Imagine All the People
Have you ever wanted to play a slowed down version of The Legend of Zelda, set within the human mind? Well, the folks over at Bedtime Digital Games did. Their latest title, Figment: Journey Into the Mind, brings the action-RPG to a comfortable place. Matched with genre-staple puzzles and exploration, this title seeks to pull more casual players into more challenging scenarios. In spite of this, not everything here is so dreamy. There are several shortcomings that make certain elements rough around the edges. Put plainly: the good is great and the bad is very frustrating.
A dreamy, surreal world of “The Mind” of your protagonist constitutes Figment’s landscape. You play as Dusty, the personification of courage, tasked to fight incoming nightmares that plague the mindscape and threaten precious memories. Aided by a small birdlike sprite, you traverse a variety of locales while fighting off fear-mongering ghouls.
Each section has unique hand-painted aesthetics reminiscent of children’s books. Moreover, this is further enhanced by Seussian-rhyming dialogue presented by certain characters and the twisting designs of the world’s buildings. Altogether you feel enveloped in the world.
Sounds Good to Me
Despite its similarities in mechanics, Figment feels unlike any other indie-ARPG game I’ve played before. While the visual choices do inform that feeling, the sound design does the lion’s share. The Mind is dotted with plants and obstacles that are fused with instruments. When you strike them, these objects play music that enhances the already lavishly orchestrated soundtrack. As a result, the dynamic soundtrack creates an atmosphere that feels unique to your own playthrough. Although there were stale moments, the warmth of this synergy kept me exploring well beyond my expectations.
Face Your Fears
The main form of combating the dark nightmare creatures comes in the form of traditional ARPG sword hacking. Building on this in bouts is a roll movement that allows for dodging. Additionally, this move extends its usefulness into puzzle-solving as you dodge projectiles from enemies, revealing hidden buttons that can only be reached beneath rubble. However, any gimmick of the combat’s appeal is short-lasting.
Unfortunately, even when surrounded by a beautifully crafted environment, fights with basic enemies play out pretty similarly. The nightmare pukes an acidic substance, you dodge, you attack. Rinse and repeat. While the boss fights offer some variety and usually engage some puzzle-solving, it’s not enough to break up the more mundane sections in-between.
All that Glitters
In addition to its generic combat system, some inconsistencies stick out as sore thumbs on the hand of Figment. First, while some characters speak in the aforementioned Seussian rhetoric, others do not. Dusty, his companion, and the main antagonist all speak in modern and often clunky patterns that take you out abruptly. Thankfully, the landscape maintains an overall sense of warmth, though any jolt from that guarantees discomfort.
Secondly, the pacing between sections of combat and puzzle-solving feels off. Backtracking slows down gameplay significantly, easing up the overall tone. However, you’ll suddenly launch into combat with intensifying music to a jarring effect. While these elements never feel game-breaking, they may convince some players with less patience to put the game down for a while.
All Together Now
Generally, Figment: Journey Into the Mind succeeds in creating a unique experience overflowing with character and charm. Although there are moments of inconsistency and mild frustration, this game successfully embraces the ARPG formula. Even if not particularly intense or difficult, Figment captures the imagination with its stellar design choices and dynamic soundtrack.
Is it Hardcore?
In Its Own Way
Figment: Journey Into the Mind offers a small variety of challenges for players unfamiliar with action RPG’s. The puzzles are relatively simple and the combat offers some variety. This game is best suited for younger players, as its simplicity caps the general difficulty at a much easier level. Still, older players have something to enjoy in its detailed visuals and wonderful sound design.