I first discovered this gratifying indie pleasure at EGX in late September. It’s charming art style and sound design stood out in a room full of talent and similarly engaging titles. Across the weekend a constant stream of people frequented the Figment stall, many appearing to leave sporting a familiar grin.
I won’t go too far into detail with the game’s story arch, it’s an absolute treat and far better off left for you to explore in your time with the title. That being said, the basic premise revolves around exploring the inner workings of an old gentleman’s mind. Our protagonist, Dusty, is a physical manifestation of courage and is partnered along his adventure by the ever-optimistic Piper. Together, they must beat back the nightmare’s that plague the mind.
Aesthetically, Figment shines in both its art style and world design. The eccentric hand-drawn world is brimming with character, life and whimsical nods to nostalgic times gone by. Resembling something somewhere between Van Gogh and Dali, it’s easy to quickly fall in love with the game’s unique environment. Navigating through the platform to platform based world, there is life at every glance as its use of household objects helps to establish a background for the gentleman whose mind you’ll find yourself roaming. From golden trumpets to a rather garish set of standard desk pencils, these items often provide the key to progression within Figment, allowing you to build bridges, sail over gaps or climb heights in order to hunt down the various creatures across the land.
The eccentric hand-drawn world is brimming with character, life and whimsical nods to nostalgic times gone by. Resembling something somewhere between Van Gogh and Dali, it’s easy to quickly fall in love with the game’s unique environment.
It’s apparent throughout Figment that sound design was of paramount importance. It’s hard to completely capture the essence of the game’s sound design in a word, however, it’s probably best suited to the word satisfying. Not satisfying in the way that something is okay or average. Satisfying in the way that you might describe popping bubble wrap or the sound that’s emitted when stepping on freshly laid snow. When Dusty swings his sword, the audible rush of air that’s used to fulfil the action sounds exactly like it should and its the same for pretty much every sound effect throughout the game. This level of detail adds to the game’s authenticity, helping you to feel at home within its brightly layered world.
Unfortunately, the voice acting is a little more hit and miss. Dusty and piper’s characters have a childlike feel to them, which fits perfectly with the game’s narrative. There’s a sense of innocent arrogance to them, which makes you believe their story. Whilst they do occasionally air on the side of caution, they’re carefree nature allows them to venture into a world full of danger remaining relatively optimistic each step of the journey. However, the interactions between Dusty and the game’s villain, the nightmare often feel a little more forced. The nightmare, at times, felt like that guy who turns up to a party loudly announces his presence and then hurls abuse in whatever direction he sees fit.
The dialogue between the two characters often don’t flow quite as smoothly as perhaps they should, and because of this, at times, I found myself losing interest in what was going on. Across the game, there is a range of interactive features. Often these take the form of houses, which you can knock on. Each house, whilst usually doing nothing to directly affect the narrative arch comes with its own unique interaction. Collectively, there are of accents, emotions and quirky characters that each reside around the mind. They neither make or break the game, yet throughout my time with Figment I often found myself smirking at the absurd responses I would gain from reaching out to each strange resident I came across.
Figment is a game that in reality is accessible regardless of your age. There’s a lesson to be learnt no matter how old you are as a player. If you’re young there’s a strong message to be found pushing you to form your own path in life. Dusty embodies a carefree attitude and shows us that there is much to be gained in harnessing that inner desire to explore, regardless of the treacherous situation that you may find yourself in. For the older player, the game speaks volumes about courage its self. It tells us not to back down to our phobias, even as they manifest over the years. Dusty reflects the best and worst of humankind. Moulded into a grumpy creature through his experience of an ugly world, he also carries with him the ability to grow, to look past the bad and instead fight and venture on to make that same world a better place.
This copy of Figment was given to our Editor-in-Chief, Jared by Bedtime Digital Games. He spent around seven hours running around with Piper trying to fix the mind of a broken man.