Friday, August 24

Review: State of Mind [Nintendo Switch eShop]

While there have been quite a number of adventure titles of varied themes and styles to date the Switch eShop has just this week added its first 2 futuristic techno-adventures to the mix. Heavily contrasting against the simple pixel art of 2064: Read Only Memories State of Mind goes in a very different direction, delivering some pretty top-notch visuals with detailed environments. Unfortunately, in a similar vein to its futuristic partner it swings pretty heavily into exposition and ends up feeling a bit too much like a static journey on rails where you engage in some small mini games and decisions of questionable consequence along the way.

I’d actually say that it felt like the game got off to a pretty strong start, with you awakening a bit disoriented after being involved in an auto accident. At this stage you seem to share a sense of confusion with your on-screen character as you work to understand and piece together what’s happened in his past and how it connects to him now. This gets even more intriguing when you then wake up as a different person who seems to be living an oddly similar life and has been through similar circumstances. If only from this initial situation it had managed to be more original in some way or allowed for some real player agency it could have made for a pretty good time, unfortunately the more you play the more it falls a bit flat.

Make no mistake, there’s some intrigue here as well as commentaries on a variety of futurist and philosophical topics, unfortunately the more you’ve read or seen books or media concerning these topics the more familiar and even trite it all seems. Some real choices of consequence or compelling things to do along the way may have spiced things up but unfortunately this is a very on-rails experience where you’ll simply go through the motions as the story forces you through its paces. Dialogue trees allow for gaining some extra insight but aside from that are only waiting for you to trigger the right options to move to the next stage. There will be environments to explore and some objects to manipulate but it’s almost all strictly geared to advancing things along, with no side paths or value added interest to go with it. Some moderately fun mini games are peppered throughout, and act as a fine distraction, but are over too quickly and are infrequent.

I can appreciate strong narratives that are designed to tell a story, but if you’re going to go that route you’d better be sure it’s something well worth the ride. Unfortunately, for all of its visual flair and promise you start with the ultimate ride simply doesn’t deliver consistently enough to make it much fun along the way. If you’re looking for a slow-paced reflection on the future, with a little intrigue and perhaps some cliche thrown in, it may well suit you. For everyone else you’d probably be better off enjoying the Blade Runner movies and saving yourself a few hours.

Score: 6

  • Really terrific visuals and flair
  • There’s some intrigue to be had, just you’ve likely seen variations on it before
  • Some of the puzzles and mini games, when they do present themselves, are novel

  • No real opportunities for player agency or engagement, the game plays out more like a script
  • For as much dialogue as there is in the game it’s a shame much of it is dull
  • In terms of pacing more opportunities for interaction are sorely missed