Developed & Published by Daedalic Entertainment – 1 Player – Out Now on PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One (version tested)
Remember early 90’s video game magazines? There would often be editorials, or even front cover images of what the future of games would look like. More often than not, it would be a polygonal face or wire frame, which at the time looked amazing and had your mind racing with the possibilities of where video games will be in a few years. Now imagine things never progressed past that wire frame, and that’s pretty much how State of Mind looks. The futuristic cityscapes and blocky character models bring back memories of flicking through Amiga Format and watching The Cyber Zone when I was but a wee lad and I can’t help but think of that, and revolutionary games such as Another World, when playing through this game. It even has that dystopian cyberpunk, perma-night aesthetic that was popular back then.
The game sees you take control of two different characters. There’s conceited douchebag Richard, who just comes across as a complete and utter tosser, with whom you really struggle to find any empathy, despite his wife and child being awol. And then there’s Adam, who’s bit of a wet lettuce. He’s under the thumb of both his wife and son, who seem to walk all over him. At first, the only thing that connects these two characters are that the game starts with them both having had accidents, and both have a wife and son. And both reside in a neo Berlin. Highrises touch the sky, the ground 100’s of feet below the generic styled apartment complexes and industrial complexes. However, as unsurprisingly as it may seem, Richards family seem to want nothing to do with him, Adam’s at least seem to give him the time of day. And speaking of which, there’s an obvious contrast in the lighting of each of the characters. Adam always seems to be shrouded in light, and wears lighter colours, whereas Richard is stuck in a grimy, dark, Blade Runner-esque Berlin.
The gameplay is in the same sort of style as Life is Strange. It’s an interactive 3D story where most of the time you’re having conversations or investigating things, with a light dusting of cut scenes here and there. And much like LiS, there’s some decent background music that sets the tone nicely. This is pretty much where the similarities end, as unlike Max and Chloe, who will forever live on in our hearts, State of Mind’s protagonists come across as entitled arse holes and make the absolute worst leads in a video game for a long time. Which is a shame, as the ground work for the story pretty cool, and it’s very Total Recall. It does existential crisis very well, but the main characters just ruin it. The art style may put some off as well, but those who have fond memories of the original VR era, may be somewhat endeared to its cubic aesthetic. Though if you like whining man children, this may be a good alternative to twitter.