LifeisXbox’s Mind Scanners review | A month ago, we got a chance to write up a preview for Mind Scanners, a retro-futuristic psychiatry simulation in which you diagnose the citizens of a dystopian metropolis. If you want to see your daughter again, who is being held by The Structure in a facility to treat her ‘highly contagious mental illness’, you’ll have to do as they say. But will you comply, or team up with the resistance? I ended up enjoying playing the demo a lot and was very curious about the full release of Mind Scanners. The time has finally come, as this special little title is releasing today on Steam!
Greetings. Your Mind Scanner request has been approved. Your duty is to diagnose and treat the citizens of The Structure. The patient list is long so don’t waste your time. We’ll let you see your daughter soon…
We played Mind Scanners for over 5 hours on PC. This game is only available on PC.
What we liked!
- Time and resource management: Let me paint you a picture of what a typical day in The Structure. You start each day with 200 seconds of time. You’ll need this time to travel to patients, and most importantly, to cure them. You’ll start the day with a message from The Structure, some news, a message from the family of a former patient, or a note from resistance group Moonrise. After getting through those, you have a few patients waiting on you all over the city.
- Time: Depending on how far the patients are, traveling takes 10, 60, or maybe 100 seconds out of your time. When getting to a patient, the first thing you’ll do is chat a little with them. After this, you perform a mind scan. The patient gets shown various images, and they have to say what they see. Based on what they tell you, you diagnose them, choosing from three options, for example, ‘lacks empathy’. A wrong answer deducts valuable time, so you don’t want that. Get three answers right, and you can continue to the treatment. Getting an answer wrong will reduce one of your right answers, so that also kind of sucked, but made the game a little more challenging! After the mind scan, you move on to actually treating the people you deemed insane. When someone is insane, they get insanity types and amounts assigned, which will indicate what treatment devices are needed, and how often they have to be used. The time you have left, you’ll be spending curing patients of whatever mental disease they have.
- Resources: Besides time, you’ll also be managing your resources, namely ₭apok and science points. ₭apok is the monetary value in Mind Scanners, and it’s very important that you gain enough of it. At the end of every day, you have to pay 7 ₭apok, which is a way of paying taxes in return for housing, health care, and so on. If you manage to treat a patient, you earn 15 ₭apok. If you diagnose someone but you decide they are sane, then you also get 3 ₭apok. Whichever you chose, everything has consequences so think before you act! Another resource in Mind Scanners is the science points. Both ₭apok and science points are needed to buy new treatments (such as the sonar sequencer), special devices (like the de-stress pulse), and drugs (like the soulmate pill that protects the personality of your patient for 40 seconds).
- Patients treatment: I explained the major bits of treating citizens already, but there are a few extra’s that are also quite important to mention. Every person you treat has a stress level and a personality level. It’s best to keep the stress level to a minimum because reaching the maximum level here means the treatment ends because the person is just too stressed to continue. Whether or not you care about the personality of a citizen, is entirely up to you. You see, using these treatment devices from The Structure has an inconvenient side effect: the patient loses their personality, their identity. The Structure itself doesn’t really care about that, but Moonrise will urge you to break The Structure, not the patients you’re treating. Will you spend time and resources on saving people’s personalities, or will you just blindly follow The Structure’s orders in the hopes of seeing your daughter again as soon as possible?
- Replayability: Your choices will pretty much define your whole adventure. Will you obey The Structure and treat patients no matter what, or will you lean more towards resistance group Moonrise and take into account your patients’ personalities? Will you tell The Structure about the notes you receive from Moonrise? Or will you join the resistance’s course, with the risk of never seeing your daughter again? Mind Scanners definitely offers a fair amount of replayability. If you want to, you can do a playthrough on The Structure’s side, and another one on the Moonrise side. Or a run-through where you diagnose patients differently. There’s a lot of personal choice involved, that’s for sure!
- Go back in time: It’s also important to tell you that you can restart your progress from ANY DAY if you wish to. If you’re at Day 15, but you want to start again from Day 10, no problem at all, the game just lets you. This is definitely a player-friendly feature that allows you to easily retrace your steps if you later realize you wanted to do things differently a few days ago.
- Guidance vs discovering: Even though you get some help showing you how things work and what you have to do, you still get plenty to figure out for yourself as well. There is no clear tutorial but the basics are gradually explained within the first half-hour of the game. The description of the arcade-like devices is also quite rudimentary, but I honestly didn’t mind. Figuring out how all these treatment devices work was fun!
- Art style: I’m going to be straight with you: the graphics take a little getting used to. I wasn’t too fond of them at first, but their futuristic character really grows on you. The art style is very basic and has some dark ominous vibes that include brighter colors as well. The user interface is very easy to navigate so that’s definitely a plus as well.
- Repetitive and frustrating: Some people will find the gameplay a bit repetitive, I’m sure. There are only a set amount of treatments, and you’ll be using those same ones over and over again on different patients. Luckily, there are also extras, like pills and special devices. I didn’t really have a problem with Mind Scanners being repetitive. What ‘bothered’ me slightly more was my frustration with the game sometimes. Around Day 25, the gameplay gets increasingly more difficult because patients have more ‘amount’ values when being diagnosed, but the amount of time always remains a steady 200 seconds a day. Of course, you can buy upgrades, but gathering science points happens rather slowly, and there isn’t a way to really gain. more time in a day, except for random encounters with people that may or may not give you an extra boost in ₭apok, time, or whatever.
What we disliked
- Nothing to read here, yay!
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂