With the promise of reactive horror, Nevermind’s description fills your mind with exciting possibilities. It’s just sad that - if you are lacking the required bio-feedback tools - none of these are revealed. This leaves you with an imaginative but short lived psychological horror game, where you can’t help but feel you are missing something.
Step into my mind
Nevermind is a first person horror that casts you in the role of a doctor at a psychological institute. Thanks to the institute’s rather fancy tech, you are able to project yourself into your patients’ minds. This allows you to interact with their memories to uncover their problems and find a way to help.
You must search your patient’s mind-scape for ten photos that represent key emotional moments in their history. Five of these are true elements of their past, while the other five represent lies that they constructed during their trauma to protect their psyche but which now stand between them and recovery.
Each twisted environment is controlled by its dreamer, meaning you can only touch the objects they allow you to. Your context dependent actions with these items prove to be your only interactions with the world, and can have some unexpected effects.
It doesn't take much to completely change these dreamers’ worlds, seemingly without reason. You might place a loaf of bread on a plate, and a moment later the haunting forest around you is blanketed with ice - honestly, I still don’t fully understand that one. But it’s your job to decipher the clues from these events to discover truth of your patients past.
This process results in some shocking and genuinely unnerving movements. Even though the narrative’s logic explains that your character is never in any real danger, nothing stops the dread you feel when trapped with hanging, twitching body bags, or how oddly upsetting the act of repeatedly stab a bleeding mannequin proves.
Here is where the bio-feedback comes into play. If you have a compatible bio-monitor, the game can read your heart rate, and adjust its scares in line with your tension. This causes white noise that pollutes both the audio and visual effects, plus I am lead to believe that it can alter the dream-scapes and horrors you whiteness.
The narrative excuses this by explaining that, when you are in a person’s mind, your states of being mix. This means that when your tension increases so too does theirs, intensifying their dream and shifting it towards a nightmare.
Unfortunately - as you can probably tell - I did not have access to the equipment to use with Nevermind’s bio-feedback elements. Not that I didn’t want to, but I feel the $75 minimum spend for a compatible sensor was a little steep on top of the $20 game. This locked me out of the game’s most exciting feature, which could well have made the short experience more repeatable, and certainly more engaging and unique with its scares.
Unfortunately, without this tech, Nevermind's training exercise and two missions only last a few hours. This is frustrating as the framework is really good, with the changing world and eerie imagery really capturing the imagination.
If you don’t have the required hardware then Nevermind will sit as a disappointment filled with unreleased potential. It offers an intriguingly different approach to psychological scares, but it’s so short that it is hard to recommend over more lengthy titles like SOMA. That said - if you are lucky enough to have a bio-sensor - I wholeheartedly recommend picking it up to enjoy its uniquely replayable horror.