Emily Mitchell was just 16 years old when she created Fractured Minds. It is a short narrative experience that lets Emily tell you about how she lives with anxiety. It is a cheap experience but with all profits going towards a mental health charity, this walking simulator is worthy of 15 minutes of your time.
Fractured Minds is split up into chapters – mostly a single room – and each one presents anxiety creeping into the space in different ways. Drowning imagery, internal monologues of the mind and feeling lost and deflated all come to the forefront in their own short experiences. Once you have clicked the right things or pinned a tail on a donkey for example, you can move onto the next chapter.
Like many walking simulators, these interactions are often short and sweet. You are left to your own mind to decide how you interpret certain moods and images. Graphically the game is passable and there is little sound to speak of. A few of the chapters towards the end start to bring in some simple gameplay mechanics too. One has you sneaking around your living room and kitchen area from searchlights. The other is a hot water vent puzzle. These play nicely and I had wished there was more to them to keep me around longer.
Ultimately though, Fractured Minds is a very brief experience and that also comes down to some of its bare-bones design. There is little to explore or discover beyond moving forward. Whilst it gives some interesting and striking insights into someone dealing with anxiety, it also doesn’t draw you towards any conclusions or revelations either. I’d have liked to have seen more focus on support and coping mechanisms, or diary entries, to explain a layer deeper what was going on beneath the surface. This is still a fantastic achievement for someone so young and all the proceeds go to a great cause. The price matches the content amount too so if you are curious about an artistic emotional display – give Fractured Minds a go.
Fractured Minds shows that young game developers can really produce commercially-competitive experiences.
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