Fractured Minds demands nothing of you but your attention, and it’s well deserving of it. Fans of Hellblade:Senua’s Sacrifice will likely find this game appealing, but so will others who are yet to experience a game centred around exposure of mental illness. We’ll take a close look at the game here so read on, just be aware we’ll leave out most of the details. It’s best you experience as much of the game solo as you can.
“I created Fractured Minds to help those who suffer from anxiety and other mental health issues feel they’re not alone. The effects of illness can be invisible from the outside, yet debilitating to those affected, so it’s important to continue raising awareness and offering support. I am grateful for the support I’ve received and want to help others however I can.”Emily Mitchell, sole creator of Fractured Minds
Fractured Minds was developed solely by Emily Mitchell, who was inspired by her own journey through mental health and the issues she faced throughout. At just 18 years old Emily has already won the 2017 BAFTA Young Games Designers award and wants to use this recognition to help others in the future. “The effects of illness can be invisible from the outside, yet debilitating to those affected.” said Emily talking about the game. “So it’s important to continue raising awareness and offering support.“
When you begin Fractured Minds you’re relatively at peace at home in your bedroom, but the mood quickly changes as you find yourself unable to leave. This felt like a superb metaphor, and a fitting way to start what turns out to be a moving, touching experience. The game weighs in at around 30-60 minutes, providing 6 short chapters for you to explore. Each chapter gets darker the further you progress through the game. And each offers their own take on the heartbreaking feelings of anxiety and loneliness. You’ll be faced with simple tasks to solve as the story unfolds – leading up to a ‘boss battle’ of sorts at the climax.
For our review we used a PS4 Pro. The controls are dated, but simple: X to interact, Left/Right analogue sticks to look/move respectively. There’s no inversion here, so you’ll find it difficult to control should you like your movement reversed. Moving through the game is smooth, with the occasional spacial zoning issue that detracts a little from the overall experience. On a few occasions I found myself being penalised for setting off alarms or falling from edges. However, when you bear in mind how and why the game was developed you can forgive the occasional hiccup.
Emily Mitchell has poured her heart and soul into Fractured Minds, and in doing so has engineered an experience unlike almost anything else available today.
If you were to think of this game purely on a mechanical basis it would be easy to give it an awful review. The controls are clunky at best, the visuals dated. But when you put that into context with just how and why this game was made, it transforms into something far greater than the sum of its parts. Fractured Minds is a haunting, emotional experience that blows the issue of mental health awareness wide open. Although it’s not an experience you’ll likely revisit, the message it delivers will stay with you for a very long time.
Fractured Minds is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
ThePlayerCode acquired our own copy of Fractured Minds, all opinions are our own unbiased, independent views. For more reviews click here.