It’s not often that games explore something as deep and personal as repressed memories, but Nevermind mind does that in a unique and interesting way. Developed by Flying Mollusk, Nevermind is a first person point-and-click exploration game that has players entering the psyche of four different patients while trying to uncover their repressed memories and solve their underlying trauma.
In Nevermind, players explore the landscape of the clients mind and solve puzzles while examining clues in order to collect the necessary amount of memories to piece together the causes of their trauma. Since this game is about exploring the minds of those affected by a certain trauma, the levels can become quite eerie and unsettling, and the game feels like a horror game at some points because of it. Nevermind is not your typical first person walking simulation.
Nevermind: Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Flying Mollusk
Publisher: Flying Mollusk
Release Date: 11 January 2017 [North America only]
Price: $19.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Purchased by Reviewer]
Nevermind has you playing as a Neuroprober, a physician who uses advanced technology to enter the minds of various patients in search of memories (some of which are repressed) in order to discover any underlying trauma in the client. These memories are represented in the form of photos, and it’s the player’s job to find all ten photos in the client’s mind. However, only five of them actually represent the trauma which will release the memory to the client’s conscious mind, while the other half are false memories created by the client’s subconscious in order to cope with their trauma. It may take a bit of trial and error to decipher which photos are the real memories and the order in which they occur, but it’s not too difficult if you pay attention to the clues and surroundings throughout the memory.
Much like the way in which dreams are depicted in the film Inception, memories depicted by the client’s subconscious are often warped and distorted. Houses bend and twist into each other, blood rains from the sky, cryptic messages are sprawled along walls, and mannequins are littered in odd and grotesque positions. These clients are disturbed, and it’s is reflected by the locations and aesthetics of their memories. Similarly, the music and sounds are unsettling at times, evoking a sense of dread and tension as you explore deeper into their memory and peel back the layers of their subconscious.
Nevermind does very little to help you navigate through the client’s memories. Outside of the basic tutorial mission that provides lessons on the mechanics of the game, there isn’t anything else to help guide players throughout each memory. As such, it can be easy to get lost at times not knowing what you need to do, or what clues to look out for.
It’s easy to feel like you’re walking in circles for long periods of time before figuring out the solution to a puzzle or area, some of which seem quite arbitrary. However, even with these occasional issues, the game isn’t very long in duration and can be completed in a few hours. There is an incentive to replay levels, however, as replaying a level allows you to unlock new memories which give players a better understanding of the client and their underlying trauma.
Overall, Nevermind sets itself apart from other walking simulators of late such as Firewatch and Virginia by having a unique premise with relatable real world implications. It does an adequate job of representing the repressed memories of individuals who have suffered from personal trauma that doesn’t feel campy or over the top. Each memory is full of tense situations derived from people who are dealing with serious issues, and it felt satisfying putting the pieces of the memories together to unlock the real memory for every client. Despite its short length and occasional tricky puzzles, Nevermind does a great job of humanising the internal turmoils of people who struggle with traumatic issues on a regular basis.