Preview: State of Mind is an Intriguing, Futuristic, Neon-Bathed Adventure

In the future, nobody knows you’re a robot. Because you’re not. Honest.

It’s hard to overlook State of Mind’s Blade Runner-esque aesthetic. The game takes place in a city drenched in so much neon you’d think it was going out of fashion. Yet far from relying on the usual cyberpunk game tropes, State of Mind actually goes out of its way to cover new ground. Sure, there are robots roaming the streets but you’d be hard pressed to mistake any of State of Mind’s clanking automatons for Rutger Hauer or Daryl Hannah.

Asking important questions

Set in Berlin in 2048, this semi-dystopian adventure neatly neatly avoids the whole “robot rights” issue (and any associated heavy-handed allegories). Instead, it delves into the very nature of consciousness and memory, exploring all manner of dystopian themes. Ultimately, the question it asks is “What makes you ‘you’?”

Journalist Richard Nolan certainly does have the answers. He arrives home after an accident to discover his wife and child have disappeared and he himself is reportedly dead. As Nolan, you have to follow upon a variety of leads in order to discover where they’ve gone and, just as importantly, why he’s got holes in his memory that you could drive a Delorean through.

Uncovering the truth, however? That’s just a bonus. It’s hard not to notice how much Nolan sounds like Deus Ex’s Adam Jensen. I’m unsure if Elias Toufexis voices both characters or if they both just happen to be equally gruff. But nevertheless, Nolan comes across as a flawed yet well-meaning individual who, despite being a journalist, doesn’t have a great interest in bringing down the system.

Talking heads

Making progress through State of Mind’s world is a matter of engaging in conversation and greasing the odd palm.There are a few non-taxing puzzles, but sharing information and calling up contacts is enough to move the story onwards. I was pleased to discover that I wasn’t required to collect twelve different items in order to pass through a single door.

This, in turn, gave me time to admire the game’s charming low poly graphics which gel well with its faint sense of unreality. I won’t give away too much about the game’s plot, but State of Mind managed to keep me guessing, despite my smug belief that I knew exactly what was going to happen next.

Nolan isn’t the only character you’ll be playing as, either. Early on in the game, State of Mind pulls rather a neat trick, splitting the game into two thematically opposed halves. As Nolan, you’re roaming the dark streets and dank clubs at night. The other character you play as is a less flawed family man whose sections take place during daylight hours. This intentional contrast only gave me more food for thought; I was faintly disappointed that the game revealed its twist so early – though I suspect there’ll be more to come.

If transhumanism and other lofty themes appeal to you, or if you just want to poke around a neon city making fun of vaguely futuristic fashion, then State of Mind could be right up your levitating walkway. Published and developed by Daedalic Interactive, State of Mind will be available on PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 15th August.