Title: In Sound Mind
Developer: We Create Stuff
Publishers: Modus Games
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed on), Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Indie horror is an awesome genre. AAA games have to follow a lot of rules. Whereas many AAA games are designed for public consumption, indie games are created with less boundaries. If AAA horror games were a family in the suburbs, indie horror would be the crazy old man covered in deer pelts living in the middle of the woods. There’s a big wild card expectation of them. With that being said In Sound Mind from We Create Stuff and Modus Games is one of those games that feels strange, artistic and a little off the rails.
You play as Dr. Desmond Wales, a psychiatrist in Milton Haven. You wake up in the basement of your apartment complex with no recollection of how you got there. No one is around and when you look out the windows, it’s dark and the streets are flooded with water. There are barrels full of leaking purple fluid around the building and it’s fumes are harmful and strange creatures police the halls. As you make your way to your office, which happens to be in the same building, you start to find tapes from a handful of patients who have reportedly died. As you listen to a tape, you are transported inside their dark psyche’s to try and find out what is twisting their minds and what connection they might have to each other.
In Sound Mind is a strange ride and one that took a while to get into. To progress, you need to solve puzzles and this game does NOT hold your hand when it comes to puzzles. I walked around the same Halloween for a good 25 minutes before figuring out what I needed to do. Because you will be backtracking to the apartment building in between each tape, there will be new places that open up as you progress and get the tools you need to access the area. I will give you a tip…get the gun BEFORE you listen to your first OFFICIAL tape. You will listen to an intro tape but the first actual level is the grocery store and please, for the love of dogs, get that gun before then. I didn’t and it sucked. It’s possible to get the gun really early but my dumb butt didn’t completely solve the puzzle. Take my advice to heart. It will save you from a lot of deaths.
Speaking of the first tape, that is where you will get my favorite mystery mouskatool, the shard of glass. This shard isn’t your average shard, nay nay. This shard of glass can cut police tape, break boards and show you items, ghosts and hidden messages. If you are confused about your next goal, face away from where you are looking and bring the shard to your face and its reflection will show you items you need to complete tasks, messages left by the damaged psyche and the big bad his or herself. It allows for better sneaking and finding your way since there is really no guidance. The idea is so fresh and makes for a much more unsettling way around the levels. Something about this really reminds me of the Haunted Mansion game for PS2. If you have played that game and then this one, you may know what I’m talking about.
The graphics are, well, they are indie graphics, so they aren’t fantastic but for what it is, they create full and eerie environments. My favorite may be the waterlogged second psyche that you are to explore. It feels almost Lovecraftian. It’s not until really sinking into the minds of your deceased patients does the game sink its teeth into you. You can play a solid hour before it is even remotely interesting. And let me give a warning for anyone with severe motion sickness. I am one of those people. I get sick on car rides and sometimes, I get super lucky and get motion sickness with 1st person games….this was one of those games. I could only play in bursts because after an hour or two, I am trying to delve into someone’s subconscious while trying to not throw up. It can be distracting.
Intense nausea aside, I had a lot of fun playing In Sound Mind and it surprised me. Had I stopped playing when the boredom had gripped me before the first official tape, I wouldn’t have experienced how scary a grocery store could actually be. Also, if you have a fear of mannequins, have fun because there is a scary (and incredibly helpful) mannequin that may or may not follow you around. Speaking of following you around, some guy keeps calling you and berating you about your patients. He sometimes shows up to scare the hell out of you before disappearing again.
If you are looking for a fun and spooky indie title to give you the wee shivers this spooky season, there are a lot worse ways to spend a handful of hours, plus there’s a TALKING KITTY named Tonia and she deserves all the pets. The color palette of this game is gorgeous, the stories are sad, the jump scares are effective and it was just a good time…sans the incredible nausea. You can play In Sound Mind now on PC, Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X.
In Sound Mind (PS5) Score: 8
In Sound Mind is frustrating at first but will draw you in with dark themes, bright colors, engaging environments and some pretty awesome gameplay mechanics. It’s not the scariest game that will release this Halloween season, but it’s certainly a competitor.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.