According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will battle a mental disorder in their lifetime. In the US alone, 3 million of those people will be afflicted with anxiety disorder annually. This illness affects each individual differently; for some, it’s just an uncomfortable feeling during certain events or activities, but for others it’s a crippling fear that makes day to day life unbearable. Either of the scenarios can be brought on by deep seeded trauma that the brain suppresses by blocking out the memory from the subject’s mind. In Nevermind, you’ll take on the role of a doctor that has a device that will allow you to jump inside of patients’ memories and uncover the repressed memory preventing them from moving on with their lives.
The game will have you jump into the memories of 5 different subjects, each of whom suffer from various fears that were brought on by past trauma, some of which are coupled with other more prevalent mental disorders. The memories that you will explore are highly detailed mixtures of how they thought the situations played out, mixed with more nightmarish thoughts of how or what caused the memory to be blocked. You’ll need to find a total of 10 photos in each memory, and at their conclusion you’ll piece together what was real, what was imagined, and what order the events occurred in. Along the way you will be tasked with completing some puzzles, which for the most part will simply involve moving or rearranging items in the game world. While they are simplistic in nature, these are well thought out and do occasionally require the player to think outside of the box. The only exception to this is the final puzzle of the game, which requires you to match defaced photos in a specific pattern, which I found to be a bit difficult.
The title’s distorted visuals are a high point with its dream state meets nightmare presentation. Many of the environments will twist and distort right in front of your eyes, akin to Layers of Fear, but typically in a much more severe way, almost appearing as an area ripped from Silent Hill. While Nevermind is not an outright horror title, many of the images will haunt you for days after completing the game. The room full of distorted, screaming faces, or the pews lined with rows upon rows of macabre faces that follow you as you navigate the room were much more disturbing than the jump scares that pop up here and there. This game can be played on PC or VR using a heart rate monitor which is supposed to increase or decrease the tension experienced throughout the title utilizing biofeedback. Sadly, I played the version on Xbox One which does not offer these options, so I didn’t get to experience this. Having spent a few hours with the version absent of this feature, I can imagine that this would make it a much tenser affair.
Navigation within the world is very accessible, as the controls are extremely basic. You’ll only use a handful of the buttons on a standard gamepad, with the only issue being the movement speed, which runs at a turtle’s pace. While you can take as much time as you want to explore the areas and are not facing any sort of timer, there are occasional areas that can “kill” you if timed incorrectly. Death does not carry much of a penalty outside of warping you to the beginning of the area with your progress intact, but you will get tired of slowly walking back to your destination if death occurs too often.
The title does lack replay options, offering only 5 patients to interact with and a handful of more relaxing areas to explore if you so choose. Despite being able to revisit each level to view additional memories which are only available once you complete the levels, these can be viewed from the main terminal in your office after the fact and provide some additional backstory as well as additional achievements for those that care. That being said, completionists will have to complete each level twice to net a 100%.
With so many walking sims in the vein of Nevermind on the market, few offer the insight into real disorders like this. Despite its few shortcomings, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone looking for a good, not so threatening option in the horror genre, or to maybe gain some insight into what it is like to suffer from anxiety.
8 out of 10
- Interesting Puzzles
- Haunting Visuals
- A Bit Short
- Extremely Slow Movement Speed
Nevermind was developed and published by Flying Mollusk. It launched on PC and XB1 January 11th, 2017 for $19.99 The game was not provided to us for review on XB1. For more on Nevermind, check out the game’s official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.