In Sound Mind is a psychological horror game that takes you deep into the human psyche, forcing you to come face to face with physical manifestations of mental health struggles while navigating a surreal and frantic world. Whether you’re tracking down pieces of a handgun to craft for protection, listening to cassette tapes to uncover more of the mystery that lays at the center of this survival horror game, or just taking a moment in your office with a cat named Tonia (whom you can pet…. we checked), In Sound Mind gives you plenty to consider and explore as you make your way through this strange and fascinating world.
The In Sound Mind release date is currently slated for 2021, and with release windows for PC, Xbox Series X and Series S, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 5, it will be an accessible game for survival horror fans on every platform. If you’d like a small taste, the In Sound Mind demo is currently available on Steam. The game features Desmond, a therapist from a small town called Milton Haven, who must navigate through metaphysical worlds and solve puzzles to help his patients. Each patient has a cassette tape that you can pick up and listen to, getting to know what mental health disorder they’re currently struggling with. Though instead of just serving as an auditory cue, these old-school cassette tapes transport you from the main hub world—an apartment building—to other areas. This is where the game’s unique charm truly shine, as each distinct character’s mental state and personality form the areas you explore.
“We wanted to create a game where the mechanics change,” said We Create Stuff co-founder and In Sound Mind co-producer Ido Tal. “We went in focusing on characters and their experiences.”
In Sound Mind Provides a Thrilling Yet Charming Horror Experience
While developing In Sound Mind, game studio We Create Stuff wanted to create an experience that players could truly make their own. They had some experience with this when making the cult classic Nightmare House 2, and In Sound Mind were looking to challenge players’ expectations by having them explore the deep recesses of the mind. This puts everything you know into question, even your own sanity. Instead of giving this game a modern backdrop, We Create Stuff opted to turn the clock back a few decades to give this setting a more old-school feel.
Most of the team grew up in the '90s. We were looking into what kind of tech would make sense to fit our story and mechanics. We finally realized cassette tapes are perfect because they are a form of old-school media that is so physical, as opposed to say, streaming an audiobook on an app today. —Ido Tal
Though the tapes themselves are small, physical objects, they contain stories for the player to explore. There are four tapes in all, and each one transports you to a new area with bizarre puzzles and new strategies. Be careful though, strange enemies and powerful bosses can come at you out of nowhere. You pick up defensive items throughout the game, such as the handgun mentioned earlier, but it will take some strategy to know when to use these (and not use them).
In Sound Mind's Music Is Gorgeous
In Sound Mind's level design not only gives you diverse and beautiful landscapes to explore, but the entire game also features an eerie soundtrack by The Living Tombstone. There’s a distinct song for each story, adding even more emotion to the troubled realities Desmond comes across.
”Music can completely change an experience,” Tal said. “From a dull area to something more eerie, scary or exciting.”
Inspired by other survival horror games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and even other old-school games like Half-Life 2, In Sound Mind provides a fun and thoughtful experience while at the same time educating players on different mental health struggles. Fear and anxiety shape the world around you, and physical enemies spawned from these emotions will need to be defended against if you hope to reach all the way to the end.
Have you played the In Sound Mind demo yet? Are you eagerly awaiting the In Sound Mind release date? Let us know in the comments!