Steam Cleaning #4: Figment

This was backtracking with a backing track.

Some puzzle games test your ingenuity and push the limits of how you think about video games. Some use unique mechanics and use physics or tools to give the player multiple ways to approach situation. And then there are some puzzle games that test only the player’s patience.

Guess which one Figment was.

Figment is a pretty game. The story walks you through the mental landscape of a traumatized girl, her life plagued by nightmares and discarded memories. Your job is to get them back and retake your life. The environment is ingenious, and every line that the cackling evil nightmares rant at your beleaguered hero is worth its weight in gold. Rarely do I get to play a game where my foes assault me with verses and music as I’m fighting their minions.

The game has some rudimentary swordplay from the perspective of games like 2D Zelda, Death’s Door, or Bastion. It works, but there’s nothing engaging about it. Puzzles consist of trudging from place to place, picking up and setting down objects, pressing buttons and turning wheels. If the player ever leaves a single item behind, woe unto them! It is time to walk all the way back and get it. Everything needs to be used over and over again, and there is little-to-no thinking required.

I played all the way through the first… third or so of the game. I defeated the first nightmare of three, then gave serious thought to continuing just for the aesthetic and the interactions with the nightmares. After all, there’s nothing technically wrong with the game. It is soundly designed and funny, if slow-paced and admittedly cringy at times. Still, it barely meets my definition of a game, and wasn’t as rich as a visual novel.

Verdict: 1 hour and 20 minutes. It’s only a 4 hour game, maybe I’ll come back to it.

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