Figment – A Playful Approach to the Mind’s Trauma

Bedtime Digital Games is back with a new game called Figment. The action-adventure game released in late September of this year has the player controlling Dusty, a guardian of the mind who is needed once again. Chasing down the traumas inflicting the mind, Dusty and his trusty bird friend Piper, travel great distances to seek out and destroy the suffering. Their journey takes them around the brain to areas such as the appropriately named Cerebrum city and Freedom Isles. Join Dusty and Piper in a grand and beautiful world solving complex puzzles and defeating the anguish inflicting the mind once and for all.

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Starting up the game, I immediately plugged in my controller to see what Figment would best be played with. I was in for a pleasant surprise as the controller felt just as good in my hands as the mouse and keyboard, if not better. The vibrations, easy controls, and nostalgia of playing my Xbox sealed the deal for me as I continued the game with the controller. Figment includes more than just a story to follow and enemies to tackle. It includes many sections that aren’t mandatory to continue the story. These usually include memories or as the game calls them, “Remembranes”. One of these Remembranes includes a young boy named Todd who says “Go away, you jerk. I never want to play with you again!”. Remembrances are an insight into why the mind is experiencing all the trauma we see and fight.  You can also knock on the doors of local residents of the mind, and listen as they express their concerns or say a witty comment. Details like this make or break a game and Figment is definitely a stellar example of how including features like these really add to a game’s enjoyment.

The first 10 minutes of the game was basically an introduction to the mechanics and one of the main villains, Nightmare. Dusty obviously isn’t new to the whole saving the mind thing, as Piper drops many hints that they have known each other for a long time. Piper asks Dusty for help once again but he’s reluctant saying that the mind has moved on. Only when Dusty is personally affected by the Nightmare, a skinny purple entity with four arms who steals Dusty’s martini and scrapbook, that he decides to go after it. We retrieve his sword, solve an abundance of simple puzzles, and meet the mayor, who oddly talks only in rhymes, and sends us on a mission to destroy the three sources of trauma.

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From there Dusty and Piper travel into the right hemisphere of the brain, which is a huge change of scenery. We go from a dull, dark and rainy region of the brain, to a bright, vibrant and lively area which is no doubt in reference to a more creative part of the mind. Musical instruments are abundant as guitars, trombones and flutes are placed all over the land, some of which serve as plant life. Within the first five minutes of arriving, we are introduced to the second villain, Plague man. Plague man seems to take advantage of our fear of sickness as he spews toxic gas and summons rodents that sneeze and do damage. As a side note, I’m a fan of how Dusty dies in this game. If you take too much damage from the gas or the rodents, Dusty poofs away in a cloud of smoke only to quickly reappear at the last checkpoint. The death animation isn’t overly done and you are quickly returned to play the game once more.

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As you progress through the game, the puzzles become more and more complex. Figment isn’t a type of game that you can breeze through. It requires thinking, patience and the occasional YouTube walk through and for some people, this is their cup of tea.

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I’m sure we can all think of a period in our life where our heads were filled with darkness and despair. We all go through it, everything in our life isn’t going to go as perfectly as we’d like to. Sometimes we are troubled with anxiety, depression, and fear and this is what the game bases its story off of. The antagonists in the game are our real-life fears visualized as quirky and humorous villains that perform the occasional musical performances. They run like cowards as you bravely continue your journey to rid the minds of the difficulties. Figment takes a playful approach to the very grim realities many people face on a day to day basis. It’s a game for all age groups and each group will enjoy and analyze the game differently. In the end, Figment is about facing your fears and how life is just one big game that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

I enjoyed many aspects of the game and had little to complain about. The dazzling and elegant world the game had to offer was one of its finest qualities. It was filled with detail with more than just a story to follow. Knocking on the doors of the inhabitants, I found myself curious about what everyone had to say. Perhaps if the residents walked out of their house, and showed their faces instead of just lighting up a window, it would’ve added to the game’s great design. Although the combat was light, it was solid enough. Figment isn’t entirely about combat but when you slay your enemies you get the feeling of satisfaction that makes you want to do it all over again.The combat can feel a bit frustrating at times as the enemies routinely disappear and reappear as they cycle through their abilities. This is mostly solved as some of the enemies share a health pool, so once one of them dies, so do the rest. The puzzles can sometimes seem overwhelming as the setting zooms out and you can see all the different parts that you have to deal with. However, completing one, especially a long complex puzzle gives you a sense of gratification that keeps the game moving. Finally, the musical performances add a great touch to the game. The catchy tunes are placed perfectly with the situations and I found myself humming to them sometimes. Overall the game has good combat, thought-provoking puzzles, fetching music and a diverse and stylish environment that connects to the ever-growing anxiety, depression, and sickness around the world.  

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Enomview Score: 8 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/493540/Figment/