What do you get when you combine a game about mental health, a 17-year old developer and some very artsy puzzles?
Fractured Minds is about what it’s like to suffer from anxiety, made by Emily Mitchell and Wired Productions. It deservedly won BAFTA’s Young Game Designer award, and any title with some deeper meaning certainly grabs my attention. Fractured Minds, however, is something else entirely.
Players will go through a series of six atmospheric puzzle rooms all about finding your way to the next level while representing the difficulties that those with mental health issues face on a day-to-day basis. These ailments manifest in many ways in Emily’s game, such as a disembodied voice telling you off when you get things wrong, picking up the incorrect item over and over again or incredibly tense music despite simple situations.
Each level is intended to represent one of the many struggles people with mental health issues face, such as isolation, panic, and anxiety. One striking scene was at a party, surrounded by balloons and a cake, yet there remains a feeling of foreboding and tension, as though something might pounce on you at any moment. This, according to Emily, is exactly what anxiety can feel like, especially at a place like a party, where a positive mood is expected of you.
Building upon the portrayal of mental issues, Emily says that she made the game to help those suffering from anxiety and depression feel less alone.
The game is currently less than £2 on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and Xbox One, and 80% of the proceeds are split between Emily Mitchell and mental health charity aimed at the gaming community, Safe in our World. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is working with understanding the feeling of anxiety, isolation and exhaustion through the interactive medium of a game.
Featured image credit: IGDB
Last modified: 14th February 2020