep meter and completely fall asleep. The gameplay as a whole isn’t super challenging – unlike the FNAF series, where you’re working with limited resources, Bedtime Blues gives you the ability to recharge your flashlight. As the game progressed, I got the hang of it easily.

Creepy environment – Bedtime Blues relies on jumpscares as well as the creepiness of its environment to terrify the player. The pixelated graphics give you a sense of being trapped in a disturbing nightmare, and the lighting works to play tricks on you. I would honestly say that the graphics scared me more than the teddy bear jumpscares. I thought that another stuffed animal sitting in the corner was staring at me with glowing yellow eyes, but when I turned to face him, the glow was gone. Whether that was actually happening or the game was playing tricks on me, I don’t know, but it sent chills down my spine at the thought of another unknown threat watching me.

The Bad

Mechanics that don’t make sense – I honestly don’t understand the purpose of some game mechanics. For example, I don’t know the point of the blue meter next to the yellow one, which indicates how low your flashlight batteries are. My blue bar ran out completely at one point, but it didn’t result in an instant game over. I panicked when I saw it empty, but I was able to finish out the rest of the night with no problems. Confused, I clicked back to the first chapter, which includes the game’s instructions. I learned that the blue bar serves the same purpose as the yellow. The only difference is that, for some reason, when you’re under the bed and need to recharge, the blue bar comes into play. I don’t quite understand why this is the case. It’s not like there are two separate flashlights, one for above the bed and one for below. There’s just the one flashlight, so there should just be one bar for the flashlight battery. 

Too Much Like FNAF 4 – Bedtime Blues does little to distinguish itself from games like FNAF 4 and similar titles such as Try To Fall Asleep and Boogeyman in terms of its concept. Aside from Teddy and the cool graphics, the rest of the game is unimaginative.

Preliminary Thoughts

I think that HannMadeStudios is really going to have to incorporate some other mechanics or something else to avoid making another FNAF 4 clone. Don’t get me wrong, Bedtime Blues is a lot of fun and has its scary moments, but I want to see the developer change up the mechanics a bit.

In regards to the game’s story, there are a lot of intriguing mysteries. For example, the whereabouts of your brother. His bed is empty, and from the size of the bed, he might have been the same age as you. I’m also curious to know if there will be more toys added to the game, since your dad mentions “dummies” in the opening chapter. And, of course, I want to figure out and understand Teddy’s motives for murder.  

Currently, only the alpha demo, which includes the first three chapters of the game, is playable for PC. You can get it for free on itch.io now. The developer, HannMadeStudios, plans to release the full game sometime this year.