Figment will draw you in with its whimsical charm and approachable gameplay.  If games like Botanicula, Bastion, or Braid spark your fancy, Figment may be worth a look.  And with that, let us get into the heart of the review.

Story

Figment begins with a vignette about a family outing.  Without spoiling any of the introduction, some events occur that introduce Piper and Dusty.  Piper and Dusty travel throughout the mind, seeking to determine what has disturbed their existence.  Alluding to tragedy and recovery, they slowly piece together the issue by puzzling and fighting their way through phobias and fear itself.  The story is approachable and appropriate for all ages, a rare thing for most games these days.  By tackling trauma with tact, Bedtime Digital Games is taking an approach similar to how Pixar approaches difficult subjects.  Furthermore, they have succeeded for the most part with Figment.

Throughout the four plus hour playthrough, Figment never overstayed its welcome.  Although rather slow and plodding at the beginning, Figment started to truly put on its charm especially by the end.  The character, though likable, were not necessarily memorable.  However, the main charm of the game was definitely the music and set pieces that capture the attention.  Approaching the ending was bittersweet, because Piper and Dusty showed growth and made me vested in their success.  Overall, Figment has a story that will hold interest and push some towards discovery and recovery.

Sound

Truly, sound design can make or break a game.  However, in Figment, it definitely is center stage and shining bright.  The world itself is alive with sound, giving it a similar feel to Botanicula which also used the soundtrack to create a unique experience.  The soundtrack sets the pace and the mood as Piper and Dusty discover the truth.  However, marks need to be taken off for some of the voice acting.  Even though it is definitely unique, it can be grating and clumsy at times.  The banter between Piper and Dusty can be fun one minute, then annoying and forced the next.  To be honest, it is likely due to the fact that the developer is Danish but delivery does tend to sound awkward and unpolished.

The songs definitely take center stage, although it is kind of odd when the bosses kick up a rousing melody.  At first, it seemed out of place and off-putting.  As the Figment progresses, it sometimes feels like a Disney musical.  However, towards the end of the game it takes the forefront and made the final minutes of the game tense and enjoyable.  Overall, it never left me wanting more than a bit more natural delivery to some of the dialog, and in the end Figment even left me listening as the credits rolled.

 

Making music one puzzle at a time.

Graphics

Hand-drawn games always have a certain charm that is hard to get anywhere else.  The effort to make the game look like a painting is always appreciated.  The world in Figment definitely captures the imagination, whimsical at first while turning darker and grim towards the end of the game.  Throughout, Figment never loses it’s charm, and even the smallest details show care.

Flying onward through bills and rivers of ink.

Some of the animations show some rigidity to them, generally expected in an indie game using the Unity engine.  But that does not distract from the painted aesthetic, and even adds to the cartoon vibe.  Overall, Figment is a visual treat, making the world worth exploring.

Onward.

Gameplay

Figment is fully in the action adventure game genre.  The main focus is the puzzle elements, with combat being a simple mechanic to help push the narrative forward.  Starting rather slow and simple, later areas provide decently designed puzzles that are not frustrating and reflex based combat to give some variety.  The attention to design shows even in boss fights, telegraphing early in the stage how the fight will proceed.

How to kill a belly-flopping spider?

However, the combat was repetitive with only two moves available.  The combat is limited to small segments that add some excitement between puzzles.  Speaking of which, make sure to horde items as you would in any other puzzle game, to avoid unnecessary backtracking especially for competitions.

Verdict

However, Figment is designed in a way that takes a lot of the frustration out of forgetting or getting a segment wrong.  Figment definitely hits a lot more high notes than it did low notes, making it a worthy entry into the indie game scene.