For the past few years, a handful of developers has been experimenting with the idea of first-person games that don’t rely on guns and gore. These alternative approaches have taken numerous forms. Some opt for horror, while others emphasise survival. Many choose a combination of puzzling and narrative to hold the player’s interest, putting varying degrees of emphasis on one or the other. Mind: Path to Thalamus is a little different. Its weapon of choice is awe.
Thalamus features puzzles and narrative too, but it sets them up within astonishing environmental design that will leave you gazing in slack-jawed delight. It’s one of the very few examples of the form that could realistically dispense with any player interaction whatsoever; puzzles, storytelling – it could drop them all and it would still be absolutely worth your time to investigate. But it contains these elements as well, for better and worse.