When I first heard that there was a game on its way that is set inside the mind of a troubled individual I was excited. The tantalizing prospect exploring the inner consciousness, if tackled properly, would make a very interesting landscape for a video game. Figment, however, misses the mark.
I played through four levels in a preview build given to us by Bedtime Digital Games, two from two different parts of the mind. Before this, there is the intro section where you are introduced to the central two characters and the tedium of Figment’s mechanics.
The first section is set in the imagination center of the brain where you have to fight off a spindly villain who is throwing brain-farts at you, all the while completing puzzles that are more time-consuming than challenging. There is a particular challenge involving rotating windmills and vast clouds of brain-fart that takes a lot longer than necessary as it involves going back-and-forth between these windmills time and time again.
The later section is set in the part of the brain that deals with logic. Aside from some cogs and a slightly mechanical motif, there is very little that is different from the first section. The puzzles are different but just as overly elongated and the combat is still as pointless and primitive. One puzzle has you interpreting symbols to play chords on an over-sized piano. However, there is no sense behind the chords chosen which is jarring while a voice preaches about the marriage of music and mathematics in a world of logic.
Some of the more interesting puzzles are optional but the most rewarding. Completing these side puzzles unlocks memories, giving an insight into life events that have sculpted your character’s path to where he is now; a seemingly depressed, body-conscious individual. In his mind he is followed around by a bird who, in a purposely annoying manner, constantly insults his weight. However, having a companion who follows you everywhere insulting you doesn’t translate well when trying to pass through the levels of a video game.
The visuals are cute and while some credit must go to the creative construction of the landscapes, I can’t help but feel there was a lot of unfulfilled potential. Even when given a glimpse into a much later part of the game, nothing struck as particularly mind-bending.
The greatest variety comes in the soundtrack. The music is the most interesting aspect of Figment, but the voice acting is the worst. Wandering around the world of Figment you’ll see parts of the environment expelling musical notes; if you approach these the texture of the soundtrack is thickened by whatever instrument you are near. The seamless introduction of these instruments is nicely done and warrants note. However, the soundscape is marred by a clunky script performed with both bizarre and insulting accents. The production values of the voice-work also seems poor. Having the villains, who are manifestations of the protagonists fears and doubts, rap at you while you dodge their attacks or defeat their minions is a novel idea.
I did come across one nearly game-ending bug in the preview build where after defeating the first spider minion in the Clockwork section, I was unable to progress or leave the area. After loading the previous save it didn’t happen again and hopefully this bug will be ironed out before full release later this Summer.
Figment is scheduled for a Summer 2017 release on Steam and major consoles.