Figment: A Journey Through The Mind

Figment promises to be an adventure filled with music, puzzles, and endorphins.

By Woozie, Posted 09 Aug 2017

Developed and published by the Denmark-based studio Bedtime Digital Games, Figment is a story-rich, isometric puzzle game that lets you explore the (quite colorful) inner mechanics of the human subconscious. The player takes control of the less-than-enthusiastic, yet brave protagonist, Dusty. Partnered with his more chipper friend (although Dusty refuses to acknowledge their friendship), Piper, the two set off to rid the mind of fears such as disease, death, and even spiders. "This mind has been quiet and calm for many years. But something has changed. New thoughts have started to emerge--taking the shape of nightmarish creatures who spread fear wherever they go. The only hope is for the grumpy Dusty, the mind's former voice of courage, to get back to his old self and help the mind to face its fears."

Figment, Screenshot, Feature, PC

Figment has players essentially running around the person's brain and trying to rebuild their courage by fighting a personified plague, a spider, and other bosses of the sort. All of these incorporate music into their encounters, making them rather theatrical, reminiscing, perhaps, about animated cartoons and their musical sequences. When you fight the Plague character, a personification of disease, with its two mouths and large red nose, it sings, or rather yells to rhythm, about various symptoms of illness, like vomiting, splitting headaches, fevers, and your eventual death, all the while throwing noxious, brown gas in your direction. Each "fear" has their own song with their own unique harmonies, mood and lyrics. Each of these foes manages to instill a sense of danger, or dread, without overturning the largely optimistic approach the game has.

There’s also a certain degree of interactivity when it comes to the general background music in Figment. This is most noticeable in Clockwork Town, the clock and gear-laden level. In this specific level, the background music runs at a two or so minute loop, which will be referred to as a base loop. There are additional instruments added and removed from this loop depending on where the player is in the level. For instance, there is a gear ticking at a certain rhythm to the beat. This sound will increase in volume if you were to make your way towards a ticking gear in the level, this gear track will become louder. This is just one example, the interactive, dynamic soundtrack is found in every level in one way, shape, or form.

As for level design, each area you travel to is a different aspect of the human mind. To name a couple examples, the level taking place in the logic center of the brain is filled with clocks, cogs, and mathematical elements, while the creativity center is the most vivid in color and abstract in design (there's an ear that grows out of a tree at one point). Everything is also hand-drawn. There has been a lot of love and dedication put into the art direction, and it shows. If you look closely, you can see the little brush strokes on the platforms, buildings, trees, and even the clouds.  

There’s an obvious appreciation for surrealism going on at Bedtime Digital Games and Figment is the second project where it’s highlighted. What seemingly sets the tone for most things that happen in the game is a traumatic event lived in the real world. This brings back a myriad of nightmares to life which Dusty, guided by the player must defeat. What’s especially great is how Figment contextualizes what would otherwise pass as fairly common puzzles. You need something to power a platform? Find that Synapse Battery. Can’t cross over to the other side? Get some trumpet pistons for a Brass Bridge. These little moments also express how rich Figment is both visually and in its imaginative capacity.

Figment, Feature, PC, Screenshot

Going for a more playful, color-filled take on a mind that’s going through a lot, the game throws together green floating islands with piles of clutter (old dolls and tangled wind instruments) in their corners, caterpillar bridges, or a house that’s a kettle. It’s an exercise in imagination and clearly a world that catches your eye from the very first moments. This becomes more evident as you advance from the creative center of the mind to the logical one, as mandolin plants get replaced by arrays of cogs working in unison to fulfill whatever purpose they are meant to fulfill. Following the same thread, aside from having a theatrical and an interactive element, Figment’s soundtrack is also rich in styles and instruments used. From the aforementioned mandolins to heavy metal guitars, accordions, and didgeridoos, there’s a varied auditory pallet that clearly enriches the time spent in Figment’s world.

The preview build didn’t showcase too much of Figment’s narrative. What it did showcase, however, is a world of color, a world of contrasts, a world where the audio and the visual join forces in a very effective way, offering cool little snippets in between the game’s larger moments. Whether it’s getting lost in the short, play-like nature of the boss fights, or simply going through the different parts of Figment’s representation of the human subconscious, there’s guaranteed appeal to be found here. We’re looking forward to experience it in full, once the game releases in September.

Jessica WellsBogdan Robert NoobFeed

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General Information

Figment

80/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Bedtime Digital Games
Developer(s): Bedtime Digital Games
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Surrealist, Indie
Release Date: 2017-09-22

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