The mind is a complicated mess of grey biological goo with incredible calculating properties. If you ever played the game Psychonauts you’ll know how crazy a world inside a mind can truly be. Get ready, because you’re about to explore the nooks and crannies of the human mind in Figment. Don’t worry, the game doesn’t have you traversing brain matter or anything, but instead the fully realized creative and imaginative landscape is beautifully drawn.
You will take the persona of Dusty who is a sarcastic little voice of courage that had fallen into obscurity in a calm and quiet mind. His travelling buddy is Piper, a bird-like creature that guides you along your journey. Your quest really begins after Dusty goes out to grab some ice for his drink, but upon returning discovers that a nightmare creature encroaching on his territory has stolen his drink. He can’t let that stand – and so the adventure begins!
The world is a work of art that you get to walk through and interact with. Each area features a distinct look, and as you progress into new territories there’s always something new and wondrous to discover. The art style is a bit difficult to describe, but it’s almost like a twisted children’s book, with a touch of Dr. Seuss and a smattering of Tim Burton. The Nightmares have escaped and you’ll have to take them out one by one. You wield your sword to eviscerate your foes, but the combat is only somewhat average. Luckily the game’s world is intriguing enough to have kept my attention. It was fairly easy to navigate and fun to explore. Some backtracking is necessary, but it never felt like a grind or annoying.
Where Figment really shines is in the audio department. Not only is the soundtrack stellar, but also the integration of unique sounds is quite cool. I loved that some of the trees and plants featured different instruments and if you hit them with your sword the sound from that instrument would blare out. Little touches like these show that the developers really took an extra level of care with the game to create something truly special. One thing that the influx of independent developers has really brought to games is this amazing wealth of talent that may not have been found or realized if not for projects like this one. Thanks in part to the indie scene we get games like this that may not have been released by a big publisher, and we’re better off for having more choices than ever before.
Whenever I play a game like this, I think about how they came up with the ideas and how it must have evolved during the development process. I have been a part of software projects that start out as one thing and evolve into something better as we are given a little creative license. Little things, like trying to make a button look better or including some magic to manipulate the user experience in a much more fluid way, can make a big difference. I have also been on, more frequently than not actually, projects that are rigid from start to finish. The rigid projects end on time and the business gets exactly what they felt they wanted. However, the fluid projects are always more fun and exciting because you get to collaborate and come up with new ideas and techniques as problems present themselves. Sometimes the ideas start flowing so fast that it’s like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. A game like this makes me think they had a very clear idea of what they wanted to do, but those little touches feel like someone along the way thought, “You know what would be cool? If we did this…”.
Fans of adventure titles where the world is an interesting place to explore, but the combat is somewhat standard fare will definitely want to check this one out. Figment won’t challenge your fighting skills, but there are some smaller mind puzzles to figure out along the way. The game features beautiful scenery, interesting and fully realized characters, and some great tunes and fun sound effects. Although it runs perfectly fine in handheld mode, I highly suggest taking full advantage of a big screen TV to really take in the artwork. It’s just a fun title to sit down and enjoy the little things that they pack into a nice sized adventure for home or on the go with your Nintendo Switch!
Figment was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Jay has been an avid gamer since the Intellivision days. His hobbies include building PCs, 3D modeling and printing, and spending time with his children and dog.