In Sound Mind is one of the best, rich storytelling psychological horror games I have played in truly a long time – and that is a lot coming from me. Seriously, it’s up there in my top 5 without a doubt! You play as Desmond Wales, a well-accomplished therapist who wakes up in his apartment realising the world around him is flooded and that he is trapped in some weird reality, with his cat as his only guide. You are tasked to find the tapes from your recent patients, who have either disappeared or are now deceased, in an attempt to make sense of what’s happening while trying to hold onto your own sanity.
The game has puzzles, great boss fights, and not to mention original music by The Living Tombstone! Right off the bat, the first patient tape you get really has you questioning if all this is just in your head. Each patient has a monster inside them that you need to face and you’ll have to travel to different realms (periods? aspects?) of their lives. The deeper you go, the more interesting it is and the clearer the connection for each patient gets, and you begin to understand why you are here.
The storytelling is fantastic. I was really blown away by each tape. The dialogue is well-written and acted and is fraught with genuine emotion. The music enhances the atmosphere and blends with the dialogue quite well. There’s a lot of places to explore and when you do revisit an area you end up finding new things. In the beginning, you can acquire weapons hidden in the apartment building, with other weapons you pick up along the way as you progress through the story. There are no cheap in-your-face jump scares, what scares there are are timed perfectly and works with what’s happening at that point. Hint: the man in the coat can really get your blood pumping. Oh, and when you get the glass piece, you can find clues in case you are lost or trying to find stuff. You’ll know what I mean.
Each area you venture to in the game has a distinctive visual feel, with color palettes that reflect the patient’s aura, and is a refreshing contrast from those games that seem like you’re just playing through one big level. You can choose to either use stealth to get past enemies or just YOLO your way in with figurative guns blazing; whatever floats your boat. Enemy design is pretty cool and all the monsters are creepy and brilliant. The puzzle-solving can be quite fun in my opinion and the fetch quests, where you have to look for items and place them in a specific order to access the next area, aren’t overdone. This is one of those games where you might get stuck on a puzzle for a little while, solve it, then afterward struggle to remember how you did it. Yeah, those kinds of puzzles.
Going back to the sound design, The Living Tombstone did an incredible job with the game’s soundtrack. The songs are strong without being overwhelming and convey the emotion of the scene perfectly, with distinct music for each boss fight. The voice acting is superb and the sound effects really help convey an uneasy, otherworldly feel, with the cutscenes really underscoring this point.
Overall, it’s been a long time since I came across a game in the genre that’s so well put together and so reasonably priced. Honestly, even if this was priced the same as a AAA title I would gladly pay it. This was such a ride for me. The only thing I would nitpick is the slight lag that happens in some areas when it autosaves, but again that’s just nitpicking at this point.
To anyone who is looking for a great psychological horror game, with great visuals, an excellent soundtrack, and engaging puzzle-solving, In Sound Mind is going to be right up your alley and you’re not going to need a therapist to figure that out.