Brain please don’t is a game that looks at a variety of mental health issues, as well as trauma, with you picking and choosing your experience. The game is not recommended for those who could provide a trigger for you.
*Spoilers for the game ahead*
You play as Cameron, a 17-year-old high school junior as you try to improve their life over the course of an in-game week.
At the start of the game you pick what mental health issues Cameron will face throughout the game. From a choice of ten you are told to pick at least two, with the more you pick making the experience harder. For my first playthrough I picked four; Demanding parents, High Anxiety, Frequent Depression and Negative Body-Image.
Each of these mental health issues comes with cards which have either positive or negative effects (sometimes both!) which will assist you throughout your playthrough.
On the same screen you pick your coping behaviours, again you have a list of ten that can provide cards as well. You are advised to pick the same number of behaviours as the mental health issues you picked earlier. I picked four; Games frequently, takes antidepressants, drinks alcohol and practices sports.
You deal with a range of scenarios throughout the game, from basic things of crossing the street to handling a high school party. You must pick what to do or say in each interaction. If you pick a negative response you get a card that can negatively affect your stats, and if you pick a positive response you get the opposite.
You have one answer available as default – but this always gives off a negative effect on your states. To unlock answers which don’t give you a negative stat, and instead give you a neutral or positive, you can use cards that you are given to improve your stats. However, some of these will negatively affect your other stats. This isn’t completely clear when you start playing.
In my first play-through, I didn’t do very well and did not affect Cameron’s mood at all. Therefore I tried a second play-through once I understood the game better. In this play-through, I kept with the original four mental health issues and coping behaviours but added addiction and smoking weed to up the challenge.
Despite my struggles on my first play-through, the second was much better, as I positively improved Cameron’s mood. I like the last statement at the end of the game.
“Cameron will continue to be broken, in various ways. Like all of us. But maybe after this week, just a little less broken”.
I think this statement is a great addition to the game. Emphasising life is hard, and it isn’t easy to positively change your life, and you can’t improve in a week, but you can start the tough road to recovery.
The art style was nice, it was calm and relaxing. The background reminds me of a painting, with there almost being brush strokes in the display.
The game didn’t take long to complete. Roughly taking me 20 minutes on each play-through. But it is very replayable. With each scenario providing a range of responses that affect Cameron differently. As well as the different range of mental health issues and coping behaviours you can pick there are countless ways to play this game.
Made by Critique Gaming, Brain Please Don’t was released in 2020 and is available for 79p on steam and can be played on both PC and Mac. The low price of the game makes it definitely worth a try.