State of Mind; a definite underdog mixed in with the swarm of new titles recently, developed by Daedalic Entertainment, this is a new third person thriller title I have to say I’m impressed with. It’s not just an adult adventure game, but also a work of art – using triangular shapes to resemble human characters throughout. State of Mind actually reminds me of a game I enjoyed back in the day called ‘Interstate 79’, which used the same sort of design, but albeit, a lot simpler. You play the part of two characters in their own individual timelines. As you progress, the story expands and becomes pretty dark and very mature. So, let’s break down the basic premise.
Richard Nolan is one of the few journalists openly criticizing the development of droids and humanoids replacing humans in the public sector. When he wakes up in hospital after an explosion and finds that his wife and son have mysteriously vanished, Richard realizes: he and his family have become more than just bystanders in a storm of rivaling ideas, pertaining humankind’s salvation between dystopian reality and digital utopia. Instead, they find themselves right at the center of it. State of Mind is set in a futuristic environment with flying cars, robots and many typical things associated with our picture of the world foretold.
The game is very family orientated, being that your main goal is to find and protect them. Now, remembering that there are two timelines, and without giving too much away, both of these aspects fit in as needed to uphold the plot. After a certain point you get to choose which character is needed to solve the problems and find ‘data’ throughout the world. As the two characters trade information through a HUB, which is located at each characters apartment, bits and pieces of information will unlock more of the story and lead to a final resolution. One thing that I noticed straight-up was that the framerate is great, no slithers, rips, or drops in performance. The devs did a great job with optimization.
The game runs smoothly and is full of buzzing neon lights to relay a theme that’s as futuristic as it gets. As for the audio, unfortunately, not so well. During conversations, some audio drops out and some is not there at all, making it hard to know what to do unless you have subtitles turned on. This really does hinder the flow of the game as there is no real ‘mission list’ either. You need to explore and sometimes, if you miss an objective or didn’t hear a phrase, you may find yourselves running around looking for the next objective for a while. Objectives can be found by keeping an eye out for solid green triangles above the NPCs, meaning they are active, whereas an empty green triangle will prompt the examine icon.
The game focuses on real life scenarios of promotion, demotion and the good and bad life choices. State of Mind also has a lot of memory games throughout, so paying attention is a vital tool in this game. Say, for example, your son wants his breakfast, you need remember what he likes for breakfast. This sort of mechanic is present from the get-go. As you start off doing your day to day activities; go to work, look after your family and so on, sequences start to happen and you can feel very much alone. Solving this mystery becomes your only option as you fall deeper into the abyss of a man’s struggle to make sense of anything.
The story is quite original and kept me engaged just to see what happens next. State of Mind is well written and does have a lot of quality voice talent, despite some audio issues that persist throughout. The technical performance remains very smooth, though its visual details and its intriguing plot is what holds everything together. By and large, this is a game for those that relish single-player experiences.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.