In Sound Mind’s lead producer gives us a taste of terror on tape as we tour a new area in the upcoming psychological horror title from the creators of Nightmare House 2
Developed by We Create Stuff and published by Modus Games, In Sound Mind is a psychological horror game in the most literal sense. You play as Desmond Wales, a psychiatrist from the submerged town of Milton Haven, who can use cassette tapes of his former patients’ sessions to venture into their tormented psyches and face their deepest fears. It’s a unique premise brought to life with surreal visuals and an atmosphere so thick and oppressive you can cut it with a knife. Well, that’s if it doesn’t cut you first.
Last October, a demo for In Sound Mind was released on Steam. This early taste gave players the chance to dive into the tortured mind of a patient named Virginia, who suffers from extreme social anxiety and crippling agoraphobia. Set in an abandoned supermarket, the demo did an excellent job of showcasing the game’s combat, Resident Evil-style puzzles, and how the various phobias each of the patients exhibits manifest themselves to create engaging gameplay hooks. I recently had the chance to join Ido Tal, We Create Stuff’s co-founder and the lead producer of In Sound Mind, to take a look at a new area. And what I saw has me eager (and more than a little terrified) to get my hands on the full game when it releases later this year.
During the demo, Tal told me that the team aims to take a more open-ended approach to its survival horror than games like Resident Evil and Dead Space, which corral the player into their jump scares. This was plain to see as he walked me through some of the more intense moments in the new tape, which focuses on Alan, a man with severe nyctophobia. The location sharply contrasts the supermarket’s cramped interior from Virginia’s tape with its dense forests, craggy mountains, and a beach with a large lighthouse looming over it like a silent sentry. It’s a massive area that looks like it’d be quite a treat to explore if only it weren’t teeming with dozens of oily terrors that look like sentient Rorschach tests—creatures that not-so-subtly drive home In Sound Mind‘s theme of mental illness.
As Desmond explored this haunting environment, an entity known as “The Shade” was never far behind. Representing Alan’s nyctophobia, this horrifying creature oozes along the ground like a living oil slick and swallows up everything in its path. Crates, cars, or even Desmond himself: it didn’t matter. Anything unfortunate enough to get in its way was sucked into its inky abyss. That said, you’ll probably want to stay far away from its clutches. However, clever players can also use The Shade to their advantage. Sometimes you’ll find valuable supplies hidden behind obstacles. You can try to lure the creature to these barriers so that he can destroy them, clearing the way to the previously inaccessible caches of crafting materials, ammo, and flashlight batteries.
One scene later in the demo was especially chaotic. As Desmond worked his way up a narrow mountain path, The Shape, apparently quite tired of the psychiatrist’s antics, rained down a barrage of cars and boulders like mortars. The entire scene was pure chaos and would have looked right at home during the latter half of Remedy Entertainment’s Alan Wake. If things get this crazy in the second chapter, I can’t wait to see what the latter half of In Sound Mind‘s story offers.
While you’ll spend much of your time avoiding creatures in the game, you’re not entirely helpless. Early on, Desmond gets his hands on a pistol that can dispatch enemies and clear debris to help him reach hidden areas. Additionally, a mirror shard found in Virginia’s chapter can be used to reveal secrets and slash foes and obstacles alike. As you unlock these items, you’ll be able to take them with you through each of the game’s four worlds, or tapes, as well as the derelict tenement that serves as Desmond’s office and In Sound Mind‘s hub world.
In addition to these tools, Alan’s chapter also introduces a flare gun. With its blinding explosions of light, this weapon looks like it’ll be invaluable when battling The Shade, which thrives in darkness. Still, as handy as these weapons are, sometimes you’ll need to decide whether fight or flight is the best option. In true survival horror fashion, ammo and resources are scarce. With this in mind, you’ll need to decide whether to try to sneak past your enemies or battle them in hopes they drop valuable crafting materials or supplies.
As my demo period was coming to an end, Tal showed me a quick teaser of a few more exciting areas of the game. These locations included a lush forest in a torrential downpour and a crowded port. Each one looked quite moody, and I’m genuinely excited to see how each patients’ various phobias impact the way we’ll go about exploring them. If these early portions are any indication, survival horror fans will be in for a real treat when In Sound Mind releases later this year.
In Sound Mind is currently in development for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Switch, and PC. If you want more information or to check out the demo for yourself, be sure to visit the game’s official Steam Page.
So, does this latest offering from the team behind Nightmare House 2 sound up your alley? If you already played last year’s demo for In Sound Mind, what did you think? Be sure to let us know down in the comments below.