Rectify Gaming

Review: In Sound Mind


  • 8/10
    Total Score: - 8/10
8/10

Summary

If you are looking for a psychological horror game with creepy Twin Peaks and X-Files vibes, I would definitely consider giving In Sound Mind a chance!

Developer – We Create Stuff

Publisher – Modus Games

Platforms – Xbox Series X/S, Playstation 5, Switch, PC (Reviewed)

Can you survive the horror?

Every so often a game will come around that I don’t want to stop playing until the end. Typically, I have no problem switching between a couple games every few hours or days as I get my fill of it and need to play something else. In Sound Mind is one of those games that got me invested right from the start and I couldn’t put it down until I figured out what was happening in the small town of Milton Haven.

You are Desmond Wales, a therapist whose patients are having mental crises and in some cases dying. You start the game by waking up in a dark basement floor of an apartment building that seems to be a manifestation of your mind. In this building, a few of the doors in the apartment building are actually gateways to the homes of your patients like Virginia, Allen, Max, and Lucas. As you enter their homes you are able to find a tape of their therapy sessions with you. When you bring these tapes back to your office, you can turn back time and experience their breaking points. These tapes become levels in which you try to figure out what has happened to your patients. As you progress, you end up discovering that your patients actually are linked in a way that you never imagined.

Each area, including the apartment building, have secret areas and have interesting puzzles that must be solved in order to fully explore and understand each character’s motivations and emotions. There is a nice variety of puzzles that involve using several tools that you unlock through the playthrough. As you unlock these tools more of the apartment building opens and you can reach new locations. A few examples of these tools are a shard of a mirror, which you can use to see hidden notes and objects, and a flare gun that allows you to pass thick shadows.

Once you reach the end of these areas, there are boss fights which involve using the items you have unlocked to solve these battles which are mostly puzzle based fights. While there are weapons such as pistols and shotguns, they are mostly used to destroy lesser enemies. These enemies have weak points, such as shooting the glowing light on their head for a quick kill. The boss fights are usually fast paced and there is plenty of action to balance out the searching and navigation portions of the adventure. The puzzles remind me of Resident Evil, such as collecting medallions to put into a lock, or twisting valves so fluid will come out the other side of a pipe. Most are simple but some can provide a decent challenge.

There are plenty of notes to provide lore and items scattered around the levels such as healing items, ammunition, and pills. These pills are used to permanently increase certain passive stats like how stealthy you are and your max health. I found it fun to search high and low for all the pills in each level and quite a few of them are well hidden and require the use of your tools to find them.

The game’s environments are really well done. You will investigate different locales such as a lighthouse, a quarry, and a factory to name a few. These levels take about 2-3 hours to fully search and unlock all the secrets. The best way I could describe the story without spoiling anything is to say it’s as if David Lynch filmed an episode of X-Files. Plenty of conspiracy and paranormal events fill the 10-13 hour playthrough. There are also a lot of dark ideas that are explored in “In Sound Mind” such as suicide, PTSD, and domestic violence. I didn’t feel as if they were portrayed in a joking way and that these elements were treated with respect and not taken lightly.

One of my favorite aspects of the game was that after each level, you can go back to the room of the patient and try to find their secret vinyl album. If you find the album, you can take it back to your office and listen to it on your record player. Each song is sung by the patient and gives a retelling of their story. Each of the songs were really well done and it added an element of sadness on top of their already sad story. All together, the music fit the game perfectly as well, not just with these musical selections.

There is a lot to like about In Sound Mind! When thinking back on my experience with the game I would say that the downsides are relatively few. Some of the levels felt like they dragged on and sometimes secrets would be obvious but getting access to them took measures that felt unnecessary. For instance, I could have sworn I knew the way to unlock a secret and it made logical sense but executing it wouldn’t work. Also there were some elements of platforming which people may have an issue with since the game is in first person.

Overall, In Sound Mind is a gem. If you are looking for a psychological horror game with creepy Twin Peaks and X-Files vibes then I would definitely consider giving In Sound Mind a chance! You can even download the demo to get a feel for the game as well which is great if you are on the fence. You won’t be disappointed!

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