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In Sound Mind

In Sound Mind is a psychological survival horror game developed by We Create Stuff and published by Modus Games.

In Sound Mind throws players into the shoes of Desmond Wales, a psychologist who has just awoken to find his town has flooded and a mysterious chemical looms around every corner. The narrative is an interesting one, a game that keeps you guessing throughout your playthrough. We believe that In Sound Mind belongs on the list due to the portrayal of each fear. While the game is a survival horror, it’s quite the experience getting to delve into each of these mysterious worlds to try to solve what is going on with Desmond, and what happened to his patients.

These worlds are so unique to each other, each with a very dark representation, from ghost-like entities to almost alien-like creatures, no world is the same, you must do what it takes to solve the mystery. Virginia the first patient struggles with social anxieties, Allen struggles with fear, Max has issues with his anger and Lucas’s PTSD was taking over his life. By solving the mysteries you can bring the patients and Desmond peace.

In Sound Mind boasts a mesmerising visual style with beautiful lighting effects. The game is dark, but it’s the chemical compound and the atmospheric lighting that is eye-catching. It also showcases a great soundtrack by Living Tombstone. With such a narrative-driven game, We Create Games have secured some brilliant voice acting talent that conveys the emotion in each of the patients and the fear in Desmond; the fear of not understanding how he got here and why.

Features

  • Interesting puzzles that blend in with patients fears & touch on mental health/illnesses
  • Creative boss fights
  • Beautiful graphics especially the lighting effects
  • A creative narrative that keeps you guessing

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Delving Into Our Own Minds in Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2 players are loving the bizarre but wonderful world that Double Fine has created. Specifically, players are appreciating connecting to their own mental health experiences, and the strong advocation of healing within the game. Psychonauts 2 puts players in the shoes of Razputin, an ex-circus performer turned psychic spy part of the Psychonauts organisation.

The organisation is tasked with keeping an eye on the world and rescuing people’s minds by going into their heads and trying to fix the issue at hand, so that the person in question feels better. You’ll explore many different characters’ minds whilst also trying to find a mole within the organisation who is trying to bring back Maligula, a cruel hydrokinetic who the organisation took down 20 years ago after destroying the fictional city that Raz comes from. Along the way, you’ll find more about the organisation and its characters that we’ve come to know and love.

Psychonauts 2 is a 3-D platformer that offers a myriad of fun tasks to take on. While the main story mentioned above is key, there are also a lot of side quests for players to take on, and exploring the world of Psychonauts is nothing short of wonderful. Double Fine has created a world full of character and lore which makes checking out every little nook and cranny of the game feel very rewarding. Not only do players broaden their understanding about mental health and empathy, but get to check out some fantastic art design and creative ideas on the journey.

Mental health themes are so key to this game. After all, you’re tasked with delving into different people’s minds! In one instance, Razputin must go into the mind of Compton to help him with his performance anxiety. To do this, you enter a gameshow with some pretty horrifying puppets which represent the staff around the psychonauts HQ. In the show, you must cook some very bizarre meals by using the audience (who are ingredients) to make these dishes. The more you make, the harder it gets; but the better Compton feels.

Double Fine covered mental health themes in a very unique way. You are notified at the start of the sequel about the subjects it delves into, already signalling what is going to be explored, from trauma victims with PTSD and others with psychosis. This offers insight to those who might not fully understand the illnesses and what a person may feel like. The way Double Fine has used these subject matters in such a respectful way but also provided a way for everyone to tackle is downright wonderful. While mental health is becoming more understood, we have a way to go, but developers using imaginative ways to tell stories of relatable events in the mental health world is providing more with an understanding. This is especially inviting for the gamers who perhaps aren’t as interested in delving into video games that are purely mental health orientated and perhaps just feel like playing a quirky platformer. By putting the subject matter into an engaging storyline, it allows more subtle explorations into topics that many games don’t explore.

From the initial reviews, you can already tell that people are loving the game, not only because of its quirky ever-changing gameplay and style, but because of its relatable way of exploring mental health in more joyful and positive ways.

Safe In Our World has always recognised the power of video games and telling stories, which is echoed by our affiliates and our community. Psychonauts 2 manages to cover so many tough subject matters in such a unique way, which makes us hopeful that more developers will engage and experiment with mental health representation within their games in the future. The video games of today are constantly changing and evolving, and provide a platform for gamers to explore and reflect on their own mental health in an engaging way.

Skills utilised:
News

Lake

Set in the 1980’s, players take on the role of Meredith Weiss, a woman brought back home to help her father by taking his role as a postal worker while her family enjoys a holiday away.

Along the way, players will deliver packages and letters whilst discovering more about the locals and choosing how they interact with them.

As time passes, you start to realise how alive Lake feels, whilst the gameplay focuses on choosing your path, listening and communicating.

As the game moves forward, you see the effects of what you do on the people you talk to, you’ll also make some new relationships and possibly even a love interest along the way. We chose Lake because while playing through, it stood out as a game that taught you to sometimes stop, and listen, one small act of kindness can change a life and who knows where these little acts could take you. Empathy and understanding are key throughout the game, though it is all down to player-choice which makes the learning process a lot more interesting. When not talking to the locals, you’ll be delivering packages, mail and sometimes even other little tasks depending on how you communicate with certain people.

Features:

  • Explore a beautiful lakeside town and make friends with its inhabitants
  • Choose the way you live the life of Meredith Weiss
  • A fun and relaxing postal working job

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2 throws us back in Double Fine’s wonderful and weird world of Psychonauts. We delve back into the life of Raz who is now an intern at Psychonauts HQ.

Players will take a deep dive into other characters’ minds and discover all sorts of situations that simulate things many of us experience regularly.

Not is all as it seems at the HQ, not since the second in command, Forsythe, had taken over in the absence of Zanotto after his kidnapping. Raz and the gang will also explore and fix people’s minds by going into them using psychic powers.

This introduces the players to incredible worlds that are handled delicately and sensitively with respect, even containing a heartfelt warning message before you jump in warning players of the triggers and content.

The quirky and cartoon style comes to life with its unique art style, wonderfully gripping storyline and gameplay that keeps changing to keep the experience fresh. Psychonauts 2 belongs on our list for exploring difficult subjects in a heartfelt and respectful way, as well as being a fun 3D platformer allowing players to explore this wonderfully created world from Double Fine.

Features:

  • A fantastic story that centers around mental health
  • Unique art style
  • Ever-changing gameplay
  • Brilliant accessibility and customization

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 allows players to fly some of the most notable aircraft from around the world in a complete photo-realistic representation of Earth. Whether you’re a casual flyer who is looking for some time in the clouds to find your own home, or a hardcore simulator player who wants that true to life pilot experience, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has you covered.

This game might just be one of the most relaxing games up there (no pun intended). With the ability to fly to absolutely any location around the world, you can visit the Pyramids, explore some of the most tropical beaches in the world, or visit famous city landmarks. You can really turn this game into your experience and with live traffic and a live weather mode, you can experience what’s going on in the world right from your own home.

You can truly lose yourself in just flying from point A to B. We recommend sticking Spotify on in the background with our Safe In Our World playlists for an extra surreal experience.

Features:

  • Whether you want a casual fly or the true pilot experience, you choose your path
  • Fly to absolutely anywhere in the world, even your own home
  • Relax and watch the world go by, chase storms or just admire the forces of nature

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

The Space In Between

The Space In Between is an emotional dating sim about June. June is an Asian-American trying to discover her identity while also coping with mental health issues.

On this journey between June and Miles her love interest players will experience a stargazing trip and create stories depending on the strong and powerful narrative. The developers of the title describe the game as “The Space In Between is a vignette into modern relationships, a story that will leave you calling your close ones to tell them you love them”.

Look up, let go, and take a chance on the night sky.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 centres around the freedom to drive the open road and explore the beautiful environment of Great Britain.

It’s more than just a racing game – it’s an impressively authentic replica of the UK’s scenic gems, where you can be as competitive or as leisurely as you please.

Enjoy stunning lighting and weather effects and a detailed ambient soundscape, enabling an immersive experience as you drive off into the sunset, looking for your next challenge…or, just watching the world go by.

You can team up or drive solo while Forza allows you to escape to the beauty spots of the UK. Whether it’s racing a steam train along the Glenfinnan viaduct, exploring the streets of historic Edinburgh, roaming the wild Yorkshire Moors as you perfect your skills challenge, or just having a scenic drive through the Cotswolds – Forza Horizon 4 might just be the therapeutic drive you’ve been looking for.

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Ruya

Described as a game of tranquillity through the art of matching pieces of Ruya in the world of her dreams.

Players will engage in a wonderful and relaxing puzzle experience in which you will face a multitude of challenges aimed to help relax the player. 

With 64 handcrafted puzzles, players will slide, swipe, pop and release cute characters so that Ruya can progress and unfold her memories. 

Features: 

  • Relaxing gameplay
  • Beautifully handcrafted puzzles
  • Visual narrative to encourage positive emotion

 

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

5 Games to Cheer You Up by Richard Breslin

It doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, sometimes a dose of happiness can be hard to come by, especially for those that suffer with depression.

However, as I discovered as a child and right on through to present day as a married man with a son, videogames play just as an important role in improving my mental health, possibly even more so as I’ve gotten older.  There are so many games that I love, whether it be an epic adventure, a superhero saving the day, a game of football or something creative, they all play a role in my happiness.

So with that said, as challenging as it has been to narrow down just five games, I’ve compiled a short list that I believe do a great job in cheering me up by putting a smile on my face, and I hope that they can do the same for you too.


Two Point Hospital

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

A spiritual successor to the beloved Theme Hospital, Two Point Hospital carries the torch into the modern day with giving you the responsibility of running your very own successful hospital.  However, this is no mere hospital, as its filled with unpredictable chaos and bags of humour.  You’ll be tasked with insuring that patients leave satisfied (preferably alive), making sure that staff are not skiving from their duties, oh and you’ll have to make sure that you don’t turn Two Point Hospital into a financial ruin and to show appreciation for your efforts, you’ll might  even be rewarded with end-of-year awards at a prestigious ceremony.  On the surface, Two Point Hospital may be judged as a business simulator and in some part that is true, but it’s also one of the most entertaining, funny and immersive games that I’ve played in recent times.


Concrete Genie

PlayStation 4/PSVR

Concrete Genie is a heart-warming story of a boy named Ash that lives in the small town of Denska.  A once thriving fishing community brimming with life, much of this town is now polluted, abandoned and decayed.  Ash is a lonely child that takes comfort in doodling creative art work in his notebook.  But when a group of bullies target Ash, they steal his note book, tear it to pieces which leaves the pages scattered throughout the derelict town.  So Ash embarks on a quest to recover his lost pages, but he soon discovers unexpected companions after finding a magical paint brush that brings his art work to life and brims the town with colour.  Concrete Genie has a unique gameplay feature that utilises the motion controls of the DualShock 4 that has you doodling your unique creations in-game before they spring to life with character, personality and vibrant colour.  Concrete Genie may have a campaign, but it’s a heart-warming story of a boy struggles, and an experience that will live with you for years to come.


Dreams

PlayStation 4

In Dreams from LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule, your “dreams” can quite literally come true.  The LittleBigPlanet series has always been about user created content with some impressive levels have been created by the community over the years since the first game released in 2008 for the PS3.  However, Dreams can take your creativity to the next level, whether it’s your own unique games, perhaps you wanted to finish a cancelled game or something based up your favourite movie?  You can even create something for visual purposes, for example, have you seen that life-like Full English breakfast?  The thought of it alone makes my mouth water!  But even if you don’t feel like creating, there are 1000’s of uploaded user created content which grows by the day, which you can check out for yourself.  Dreams also offers a perfect taste for anyone thinking of getting into videogame development.  Whether you want to be inspired or be the one inspiring, Dreams can give you a feeling of accomplishment and achievement like not many other games can.


Untitled Goose Game

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Untitled Goose Game is one of the most ridiculous games that I’ve ever played and it just so happens to be one of the funniest too.  The premise is simple, you are a Goose in a village, you’re placed in an area and you must complete as many of the in-mission objectives as you can.  However, while you go about your duties as a Goose, it is also your duty to torment the villagers and cause as much chaos in the process as you can!  Pinch picnic supplies, set off sprinklers, steal a garden rake, trap people in a phone booth, torment locals in the pub or just creep up to your unsuspecting victim to make them jump in fright with a loud HONK!  Yet beneath all of this chaos, is a surprising depth of puzzle solving that will have you scratching your head.  You may not initially think it, but Untitled Goose Game is like something that you’ve never played before and I can’t recommend it enough.


DOOM Eternal

PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Google Stadia

Now this is of course a mature game, and its 18-rated for a reason, so please only play this game if you meet the age requirements.  Throughout the years, the premise of DOOM has always been a simple one, The Slayer aka Doom Guy visits Mars where all hell has been unleashed and it’s his job to eliminate the demons to save the day.  DOOM (2016) was a fantastic reboot for the series, with gorgeous (and gruesome) visuals, fast & frantic gameplay and an adrenaline pumping soundtrack.  The latest release DOOM Eternal brings all the elements that made the 2016 release so great, and then expands upon its success to make it one of the best sequels in recent times.  For me, one of the factors that makes DOOM Eternal so great, is that the high-octane gameplay can actually work as a great stress release with its surprising therapeutic nature.  DOOM Eternal is one of the best games of this generation and ultimately, one of the most satisfying.  Now if you excuse me, I have some demons to slay!

Well, that’s my short list, and I hope that there’s something here that you might not have played.  Have you got any recommendations for games that will put a smile on our faces?  We’d love to hear your suggestions across our social media pages below!

 

Skills utilised:
Covid 19, News

Tetris Effect: Connected

Tetris is back, in a new and mesmerising way.

Tetris Effect: Connected offers different gameplay modes in classic Tetris style, accompanied by uniquely relaxing, dulcet sounds.

While it seems like a simplistic title, the combination of a classic challenge and a calming soundtrack can easily whisk you away from reality.

Key Features:

  • Colourful and unique design
  • Music that changes as you play
  • A challenge that starts off easy and increases the better you get
  • Different modes to suit your play
  • Multiplayer

 

 

Skills utilised:
Games & apps

Play for Less

Let’s talk about money. There’s no doubt that for most, video games are a treat rather than something you buy every week. Spending money now has the added complication from COVID-19, as many of us are under pressures from work, on furlough, or without a regular source of income.

For most countries across the world, restrictions are meaning spending more time indoors, away from friends and family. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to combat this and connect virtually with your loved ones. Whether it’s sharing a treasured game with a fellow gamer, exploring different styles of games, or looking to jump into the world of gaming – there is something for everyone.

We’ve curated a thrifty list of platforms where you can source free games, free trials or fantastic deals, so it’s one less thing to worry about if you need to escape the world for a little while…

 

PC

FanaticalFanatical have regular Steam bundles that are heavily discounted, and occasionally offer free games as well.

Humble Bundle Humble Bundle offer discounted games, bundles, and occasionally a free game to download too.

Epic GamesEpic are well known for offering one free game a week, as well as featuring free-to-play games and discounts.

Indie GalaOffers bundles, discounts, giveaways and free-to-play games.

SteamLots of free-to play games, regular discounts and sale events.

StadiaFree trial to premier membership (cancel at any time) to access games collections.

Blizzard NetOffers free-to-play games as well as discounted games.

Arena NetOffers free-to-play games, such as Guild Wars.

 

PlayStation

PlayStation Plus – Free Trial – Sub Cost – Platform – PS4/5

PlayStation Now – Free Trial – Sub Cost – Platform – PS4

 

Xbox

Xbox Gold – Free Trial – Sub Cost – Platform – Xbox

Xbox Game Pass – $1 Trial – Platform – PC / Console / Mobile

 

Nintendo

Nintendo Membership – Free Trial – Sub Cost – Platform – Switch

 

Mobile

iOS – There are hundreds of free games and apps available on the Apple store – from tetris to open world RPGs, explore the store to find something up your street.

Android – Again, hundreds of free games available on Android. You’d be surprised at what you can find!

Humble Bundle As with PC, Humble Bundle offer discounted games, bundles, and occasionally a free game to download too.

StadiaFree trial to premier membership (cancel at any time) to access games collections.

 

Skills utilised:
Covid 19, News

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