Think Like a Shrink is a simple introduction to the many psychological defenses individuals use to cope with negative feelings. The game, released on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, teaches the basics of therapy with a clean and lively presentation. However, due to short length, the game feels incomplete and leaves players wanting more.
Developed by Mind Gamz, Think Like a Shrink uses characters from Greek mythology to present the basic defenses people use to suppress anxiety and negative feelings. The game is the first in a series of “emotional fitness” titles to be released by Mind Gamz. Psychiatrists Dr. C.L. Zois and Dr. Roosey Khawly were consulted on the game’s design to ensure the content was accurate. Dr. Zois is the author of a popular psychotherapy book by the same name. Read More...
In Think Like a Shrink, players are introduced to Achilles, who is having difficulty coping with his anger after losing his girlfriend to his boss, Agamemnon. During seven chapters, players will learn about nine defensive mechanisms people use over the course of the game: denial, fantasy, intellectualization, rationalization, avoidance, displacement, helplessness, anger and vagueness.
Through three therapy sessions, you will learn to challenge and question Achilles’ defenses in order to persuade him to reveal his true feelings and help him solve his problem. After completing the therapy, players are asked to complete a fill-in-the-blank test, summarizing Achilles’ story and demonstrating their understanding of the issues presented.
For every therapy session, players are allowed up to five mistakes and offered two hints. I found the five mistake limit a bit irritating. In some cases, I would use up all my mistakes trying to answer a single question—having to restart an entire chapter over, sometimes more than once, which became a bit of a chore.
Think Like a Shrink offers an attractive presentation with brightly coloured and cartoony flash-animated graphics. Cut scenes detailing the story can be skipped. However, bringing up the option to skip them is a tad awkward, requiring players to touch somewhere on the screen, around the edges. Even to this point, I still can’t bring up this menu at will. Otherwise, the controls are simple and straightforward.
The game is very short and can be played through in about an hour. The current version of the game only offers one patient, Achilles, though developers expect to release additional characters later on. After finishing Achilles’ three therapy sessions, players are introduced to Helen of Troy who is the next scheduled patient. I was initially under the impression that this character was available to play right away and was disappointed to see that I had in fact finished the game. While new cases are on the way, I feel the game would have benefited by offering more content from the get-go.
Despite its flaws, Think Like a Shrink is an excellent introduction to psychology and really does help players think like a therapist. I noticed that I personally use many of the defense mechanisms presented and expect that having learned about them will help me better face my own negative feelings.
While the game feels incomplete, I recommend it nonetheless. I would however suggest waiting until more characters have been added for a more satisfying gameplay experience. Despite its current length, Think Like a Shrink is an innovative game which succeeds in teaching the basics of psychotherapy in an interactive and entertaining way.
+ Original Game Concept and Subject Matter
+ Excellent Presentation
- Too Short
- Certain Controls are Awkward
Game Forward Score: 3/5
Nathalie Caron > Game Forward
Think Like a Shrink (iPhone/iPod Touch) Quick Facts:
Developer: Mind Gamz
Publisher: Mind Gamz
Release Date: Sept 2, 2009 (v1.1)
Price: $1.99 US/CAN
iTunes Rating: 4+