In 2017, Bedtime Digital Games released Figment, a cute and dreamlike action puzzle game that aimed to be a little more ambitious and expansive than their debut release, Back to Bed. We enjoyed it, and evidently plenty of other people did, too, as the studio has now brought us Figment 2: Creed Valley. Though Figment 2 feels like more of the same, it nonetheless offers up an enjoyable and engaging puzzle experience that we feel is worth your time, although perhaps less so on Switch.
Figment 2 borrows from the playbook of Pixar’s Inside Out by placing you in a fictionalized world within an ordinary person’s mind, where various abstract concepts like compassion or opinions are represented by tangible objects and characters. The narrative primarily follows Dusty, the embodiment of the mind’s courage, and his bird friend, Piper, as they work to fix the moral compass of a father struggling to balance his family’s emotional needs with his own sense of what he should be prioritizing as a provider. Dusty and Piper must fend off evil Nightmares that threaten to upset the balance of this man’s mind, all while trying to make their way through the whimsical and sprawling land of the eponymous Creed Valley.
It's not a terribly in-depth narrative on the face of it—you can probably guess the lesson that the workaholic dad learns here—but it’s buoyed well by the great chemistry between Dusty and Piper. As you solve puzzles and bust baddies, these two will constantly banter back and forth in an exaggerated and hammy kind of way that stops just short of being annoying. Bad puns and cheesy jokes are the norm here, but there’s something magnetically charming about the unflinching optimism and confidence the two display. Plus, it's refreshing to observe a pair of uncomplicated characters to whom the world is nothing but an expansive playground; Dusty and Piper just roll with the punches and find something corny to say no matter what they face.
Gameplay takes the form of an action puzzler, feeling somewhat like an isometric version of the Trine series. Dusty and Piper take a mostly linear path through the mind world and contend with simple but compelling puzzles that have you do things like solving the correct order in which to trigger switches that raise and lower platforms or swapping between binary world states while you gradually create a path forward.
None of the puzzles take particularly long to figure out, yet they feel like they’re at just the right level of difficulty where it still takes you a few minutes and a little bit of trial and error before you get it. Plus, the rather short five-hour runtime means that new ideas are brought in relatively quickly to keep puzzles feeling fresh as you careen towards the end.
Combat is less alluring, but nonetheless briefly breaks up the puzzling. Dusty can bat at enemies with his sword and dodge roll out of the way when they hit back, but his kit quickly feels a little too basic. Sure, you might not expect combat here to compare to Hades, but there’s an awkward stiffness to most engagements that makes them a bit of a chore. However, they don’t overstay their welcome, and things get much more interesting when you get into a boss fight.
Though we would’ve liked more variety in the bosses themselves, we appreciated that each fight had unique phases and attacks to learn as you wait for an opening to hit. Part of this is due to the musical elements, as the bosses will sing and attack to the beat of whatever special track is playing for this fight. Your movements don’t need to be as precise as they would in a rhythm game, but the spectacle of these battles remains enjoyable while you're trying to stay in the groove; boss fights easily stand out as one of the highlights of Figment 2.
Those of you who have someone else on hand can also play in two-player mode, in which Player 2 takes control of Piper. Her role feels a bit like the Luma from Super Mario Galaxy 2 where the second player is clearly adopting a support role, but it’s still a fun way to get someone else engaged beyond them simply calling out ideas for potential puzzle solutions. Also, this co-op mode can be activated or deactivated at any time and supports single Joy-Con play, making it ideal for multiplayer in portable mode.
In terms of its presentation, Bedtime Digital does a fantastic job of conveying the weird and abstract world of the mind. Whether you’re flying around riding on the spine of flying books or jumping across floating islands dotted with somewhat creepy blinking eyes, there are big Alice in Wonderland vibes to the whimsical and vaguely unsettling vistas you explore. Best of all, the art style used here employs a carefully crafted, painterly look that makes Figment 2 look like a painting come to life.
We think special mention needs to be made here, too, of the excellent voice work on display, especially by the leading duo. Dusty’s cocksure and heroic personality is given a life of its own in Catty Donnelly’s performance, while Ora Chaya’s perky and playful portrayal of Piper perfectly matches her free-flying form. Even if the dialogue is pretty run-of-the-mill, the voice cast consistently displays a kind of raw passion and energy that elevates the lines quite a bit.
All pretty good, then — but, unfortunately, here comes a caveat. The most glaring flaw with Figment 2 is its subpar performance in both docked and handheld, which substantially drags down the experience on Switch. There were far too few moments where we observed the action actually holding to the intended 30 FPS target; drops are frequent, heavy, and noticeably impact gameplay. Sometimes the lag can cause you to miss the timing on a dodge roll and eat a punch, though most of the time it’s just an annoyance as you watch Dusty shudder and stagger his way across bridges and platforms while the whole world slows down for a few seconds.
Given how much this short game has to offer, it's a real shame to see overall performance let it down so badly. It’s certainly not unplayable, but we would rank the Switch version in a distant last place when compared to the versions on other platforms which feature substantially better performance. Portability may be a nice plus, but it's not enough to outweigh the performance drops.
Figment 2 stands as a competent and creative action puzzle game with a lot of heart. Though it feels rather short, it’s clear that a lot of thought and care went into making this charming world. Satisfying puzzles and excellent presentation are a big draw here, though they’re let down by simplistic combat and undeniably rough, gameplay-affecting performance on Switch. We'll keep our fingers crossed for patches, and we’d still give Figment 2 a recommendation, though you may want to wait for this one to go on sale.
I bought the first game years ago for something like 99 cents, and deleted it not long after. Mostly it was just badly written, and if this is more of the same I cant see paying such premium price for it.
That’s the problem right now, a lot of new Switch releases seem to be launching with performance issues. I know a lot of it is down to optimisation, and I really do love my Switch, but isn’t it finally time we get some new hardware?
@The_Pixel_King My toaster runs games better than the Switch
@The_Pixel_King yeah, not every cross-platform game developer can put the money into optimising for a low-wattage tablet chip from 2015 in 2023 if the sales figures are never likely to justify it
The first game was a boring slog at the end. As this is more of the same I will pass.
I'm playing the game right now and just noticed that there was a new update today. Seems like the patch might have improved performance (at least in some areas).
The ads I have been seeing everywhere for this made me cringe.
Yeah i feel that can be an issue, as much as you see comments from time to time blaming "lazy" devs there are times when developers simply may not have the resources or maybe a particular game engine may not play nice with the hardware.
i am personally hoping we get news of an upgraded switch/switch 2 since it wont need to be super high end but with the massive improvements in mobile chips since the switch launch i imagine we could still see the power gap closed somewhat while still keeping the cost down and i imagine that would make it a lot easier for developers plus making more games viable for a switch port.
while some may use that article a while back about newer hardware not stopping bad ports as a kind of "gotcha" it did show just how difficult it can be to port some games to keep a stable 30fps let along 60fps.
in short i really hope the next system is a backwards compatible "switch 2" since i love the idea of the system.
@The_Pixel_King My new hardware = Steam Deck!
Sorry to hear about the performance issues, but I'll still be buying this game. On my Switch. And I plan on enjoying it. I won't even whine about it (or the first game)!
I liked the first game but this looks like a real disappointment.
I have this on my wishlist. I may wait for a steep discount before downloading after reading this review.
Cheers for the review.
Tap here to load 12 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...