Nevermind Review

By Andy Mills, 2 years ago
Starting life as a student project at the University Of Southern California, horror-adventure Nevermind was turned into a fully-fledged game by the team at Flying Mollusk. The game's most unique selling point when it released on PC back in 2015 was the use of bio-feedback to enhance the experience. With that feature unfortunately having to be removed on Xbox One, is this version of the game still worth playing?

Time to find out.Time to find out.

While Nevermind is a horror game, it has been developed to allow for as many people as possible to play it, players old and new. This is reflected in the game's simplistic controls: cn_LS to move, cn_RS to aim cursor and cn_A to interact or examine objects in the world. When examining objects, you can use the cn_RS to rotate the object for a more detailed examination. Even with those simplistic controls, there is a introductory tutorial level that walks the player through all the controls and concepts with which you'll be dealing.

The game's premise has you as a Neuroprober -- a form of doctor -- at the Neurostalgia Institute, who delves into patients' minds to help them deal with their suppressed memories caused by some form of trauma. While you still are technically the hero helping people with their issues, it's very much about the stories of these patients instead of the playable character. It's hard to talk about them much more without spoiling them, but the stories take their horrors from phobias like agoraphobia and disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, providing an interesting look at mental health, a subject not covered much in games.

The player's task in each of the game's five levels is to find ten photographs that are hidden throughout the level. All of them will be fairly easy to find as the player makes their way through, but as you would expect from an adventure game, at least one in each level will require some puzzle solving. Most of these puzzles are fairly straightforward but a couple may require a bit more thought, or just brute forcing the solution. Of these photos, only five of the photographs are related to the patient's trauma, so at the end of each level you'll have to choose five and place them in the correct order to help the patient.

Pictured above: The visual representation of a YouTube comment sectionPictured above: The visual representation of a YouTube comment section

There is some replayability; after the player has finished a level, they can return to it later in a process the game calls "Advanced Neuromapping". In these, the player has to look or interact with specific objects in a level. The player will have seen most of them while making their way through the level the first time around, but a few are off the beaten path. Even with this additional run through each level, the game remains rather short, something that is disappointing considering both the price of the game and the potential of the premise.

As for the horror aspect of Nevermind, it's hit or miss. There are very few jump scares -- at least not nearly as many as you might expect. Perhaps due to a lack of much danger, the game wasn't all that scary as a whole. However, thanks to a mix of both visuals and audio, the game does have a sense of tension and unease throughout. The game isn't all about horror, though; the game was also created with a healing element in mind and it's more successful at that. In addition to the main levels, there are a few more therapeutic offshoots. With no particular tasks in any of them, they allow you to relax whether you're just walking around a pretty environment or flipping tables.

On a technical level, while the game is perfectly good looking with some particularly nice moments, it's not a graphical showcase. Frame drops that crop up when looking across the X-axis are rather disappointing. While it doesn't happen all the time, there can be regular, albeit slight, slowdown. It doesn't drop into single digit frames per second, but it is often enough to be a noticeable irritation.

I mean, if you're going to let me, there's no way I'm not.I mean, if you're going to let me, there's no way I'm not.

The achievements for Nevermind are extremely straightforward. The initial playthrough of the game will earn the player six of the game's 17 achievements with the other 11 coming from the "Advanced Neuromapping" process in each level. Even without a guide, this game should not take all that long to earn the full 1000 at all.

Summary

As a horror game, Nevermind is a bit mediocre. While there's a well-built uneasy atmosphere throughout the main levels, the lack of danger does remove a lot of the potential for being scared. Perhaps this could have been improved somehow with the bio-feedback but it looks like we'll never know on Xbox. An interesting premise mixed in with the aforementioned well-made atmosphere means that the game may well be worth playing for some, but we'd just recommend waiting for a sale considering the game's short length.
3.5 / 5
Nevermind
Positives
  • Interesting premise
  • Good atmosphere
Negatives
  • Technical issues
  • Very short for price
  • Lack of danger leads to very few scares
Ethics Statement
The reviewer played the game for a total of 10 hours, earning all 17 of the game's achievements, as well as indulging in his fair share of table flipping. A copy of the game was provided by the ID@Xbox team for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Andy Mills
Written by Andy Mills
Just one of the fine Newshounds on TrueAchievements. An achievement hunter, and a lover of all kinds of games.