HomeReviews4/5 ReviewFigment: Journey Into the Mind Review

Figment: Journey Into the Mind Review


We really enjoyed the Pixar movie Inside Out, but we had a nagging feeling that its portrayal of the mind was way, way too ordered. Memories were all racked up neatly on shelves; islands like  theme parks gathered up thoughts into neat bundles. Our mind was never going to be that tidy. 

Figment: Journey Into the Mind gets it right. It’s full of noise and distractions, for one, with music pootling and farting out of every flower or building that you pass. That’s more what it’s like in our head. Plus the islands in Figment: Journey Into the Mind are basically a scrapheap of half-thoughts and old memories. It looks like a world that might exist, but look close enough and you will see discarded road signs, parts of musical instruments and the odd book.

figment journey into the mind review 1

It’s in this jumble sale that we find Dusty, the playable character in Figment: Journey Into the Mind, a kind of Jim Henson-meets-Where-the-Wild-Things-Are cuddly giant, who has – by the sound of some of the dialogue in the game – given up on being the ‘braveness’ of the world he lives in. He is having a care-free moment in his shack, filling in his scrapbook, when a ‘nightmare of depression’ steals said book, and runs away, leaving pools of depression behind him. Grumpily, Dusty comes out of retirement, buddies up with a young bird, Piper (there to act as his foil, mostly), and heads after the nightmare. 

It’s the very basic outline for three worlds of adventures, all accessed from a single hub city. There’s the right side of the brain, where imagination lies, and the puzzles are duly wacky, colourful and have more of a graphic-adventure feel. You’re finding items and trying to imagine how they might work with other locations, so that you can open more of a path forward. Batteries power windmills, which clears smog, and give you access to lifts which need disks to stand on, and so on. 

The left side of the brain is more logical, and quite literally gets the cogs whirring. The graphic-adventure stuff gets pushed down in favour of large, island-spanning puzzles that have you kicking a train around reasonably complex tracks, or trying to flip every square on a grid by standing – and re-standing – on them. It’s more likely to get you brushing off a notepad and pen. 

There’s another world – a more spoilerific one – that marries the two, and we’ll keep schtum about it for now. But it’s a lovely framework for a game: testing yourself in two different ways, as you straddle both sides of the mind. 

The puzzles and graphic-adventure-bits range from familiar-but-sturdy, all the way to synapse-firing. There are a couple that pop to mind that we really loved. One has you programming a robot which also acts as a wall that protects you against incoming corruption. Not only are you solving a kind of sliding puzzle with the robot, but you’re sheltering behind it, and it’s a neat mash-up of ideas. Another has you changing the tracks of a train, but those tracks go from island to island, so the route-planning is on quite a macro level. We will admit that a few others – including some memory games – are more on the stale side.

figment journey into the mind review 2

The overall aim of Figment: Journey Into the Mind is a bit gamey, but it’s presented so imaginatively that you kind of forgive everything. You arbitrarily need to grab the masks of two different nightmares, one on each side of the brain, so you can cleanse a pipe that will take you to the nightmare of depression who you’re really after. Ideally, Figment: Journey Into the Mind would have been more convincing about why these masks are needed, but eh.

The nightmares toss enemies at you throughout Figment: Journey Into the Mind. It’s not combat that you should necessarily worry about, if you’re here for the puzzles, and they’re certainly not deep enough to titillate the Devil May Cry crowd. But they are Zelda-esque, dispatched with a few swipes of your sword, and you won’t die often. A roll out of the way, with a spam of the attack button, is enough to put most enemies away. 

The three bosses in Figment: Journey Into the Mind are a bit more involved, but you can consider them more like puzzles than hardcore battling. You’re using their attacks against them, encouraging them to slam, pollute and dizzify themselves so you can win (there’s probably some metaphor at play there). But they’re simple enough and forgiving, so you can die a couple of times while you work out what’s wanted, before getting on with business.

We started Figment: Journey Into the Mind thinking it was all a bit too familiar. We felt like it was  basically Skylanders, given an indie-darling makeover (we thought we were clever, spotting the simplicity of the game beneath the truly beautiful artwork and sound design). But as Figment: Journey Into the Mind grew more confident, and we got less jaded, we came to love it for what it was: a tightly constructed adventure that would have won us over even without the surrealist touches.

figment journey into the mind review 3

And we shouldn’t ignore those surrealist touches, because there’s a Monty Python-esque brilliance to them that makes us want to 3D print them and stick them on our desk. A giant ear-tree lives by some discarded instruments, and you know full well what’s needed of you. Houses dot the islands, and you can wander up and knock on the door, only to get rowdy comments from villagers in various British accents. Moving platforms are giant teeth; bridges are safety pins. The world is half kleptomaniac, half Terry Gilliam, and we loved shambling up a platform to see what waited for us next.

It’s very possible to be cynical, like we were when first playing Figment: Journey Into the Mind, and peek beneath the lovely art to see combat and puzzle systems that are, on occasion, overly simple and familiar. Games like TUNIC clearly have layers and layers on top of what Figment offers here. But as it develops, Figment: Journey Into the Mind gains a knack for large, sprawling puzzles that have sparks of originality. And then there’s its world. How could we ignore its world? This is the human mind imagined as a messy kid’s room, and we couldn’t imagine a better visualisation of what our brains must be like. It’s got more character than the Muppets dressing room, and it comes beautifully realised too.

If you fancy a journey into the recesses of the mind, where nothing happens the way you expect it to, then treat yourself to Figment: Journey Into the Mind. It’ll seep into your dreams.

You can buy Figment: Journey Into the Mind  from the Xbox Store

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Follow Us On Socials


Our current writing team


Join the chat

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x