I’ve always believed that the true measure of anything in the horror genre is sentiment. If it can make you feel an emotion you don’t usually feel, whether it’s fear, sadness, disgust, or unease, that’s how you know you’ve found a good one. In Sound Mind comes with all the elements you’d expect from a game like this, puzzles to navigate, some spooky jumps to get your heart pumping, and some good old-fashioned moves followed by a hideout. But what sets it apart is the thick, unrelenting atmosphere that consistently creates a feeling of “fake” from start to finish.
Players find themselves in the shoes of psychologist Desmond Wales who has woken up to find himself trapped in his apartment building. While exploring and searching for a way out, players will come across recorded sessions between Desmond and his patients. Each strip represents a level, and each level is themed around the deepest inner fears of its patients, who manifest as real monsters. Players will need to use different mechanics to navigate their way through each level. Each level is completely different with its distinct gameplay choices, sneaking and hiding to avoid shadows at all costs.
Although each level is self-contained, the overall narrative remains, and players will find themselves constantly moving forward in an effort to get out of the apartment with Desmond alive and figure out what’s going on. Players will also find new items as they explore, which will help them progress through the main story and unlock more areas in earlier levels. This constant back and forth through levels manages to add to the immersion and, by slowly revealing the story, never feels like a cheap way to extend playtime.
In Sound Mind breathes new life into an often outdated genre and manages to make the journey more important than the end. Unlike many other games in the genre, In Sound Mind isn’t just about staying alive, but rather overcoming your fears before they can consume you. The result is a strangely compelling and highly addictive experience.
Changing mechanics from level to level keeps the game constantly interesting
Good sound and visual design which contributes to the atmosphere of the game
Puts phycology in phycological horror
Only 10 hours into the game, I found myself wishing for more