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February 11, 2022

In Sound Mind - Neon Colored Nightmares > NAG

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a deep love for all things that dare to go bump in the night. From growing up in the town of Silent Hill to spending many a Valentine playing Layers of Fear or The Evil Within, horror has always been and will continue to be my favorite genre of media and my go-to when I want to forget about the real world for a little while.

One of the biggest issues with being a horror fan is how saturated the genre is with cheap and crappy cash grabs that you need to navigate to find the buried treasures between. In Sound Mind is one of those gems. For those of you looking for an immersive, first-person psychological horror that isn't afraid to dive into the fear of the unknown, In Sound Mind is what you've been waiting for.

I've always believed the true measure of anything in the horror genre is feeling. If it can make you feel an emotion you usually wouldn't, be it 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 would expect from a game like it, puzzles to navigate, a few jump scares to get the heart pumping and some good old fashioned sneaking followed by hiding. But what makes it stand out is the thick, unrelenting atmosphere that constantly creates a feeling of “wrongness” from beginning to end.

Players find themselves in the shoes of psychologist Desmond Wales, who has woken up only to find himself trapped within his apartment building. While exploring and looking for a way out, players will come across taped sessions between Desmond and his patients. Each tape represents a level, and each level is themed around his patients deepest inner fears, which manifest themselves as actual monsters. Players will have to utilize different mechanics to make their way through each level. Each level feels completely different with its distinct gameplay choices, from sneaking and hiding to avoiding shadows at all costs.

While each level stands alone, the overall narrative remains, and players will find themselves constantly pushing forward with the goal of making it out of the apartment with Desmond alive and understanding what's going on. Players will also find new items as they explore, which will help them progress in the main story and further unlock areas in past levels. This constant backing-and-forthing through levels manages to add to the immersion and, by slowly revealing the story, never feels like a cheap way to extend playtime.

In SoundMind

BOTTOM LINE

In Sound Mind breathes new life into an often stale genre and manages to make the journey feel more important than the end. Unlike many other games in the genre, In Sound Mind isn't just about staying alive but rather about overcoming your fears before they can consume you. The result is an oddly compelling and highly addictive experience.

PROS

The change in mechanics level to level makes the game constantly interesting

Good sound and visual design that help with the atmosphere of the game

Puts the phycology in phycological horror

CONS

At only 10 hours of gameplay I found myself wishing for more

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