MIND: Path to Thalamus
Top Critic Average
The Path to Thalamus is not free of bumps, but the journey should be taken, if only because the sights are so vivid.
It's such a colossal shame, but I am certain not one that should put you off playing Mind. The puzzles are genuinely great, and it's just so unrelentingly eye-warmingly beautiful, that it wins out. As visual, explorable art, it's masterful. As a puzzle game, it's rewarding and taxing. As a narrative, it's a car driving into a lake. But in this case, two out of three is really rather good.
Mind: Path to Thalamus is a beautiful, inventive puzzle game that really makes you think.
It does enough in way of tasking players with approaching puzzle solving in ways they aren't accustomed to and, in doing so, more than justifies its place on the shelf and offers something a bit different for players.
At the end of the day, Mind: Path of Thalamus is a solid puzzle game that is well worth a playthrough. It's challenging enough that you won't blow through it, but quite accessible once you figure out the basics.
Mind: Path to Thalamus is, at times, messy, but it's a beautiful mess, one that still exhibits powerful moments of emotional impact that are so true to the game and the medium that it's almost painful. If the narrator is the creator—or vice versa—he seems afraid of letting the player and himself falter emotionally or logically, as though there were something wrong with offering a player a piece of a broken heart.
MIND: Path to Thalamus is an engaging game for the most part, rife with thought-provoking themes and motifs, beautiful settings, and plenty of allegorical symbolism to aid its emotionally-charged narrative. It's just a shame that instead of entrusting the game's narrative to those elements, Coronado opts to spell things out with overwrought exposition and questionable monologues that ultimately serve to remove the game's emotional impact. It's a striking, ambitious game, and one that's certainly not lacking in vision, but unfortunately its one major flaw is a big one.
Mind: Path to Thalamus, is a successful and prevalent piece of work. It bridges a gap between entertainment, gaming and art. It beholds an exhilarating and emotional experience. It challenges your mind without holding your hand and guiding you too blatantly. The rewards are personal, as a player you feel a real sense of accomplishment. The game is marred in some respects, but other than this, Mind: Path to Thalamus is a must have title for any serious gamer.
WORTH CONSIDERING - As a piece of visual art, Mind: Path to Thalamus is an experience that will have you in awe. The game side of things isn’t as rosy, with trial and error gameplay and a very weak and tacked on story. If those aren’t important to you then this one is definitely one to consider.
For people who enjoyed the classic Myst and games like it (full disclosure, I found them tedious) MIND has a lot in common with those, especially on a visual level. Some of the puzzles in that series were a bit on the obtuse side as well, though I’d say MIND may be a bit more guilty in that area overall. If you don’t mind the slow pace and lack of direction, and just like to stare in wonder at things you’ve never seen before, MIND does deliver in that area. It just lacks the cohesion and strength of play some other titles like it on Switch have been able to deliver more effectively.