Nevermind – Early Access (PC)

Nevermind01This is a preview of the game without using a heart rate sensor.

Nevermind is a first person adventure-horror game that sees you wandering though the psyche of psychological trauma victims. Originally beginning life as a thesis project created by Erin Reynolds while at USC’s Interactive Media Program, it was kickstarted towards the end of last year without much success. Another campaign was run with a much lower budget and early access to Nevermindis now available giving players the chance to explore this haunting gameplay experience and start you on your way to controlling your anxiety.

So what sets this apart from other horror games out there? Well that would be the fact that it’s a biofeedback-enhanced horror game. For this preview I was unable to give this feature a go but to get the most out of this game it should be played with a biofeedback sensor, a tool that monitors your heartrate. One of the games aims is to teach you to be more aware of your responses to stressful situations, the heart monitor aids this by altering the difficulty depending on whether you let the creepy and disturbing scenarios get the best of you. Unfortunately (as far as I could find) the cheapest heart rate monitors out there will cost you around £65-£100 which is steep considering it’s the only game out there that utilises this system.Nevermind02

The Neurostalgia Institute specialises in psychological trauma, using cutting-edge technologies to deal with patient’s deep issues. You take the role of the institute’s newest Neuroprober and are tasked with entering the subconscious minds of trauma victims to piece together the origin of their trauma. This early access build so far only consists of two scenarios. The first is a tutorial simulator revolving around the exploits of Hansel and Gretel, the second sees you entering the subconscious of a female patient to find the dark memories she supressed as a young child. Solving each issue involves collecting photographs (memories) linked to the patient’s problem and piecing them together.

The game is played from a first person perspective and in the first two scenarios, (judging by the camera height) through a child’s eyes, as this was their age when the trauma was caused. During your journey through people’s minds you are given additional puzzles such as breaking into safes and traversing labyrinths. All of this rewards you with different memory fragments (10 in total per scenario), which are required for piecing together the truth. While some of these puzzles may be a tad too easy further difficulty is added because of the creepy ambience and the fact you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, which helps add a little extra challenge.Nevermind03

In terms of how scary this game is there’s nothing here that’s going to jump out and gnaw your faceoff, this isn’t a survival game. Instead this game uses the environment to create disturbing and ominous atmospheres to unsettle players. That’s not to say there’s no threat; as well puzzles your journey will be hindered by you dodging cars and avoiding faceless men looking to crush you between church pews. Allowing your Neuroprober to become overwhelmed with fear will result in being forcibly removed from the puzzle to a safe zone so that you can relax and calm your nerves before trying again. There are a couple of great jump scares thrown in to help get the heart pumping (beware the head busts), all of which make this a decent horror experience.

In terms of visual appeal Nevermind does a great job at blending some bright, beautiful environments with dark, moody and often horrific scenes. The art style seems rather Tim Burtonesque and the levels require you to always be observant and aware of your surroundings in order to solve puzzles. Nevermind’s soundtrack is decent and adds to the creepy ambience and while the game also features voice acting it is noted in game that this may be replaced by the time the full version is released. This early access version gives a good hour of gameplay and is almost guaranteed to get your heart racing.

As it stands the first two scenarios are a solid experience. The level design is fantastic, creating a perfectly creepy atmosphere, the stories are an interesting experience and the puzzles can be a great challenge. Unfortunately, without the use of a heart rate monitor there is a rather significant difference in the gameplay experience. Still, Nevermind is a worthwhile experience and definitely one to keep an eye out for as developer Flying Mollusk are aiming to get the full version out by November.

This preview is based off an early access code of Nevermind provided by Flying Mollusk.

This preview was originally published on the site GamersFTW which unfortunately has now been taken down. It’s been published on my personal blog, DanielVaughanReviews, out of respect for the developers/publishers that were kind enough to give me review copy of their game.

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