Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, Xbox Series X
March 9, 2023
Bedtime Digital Games
Bedtime Digital Games
Ever since the movie Inside Out (2015) came out, I’ve always thought about the beings inside my body looking after me. Figment 2: Creed Valley plays on that idea of anthropomorphic creatures helping from within. Whether that’s through trauma, depression, or stress. In the game, you take on the role of Dusty, the mind’s courage, and along with your friend Piper, the mind’s optimism, you have to battle foes known as the Jesters in puzzles that incorporate music to its core. Does Figment 2: Creed Valley find enlightenment, or is it a blip in your memory?
Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
Figment 2 follows the same characters as the original game. Playing as Dusty, you have to remove Nightmares from the mind, which are beings that run amok in what was a peaceful time. You meet the Jesters, a jovial Nightmare who just wants you to let loose and not be so uptight. While fighting off enemies the Jesters create, you also have to solve puzzles and fight to the beat as well as fix the moral compass with cardinal stones. The moral compass is literally a compass inside the mind that helps connect the person with their core beliefs. The cardinal stones are four square stones scattered throughout the levels you’ll be traversing. Figment 2 also introduces the mechanic of an open-mind and closed-mind state. Switching between these two states will change how you interact with the environment and the characters at large. This is where the differences between the two games really shine, as we explore different ways to solve the puzzles. The puzzles in Figment 2 are one part puzzle-platformer and one part exploration puzzle. There are a whole range to solve, with some giving you the answer if you listen and some having you solve it on your own.
Overall, the story is much easier to follow than the original game, as we get cutscenes of the issues the father character is facing front and centre. The game shows the father as he begins to work overtime so that he and his family can own a home. Throughout the game, you can collect memory shards by hitting a rock that is scattered throughout the levels. You can’t miss these rocks, unlike the first game where you had to deviate from the path. These shards help us understand the father’s back story, whether that’s his mum being a workaholic or his dad telling him that ‘to be a man is to own your own home’. The story is an emotional ride. Figment 2 is a story a lot of us can relate to, no matter how far along in your life journey you are. It’s wonderful to see the arc of the father from where he begins a bit grumpy and trying to future-proof his life, to where he ends up.
You’ll know that I’m just tryin’ to understand
It is great to get back into the action of Figment and experience the different combat styles. One of the things I appreciate about Figment 2 is that combat isn’t always necessary. It’s beneficial to engage in combat and you still have to battle the canon fodder to progress, though, for big battles, you can leave the sword at home.
The Jesters are the bad guys this time around. They’re two heads on top of one body represented by masks who initially throw roadblocks at Dusty, before finally getting to them and facing off with a battle. The Jesters throughout the game are a thorn in your side, as you help to fix the damage they’ve done. They show up throughout the levels, sometimes to show you where to go next, or to battle them.
Throughout the game, music interacts with the world and it really does feel like the music is its own character. Sometimes you’ll step over a xylophone or piano bridge and each step will make a sound. Some of the enemies will hit on the beats, similar to games like Crypt of the NecroDancer, however, you don’t lose out if you yourself don’t match the rhythm. There are trees that sing, and even creatures that love music. It’s a really fun way to incorporate music into video games that goes beyond the standard. With Figment 2 we get to really explore sound and why it’s so important. It’s also great to see that they don’t shy away from the harder musical genres out there, like rock or metal. Even the bosses have their own genre and song, and it shows how these characters view themselves.
Brain, brain, won’t you guide me?
“you’re not too old to play the ukulele and that you too can dance like an idiot”
The art style is brilliant. While the game is isometric, you can still clearly see a lot of the brush strokes on the walls and floors of buildings. It’s really crisp and vibrant and you can even see it during some cutscenes. It really showcases the style of the game, the brush strokes, and even the arts and crafts nature of the game. Specifically, during these cutscenes, you can see the artistic details found on characters like Dusty and Piper that are usually unseen within gameplay. There’s a whismy to the visual design with trees as cocktail umbrellas and light bulbs that grow on them. There’s never been a game quite as unique as this one that I’ve experienced. Even changing from a closed-mind to an open-mind state has visual differences that are just a joy to witness.
The devs have revamped the combat and controls when compared to the original Figment. It’s a great improvement because previously, the combat felt rather clunky, yet here it’s smooth and satisfying. Sometimes I found myself stuck on walls or ledges and had to re-load a checkpoint due to an issue. But thankfully the game is rather generous with its checkpoint system.
I know if I put my mind to it
Despite many fantastic improvements over the original game, in Figment 2, there isn’t a strong visual sense of progression. Asides from collecting the cardinal stones to fix the moral compass, and obviously progressing through the game, I never felt like Dusty was “levelling up”, so to speak. Your health metre is the same at the start as it is at the end, and Dusty doesn’t feel stronger. Throughout the game, Piper would mention Dusty’s sword, and I thought that he’d get a new and better one. However, this doesn’t pay out as I had hoped. A lot of the stronger enemies take a lot of health out of you, and so Dusty feels weaker and weaker by the end of the game.
On the accessibility front, there are subtitles for both songs and dialogue, and they’re in a large enough font for those who are visually impaired. There’s both keyboard and controller support and they’re easily re-mappable, which is great. No colour-blind mode is available which is a shame as there are some puzzles where colour is important.
Free your mind and the rest will follow
Figment 2 has a co-op mode, which is great to see for those of us who want more co-op games. Not only that, but co-op allows for the same actions as in single-player, except you cannot open the inventory or place things. But as far as co-op experiences go, it’s pretty great. Overall, Figment 2: Creed Valley is a fantastic addition to the Figment series. While a sequel, it still stands on its own two feet as a worthwhile experience for newcomers. It’s a great game to pick up and play with a runtime of just under 5 hours.
- Storyline is emotional and something we can all relate to
- Combat upgrade is evident
- Memories are easier to obtain
- Art style is gorgeous
- The music feels like it's actually built into the world
- Can get stuck on objects and might have to reload
- No visible progression or levelling up system
Figment 2: Creed Valley is a story about letting go of the stress that life might throw at you. It reminds you that you’re not too old to play the ukulele and that you too can dance like an idiot. Admittedly, the lack of visual progression is a shame. But the art style is fantastic, with each brush stroke looking uniquely gorgeous. Not only that, but the music feels like its own character, as though it lives in the world. The story itself is an emotional rollercoaster, and by the end, you can reflect back on the great journey you’ve taken.