LifeisXbox’s Mindhack preview | ‘Humans as machines’ is a theory that has been around at least for as long as we have the concept of digital computing. Not only the comparison of the human body with a mechanical device, but the comparison of the human brain to a computer running code. This is the concept underlying Mindhack’s premise. The doctor is in, ready to hack some minds and reform criminals that exhibit dangerous BUGs before they can fester and proliferate; and that doctor is you.
Mindhack was developed by VODKAdemo? and published by VODKAdemo?, room6 and yokaze.
ℹ️ Previewed on PC | Preview code provided by PR/publisher, this preview is the personal opinion from the writer and is based on an unfinished game.
There’s no two ways around it, Mindhack is a charmful game. The art is gorgeous, the character portraits are expressive, the music is simply superb, the hand animations! (Everyone who has ever tried to draw a hand knows the soul-crushing amount of effort that takes.) There’s a good amount of quality-of-life features as well, such as the ability to save anywhere and a text speed slider that goes from instant to the speed of bureaucracy.
For a story-based affair, the story will be doing the heavy lifting. I am pleased to inform you that the story is well presented, keeps a good pace, holds back enough mystery to remain engaging and is carried by interesting characters. The interactions between characters don’t overstay their welcome, feel believable and even manage to be genuinely funny at times.
Despite the positives, Mindhack is not without some negatives. The most glaring issue I encountered is the amount of redundant lines of dialogue one comes across even in a single playthrough. At first I thought this might be due to the choices I made, but after double checking, many of the redundancies are part of shared conversations between them. Speaking of dialogue choices… Another issue with this game is the lack of consequences. You can pick different dialogue options and you’ll get different reactions, sure; you can mess up in the typing sections (the hacking minigame) too and get some red bad triangles over the screen too. However, none of it has any real consequence! For what it’s worth, the developers have addressed this, mentioning that the full game will have different paths and actual consequences.
Lastly, the constant bugbear of any Early Access product: it’s too short! The current version has three chapters (cases) and a fair amount of extra documents to read on each of the subjects. I fear that the asking price might be a bit steep for the current amount of content.
This one deserves its own section. Almost all interactions are accompanied by music, and given that there’s no voice acting, it is paramount that it sets the mood just right. It manages to go from relaxed soft synth melodies for the quieter moments to Danganronpa-reminiscent bombastic tracks once a confrontation happens. With all that said, I have to mention that the asking price to acquire the OST (at least on Steam) is quite steep as well. Please, Vodkademo, let me vibe!
Although I wish it weren’t so, any recommendation I can make in favour of Mindhack comes with the very big caveat that you are paying for an unfinished product. If you know the topic interests you, then you can consider the current offering a demo or prologue to the full adventure. If you are on the fence about it, I’d advise it’s best to wait for it to be closer to completion before making a decision. (Though if that OST ever goes on sale at a good price, that’s a different story!)
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