Get ready to dive into the enchanting world of Always in Mind, a narrative platformer that takes you on a journey through the complexities of human memory. Developed by the talented Cord Smith, founder of Inevitable Studios and a veteran of renowned companies like Square Enix and SEGA, this debut release promises to be a captivating exploration of memory's wonders and flaws. With a recent demo showcasing its mechanics and emotional depth, players can now catch a glimpse of what this game has in store.
Teddy's Subconscious Adventure:
In Always in Mind, we join Teddy, a 12-year-old boy who has fallen into a coma. Embarking on a captivating journey through his subconscious, Teddy discovers the secrets of his family with the help of an AI implant named Proxy. The demo, titled "Namesake," places us in the middle of the game's fourth chapter, offering a snapshot of Teddy's exploration into his grandfather's mind. But before we delve into the intriguing mechanics, let's take a moment to appreciate the unique premise of this imaginative game.
Illuminating the Past:
Traversal in Always in Mind shares similarities with games like The Unfinished Swan, where players uncover the environment to progress. Teddy receives his "first upgrade" from Proxy early in the demo, granting him control over the AI in the form of a luminous ball of light. This radiant orb illuminates hidden structures, revealing paths to climb and helping Teddy overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It's a clever twist on shedding light on the past, both literally and metaphorically.
A Ball of Light and Timing-based Platforming:
Using the right trigger, players can aim and throw the ball of light, calling it back with the left trigger. This mechanic becomes essential for progressing through the game, as the ball can break through gates and weaken them by smashing glitches scattered across the map. As the demo progresses, timing-based platforming elements are introduced, hinting at the challenges players will encounter in future chapters. Prepare for a puzzling adventure that will keep you on your toes!
Pillars of Memory and Glitches:
To advance in Always in Mind, players must locate pillars of memory dispersed throughout the world, each representing a different facet of Teddy's grandfather's memory. These pillars are often blocked by gates that can only be broken by first destroying glitches. These scattered patches of static offer a satisfying opportunity for Teddy to unleash his powers and clear the way forward. Keep an eye out for these glitches and unlock the memories that lie beyond.
Proxy: The Wise Companion:
Proxy, Teddy's AI companion, proves to be a valuable ally throughout his memory exploration. Although Proxy's robotic speech may initially catch you off guard, the character's two concentric circles offer poignant and poetic observations about Teddy's journey and his grandfather's life. To assist players who may find themselves stuck, the Proxy Camera can be activated with the Y button, highlighting glitches and other points of interest. Proxy truly becomes Teddy's guiding light.
Unearthing Memories: Art, Question Marks, and Symbolic Environments:
Aside from the core pillars, players will stumble upon other ways to gain insight into Teddy's grandfather. Discoverable items tied to each relative's personality, such as pieces of art, provide additional snippets of information and contribute to a richer understanding of the story. Glowing question marks also lead to core memories, lingering reminders of the past, like portraits of Teddy's late wife with the poignant text, "don't let me forget to love her." Prepare to be immersed in a world brimming with symbolism and creativity.
A Journey Through Varied Environments:
The demo of Always in Mind offers a tantalizing taste of the game's diverse environments. From a rocky forest with hidden structures to a chaotic library representing unorganized thoughts, each area is filled with imaginative design and surprises. Model airplanes, miniature cars, and twisting cogs await players in later rooms, providing intricate traversal opportunities. While the illumination mechanic takes a backseat in these areas, expect a delightful mix of visible and hidden wonders as you explore the game's enchanting landscapes.
Emotional Depths and Meaningful Conversations:
Always in Mind has the potential to be a deeply emotional journey, beautifully balanced with serene moments. Teddy and Proxy engage in heartfelt conversations that reflect on the concepts of aging, memory, and family. With future chapters set to explore the minds of other relatives, the game promises even more thought-provoking experiences. While a release date is yet to be announced, fans of narrative-driven indie games should keep an eye on Always in Mind.
Always in Mind invites players to embark on a captivating adventure through the intricacies of human memory. With its innovative mechanics, symbolic environments, and emotional depth, this debut release from Inevitable Studios promises to be a truly remarkable experience. Prepare to illuminate the past, uncover memories, and discover the joys and challenges that come with exploring the depths of the mind. Keep an eye out for the release of Always in Mind andprepare to be swept away by its mesmerizing narrative and gameplay.