Imagine a world where your family member is being kept from you and the only way to see them again is to work for Their captors. You only get one shot, if you fail to do the job well, you’ll be thrown from the city and lose the only chance you have of seeing them.. How long until you abandon your morals? Would you “treat” seemingly healthy patients to pay the rent? Would you risk your patient’s mind to get the job done?
This is the setup for Mind Scanners. A dystopian, sci-fi, techno-therapist simulator from The Outer Zone.
In Mind Scanners, you take on the role of a Mind Scanner, whose job it is to scan minds and treat whatever insanity you discover. Or, more accurately, what your corporate overlords see fit to treat. Every day, you’ll receive new cases, travel to patients, assess them, and treat them if deemed necessary. There’s also the small matter of paying your new employer a maintenance fee to continue working for them.
A typical day for a Mind Scanner looks like this. Wake up, get a pep talk from a large, talking, tube and/or receive a passive aggressive fax from The Structure. Receive your new list of patients the system has identified as needing treatment and head out into the city. Determine which patient to travel to and eat up anywhere from 15-30% of your time per day commuting.
Arrive at the patients home and place the scanning device over their head. To the best of your abilities interpret the meaning of what they say they’re seeing in the machine from the predetermined answers the machine spits out. Better get your interpretation right or you’ll be losing time asking another question.
Once interpretation is complete, decide if your patient is Sane or Insane. No, there’s no merely a little stressed, or might have a bit of anxiety, it’s either Sane or Insane. Choose one. If Sane: close the case. If Insane: start Treatment.
Treatment consists of using devices that match the “insanity types” the mind scan has discovered. You’ll be using cutting edge technology such as:
- The Lunasucker: Suck out the Strange and negative energy from your patient.
- The Stroboschocker: Keep patients in balance with amplified light drawn from luminescent zycnoka crystals.
- The Throatarizer: Transforms the insanity into frequencies and forces them out using the vocal chords of the patient.
As you can see, all very technical, sciencey devices.
Each device has it’s own, unique mini game that require a bit of practice to master. If the device isn’t used correctly you will start to stress out the patient. Treatment is over when all insanity types have been cleared or the patient is too stressed out to continue.
If you’re not careful, your patient might become a functioning husk without a personality. Sadly, many of my patients have ended up this way because I focused too much attention on clearing their insanity and not enough of their personality bar. Don’t worry, you’ll still get paid as long as you finish treatment.
The it’s off to your next patient until you run out of time for the day. Crawl back to your corporate hovel, sleep, have terrible dreams about your daughter, wake up and do it all over again.
Sounds fun, right?
Don’t forget about your maintenance fee! Just 7 kapok a day to keep your job. You make 15 kapok from “curing patients” and 3 kapok for declaring them sane…I think you can see which one The Structure prefers you do.
Oh, and if you can’t make the rent? You’re getting tossed into the Outer Zone. You can be certain you’ll never see your daughter again once you’re out there.
Mind Scanners does something very interesting with it’s gameplay mechanics. I don’t know about you but trying to learn a new mini game or think about the right sequence of insanity types to remove while a timer is ever ticking down kinda makes me a little stressed.
If you think about it, you’re playing as someone so desperate to see their daughter that their working for her captors for a chance to see them again. They’ve just become a certified Mind Scanner, they barely know how to use their tools, and their constantly having to worry about how to make enough money so they aren’t kicked out of the city.
That kind of situation would stress me out too. That’s some immersion right there.
I probably wouldn’t have played this game if I wasn’t participating in UnwiseOwl’s Blaugust Reviews: Humble Choice. I thought it would be fun to pick a game I had never heard of before to play and review. I’m glad I did. My short time with Mind Scanners proved to be quite the experience. I’m going to finish my play through and see what ending I get (there are many).
Would I pick up August’s Humble Choice just for this game? Probably not. However, if there’s another game or two in the bundle that you’re excited for give this one a whirl too!