Where to begin with this game? It’s a brilliant and unique approach to tackling sensitive and difficult issues through a game. It may raise some eyebrows, hearing about something that gamifies issues such as suicide and abuse and it would be easy to take an insensitive approach to the subject and to trivialize it, but Nevermind allows players to face the issues presented in the game in a sensitive and respectful way. Players will find themselves empathizing with the characters as they play through their memories. Another fascinating thing about Nevermind is that it can be played with a sensor that allows the game to react to the player. If you get upset and stressed playing the game while wearing a sensor, the game gets harder. You manage to keep yourself calm and the game is easier for you.
You play as a therapist of sorts, piecing together memories of your patients in the form of some very creepy scenes and photos you find throughout different areas of each memory. You begin each patient with a brief story from them, they tell you what they’re struggling with and then you’re off to solve the puzzle. And the puzzles are varied, not only for each different patient, but varied for each photo you need to find for one memory.
It’s the details in Nevermind though, that really hook me into the game. Nothing has been overlooked, from the floorboards in a house to book titles, and it’s up to you to figure out which details can help you solve the puzzle and which might be throwing you off. Nevermind isn’t a game I would consider a horror game, at least not in the traditional sense, but so many of the game environments are just creepy or they’re designed in an effort to make you uncomfortable (which is when the sensor and keeping your cool come into play).
When you’ve finished collecting each memory photo for a patient, you then have to determine the chain of events and piece together what actually happened, which can be a bit of a challenge. You may have ten pictures that you’ve collected but only five or six actually fit into the memory. Once you’ve put the story together the patient is able to finally know the truth about the cause of whatever their issue is and you move on to the next patient.
Now let’s talk about Nevermind’s Deaf accessibility. As a fan of games in general, I thought this was a phenomenal game. But as a deaf player, I can’t help but think it would be better suited as a console game so there could be a bit more of a physical connection to the game through some subtle controller vibration. (This review was originally written in 2016 before Nevermind was released on console. We have not played it on console yet.) I say this because while all important dialogue is captioned and easy to read, I feel like I’m missing out on part of the intrigue of the game when there’s music playing during some scenes and in one case, I was taking damage from something I couldn’t find in the room because it was un-captioned screams. Another instance I felt I was missing out on was a puzzle in which you were being somewhat guided through a maze by the sound of car horns. Had I not had a hearing person sitting next to me during that scene to tell me the direction of the sound, it would have been incredibly frustrating to get through the maze. It goes without saying that the game environment is absolutely engaging and captivating. The visual cues come in the form of an eye (I think it’s an eye?) that is your cursor and becomes a more solid white and displays text (use, open, interact) below it when you’re near an object you can do something with.
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