“Well, what what do we have here?”, I asked myself as this game caught my eye while I was looking for a new game to critique in my own special way, which so far has boiled down to ripping the targeted game a new one, and I am delighted to report that this game continues this trend. It is by no means as bad as the games I have reviewed previously, but Deluded Mind by developers Pyxton Studio is, in my opinion, still a very flawed game. So without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Now, for this game there are actually a few positives that deserve to be mentioned. First and foremost, what stuck out to me is that the game actually looks surprisingly good. Some of the effects look a bit questionable, but on the whole, the visuals look very decent. Along with the atmosphere, the visuals really help to engross you in the game and make you feel like you’re actually living through this nightmare the main character finds himself in, for a while, at least.
I mentioned the atmosphere earlier, and it is one of the best features of the game. As I said, it really helps to make you feel like you’re right there with the protagonist in living through this nightmare. It is a fairly cliché setting, it being set in an abandoned insane asylum and all, but it works, at least for a while. Overall, the game offers a good atmosphere and decent visuals.
You didn’t think I was gonna leave you hanging, did you? You know me better than that. So, here’s the part where I discuss the problems. First off, the story seems a bit familiar to me, and that’s because the story is clearly inspired by a certain movie franchise that goes by the name of Saw. Think about it, and a spoiler alert is in order here since I will be discussing some things about the story.
You wake up in a room with no recollection of what happened and you have to make your way through this place to escape. And the person who trapped you in here is, of course, a psychopathic killer. You also find out that he is, of course, the guy who killed your daughter. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here, but it seems to me that the game acknowledges that it is very cliché since it acts somewhat self-aware at certain times. This breaks the immersion somewhat since the game reminds you ever so subtly that you’re just playing a game. Nevertheless, it wasn’t that big of a dealbreaker to me, but I can see how someone might be put off by it.
Another thing that was kind of weird is that there is no real threat in the game. It is established early in the game that your character has been drugged by the villain, so the monsters you see in-game are all just hallucinations, meaning that aside from scaring the shit out of you at first, they have no power to harm you, which lowers the stakes tremendously since there is no threat to the player. This is further emphasized by the fact that the controls don’t indicate that you will have to fight at some point. Overall, this puts you in a mindset of not really caring about what happens because no matter what, nothing will happen to you.
What also gets old quite quickly is how this game scares you or attempts to. Yes, the much loathed jump-scare features very prominently in this game, and it loses its effectiveness quite quickly, even for a wimp like me. It follows the same formula every time, and it gets so predictable that you can actually make a game out of predicting the next jump-scare. Jump-scares can be effective when used right and, most importantly, sparingly. A game should scare you through its atmosphere, and while this game’s atmosphere is unsettling, I wouldn’t call it scary. A good example of a game that delivers its scares through atmosphere would be “Condemned: Criminal Origins”, and it also has very well placed jump-scares that actually scare most players. It just wears thin quite quickly in this game, and it doesn’t have a backup plan other than throwing more “scary” looking monsters at you.
Last but certainly not least, I want to talk about the puzzles in this game, which are the main focus of Deluded Mind after the scary, spooky monsters, and let me tell you that they are not that well designed, to put it nicely. Most puzzles work in the same way in that you have to go to a location, do something and then find some tiny object hidden somewhere. This is made even harder in this game given the fact it’s so dark, it makes it almost impossible to find anything, much less these small objects.
It would be nice if the player had a flashlight or some other kind of light source, but without this you find yourself looking for something for ages, only to find out that it was, of course, in the darkest corner of the room you just spent a few minutes searching every nook and cranny through. This makes an otherwise simple puzzle an absolute chore to solve because you can’t progress unless you find this f#%ing thing to use on this door. I get that the dark is meant to unsettle the player, but at least give us something to illuminate these areas with. It might seem like I’m nitpicking, but this is incredibly annoying; but it is what it is, and it is my job to judge the game in its current state.
My final thoughts on this game are kind of split. On the one hand, it looks good and has a decent atmosphere until its effect on you wears off. On the other hand, the game becomes less and less fun as you progress, which is not what you want in a video game or any kind of media, for that matter. In summary, I think that this game starts off strong but declines quickly after that and just becomes tedious. It promises you the world but, unfortunately, never delivers, so I wouldn’t recommend buying it.
Developer: Pyxton Studio
Publisher: Pyxton Studio
Release Date: 15th June 2018