Smart and spooky
In Sound Mind is about a psychologist named Desmond Wales and his apparent mental breakdown. This preview is going to be about me and my mental breakdown trying to play through the opening hour of the game. Honestly, by the time I noped out of it, my body was aching from being tensed up for so long.
Walking through an abandoned supermarket where something horrific had happened in the past, I happened upon a great big mirror in one of the isles so with nothing else on the agenda, I walked towards it. I wish I hadn’t.
Looking at the mirror I could see something purple glowing far behind me, and then it sped up and crashed through the mirror, smashing it to pieces. The goosebumps were back again… But now I had a mirror – a sharp object!
Elsewhere in the game, I’d come across some barriers that I couldn’t get through because their either needed to be broken or cut. Desmond can’t seem to bring himself to just pull down the police tape or kick the weak-looking wooden beams. That’s fine. It’s a video game, I get it. But I did waste a lot of time looking for a sharp object where there wasn’t one…
Using the mirror in the supermarket I could cut down the police tape and move through to different areas of the store and solve more of the game’s simple, but clever puzzles. I could also hold the mirror up to look behind me. I tried it out and… I wish I hadn’t.
In Sound Mind doesn’t seem to be big on the jump scares – I didn’t come across any with the preview demo. Instead, it pokes your brain with creepy imagery, and it kind of reminded me of another great horror game I’ve played this year, In Rays of the Light.
Holding up the mirror, I could see the fuzzy outlines of something or someone. There were a few, actually, and I wondered if it could be the store’s display mannequins I’d walked past earlier. I could also read – and I kid you not, I’m getting goose pimples on my arms and legs just writing this – the desperate pleas of the spirit woman on the store’s display units.
This is the kind of horror I enjoy – the stuff that creeps in on you rather than being smashed into your face. It takes skill to pull off this style of horror and I’m confident that the developer has done a great job, at least from what I’ve seen so far.
Desmond seems to be losing his mind a little. The game begins with you in a residential building where Desmond lives and works. His home and his office are on the top floor but it took some puzzle solving to get there. Not much, mind you, but a little. The puzzles were guided and I felt like the game wanted me to progress rather than get stuck trying to figure something out.
Demond’s patients are also victims, but are they his victims? Or is Desmond somehow their victim? I don’t know. The small taste of the game that I’ve had throws up many questions. Why is the building dilapidated? Who is the creepy guy on the phone? Is this all a dream? A nightmare? A coma? Desmond’s dying moments after putting a pistol to his temple? I don’t know, but I really want to know. But I also want to go through the game with my partner on the sofa so I’m not sat at my desk having to go it alone. I’ll leave the rest for the full release in September.
In Sound Mind releases September 28th, 2021 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Disclaimer: This preview was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher.