For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
I first came across Figment at EGX 2017. I found it when browsing around the indie section, and after playing it I wanted to interview a member of team (you can find my interview with Niels here). When I got back I was happy to get the play the game – so, did the full experience live up to my feelings from EGX?
The game bases itself on a real-life situation that has affected many people in trauma, and explores this in a beautiful way. The game starts where you hear the events of a car crash, and this is where the exploration of the mind that has suffered trauma comes into play. You are introduced to Dusty a very lethargic human, mouse and rabbit looking character, and his little sidekick Piper. It starts out with Dusty not believing that there is any threat as you go to get ice for his Cerebrum Cider, but when you return from getting the ice and it’s missing with his scrapbook, the game opens up.
You find out it has been stolen by a masked Nightmare, and you set out trying to capture this Nightmare and get back your scrapbook. This leads to you exploring two other areas within the brain and eliminating two minor nightmares in order to do this. I don’t really want to say much more about the story as it really is something you want to experience for yourself. All I want to add is the ending of the game will stick with me for a long time.
The gameplay is mix of puzzles and combat; but the main focus of Figment is the puzzles. For this reason I will start with the combat. The combat is system is as simple as they come, you have attack and dodge, and that is as complex as it gets. However, with a game like Figment this is not a problem, because it helps focus on the puzzles and everything else the game offers – I found I got through the game with very little deaths. When it comes to the puzzles you will also find these are not overly taxing to complete, but, you will still find them fun to complete. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t mean you will not get stumped by some of the puzzles – especially as you get into the final third of the game. Mixing together the combat and puzzles, you never feel like you are stuck and failing to progress – and this really helps you concentrate on the game’s story, which you will enjoy.
In the game you will also find optional memories to collect. Some are easy to find, and some are hidden behind puzzles. I found this is where some of the more difficult puzzles came into play. But, the good thing is these are optional, meaning you can continue with the game, and come back to these when you are ready to give them another go. Although these are optional I would really recommend trying to collect these, I found they give an insight to life outside of this creative mind, and some can be quite emotional and add to the story.
What attracted me to the Figment originally at EGX was the visual style of the game. For me it really made me think of a mix of Studio Ghibli, The Gruffalo and Tim Burton’s take on James and the Giant Peach. The hand drawn art-style of the game, not only makes it look unique, but makes every area of the mind you visit have a truly distinct feel. The surreal design of parts of the areas and the backgrounds also give the feeling the of my favourite artist Salvador Dali – especially the ear tree with the musical instruments around it.
To go with the beautifully designed visuals, they add some of the best sound work I have seen in a game for a long time. Figment is very much a musical adventure, but all the audio works well. Firstly, both the voice acting for Dusty and Piper are well done and it’s written so well to make these characters bounce of each other. You then have the Mayor that speaks in rhyme, and the rhyming is done so well. The musical part comes in when the bosses are talking, in Figment all the bosses talk in song. Be it a few lines as you bump into them, or they full rendition they give throughout the boss battles – all of which are done by Niels and his friends from his local music scene. Add to this the background music (that is played by parts of the levels as you explore them), and the funny lines you get from knocking on the doors of residents. This really does make the score of the game match the visual style and makes for an awesome overall presentation for the game.
If you play Figment for the purpose of just getting through the great story, you are likely looking at around 3 hours to complete the game. But, if you are wanting to find all the hidden memories around the game, you will add a bit more to the longevity of the game – I would say 4-5 hours depending on your skills in solving the puzzles. Either way you will not be disappointed with the time you have spent with the game, because of how beautifully it is all put together. I would also say it is a game you could go back to and play, just to experience it all again.