While browsing the internet for new games to review, we stumbled upon The Mind of Marlo. Introduced to the player as a TV show about people with various issues – a “mockumentary” of sorts – this game’s actually a point n’ click adventure developed by PointBleepStudios.
The original project saw the light of day in 2015, during Ludum Dare #33. Back then, the team was tasked with developing a short game around a rather peculiar theme. Even though the one we played comes straight from Steam, an earlier version has already been on Itch.io for a while.
In its current state, The Mind of Marlo is a short but extremely intense game. It is a title that manages to present psychological ailments in an innovative and stunning way. If you’re on the market for an immersive, fun, and unique experience, you might want to keep reading!
Meet Marlo Davenport…
Suffering from Silly Head Syndrome, the protagonist is striving to find a cure. To succeed, he’ll have to dig into his own past. As the players make their way through the scenes, memories and dramatic anecdotes will help them reconstruct Marlo’s life. Extremely funny lines keep the spirits high for everyone but the main character himself.
An entire playthrough takes slightly less than an hour; enough to catch your attention without getting boring. Personally, I found this to be extremely appealing. Where other games tend to water their story-lines down, ultimately making them uninteresting, The Mind of Marlo comes forth as a fresh, minimalistic, and humble experience.
Silly Head Syndrome and Dissociative Identity Disorder
This title’s end credits – besides showing the names of those who worked on the game – include a role which we simply couldn’t ignore. Alongside artists, cameramen, writers, and musicians, a researcher also appears. While that person likely doesn’t exist, the fact that it is there gives us a glimpse of a much deeper message.
In our eyes, this Silly Head Syndrome appears as a metaphor for dissociative identity disorders. The idea of discussing this extremely serious issue through funny transformations is just as effective as it is original. Exactly as it would happen in real life, each of Marlo’s personalities has its own wishes, needs, and tastes. There’s also a plot twist that we promised not to spoil!
Traveling through Marlo’s head, we couldn’t miss a few details that showed us just how well the devs know what they’re talking about. The entire game is nothing else but an attempt, by its protagonist, to learn what caused the disorder and how to deal with it. To us, it also appeared as a great way to raise awareness and share bits of knowledge.
All of this left such a deep impression that we wanted to learn more about what led to it. A few hours and a Twitter conversation later, we had all of the answers that we could hope for. According to the people behind the project, The Mind of Marlo was never built as a game about mental issues.
Instead, transformations and reactions had been designed solely to sound hilarious. Nevertheless, we can’t ignore how half of this duo actually works alongside people who suffer from psychological problems. It is entirely possible that, perhaps unconsciously, the writer might have based some of the dialog upon his daytime job.
So? What’s Our Final Verdict?
The truth behind the birth of this tiny adventure changes little. As you can probably imagine, we consider today’s game an absolute yes! The Mind of Marlo manages to be, in its simplicity, an extremely well-made title. Not only it is more than capable to entertain us; it also sports everything we could hope for in an independent project!
Originality and deeper meanings are a rarity in today’s gaming industry. These two features and a pleasant pixel-based artstyle were more than enough to earn the game our seal of approval! For less than what you’d spend on a cup of coffee, you can get plenty of fun and live a unique experience that you’ll rarely ever find in another game!
Original article – in Italian – by Elisa Napolitano