Figment 2: Creed Valley is the new surreal action-adventure game from Bedtime Digital Games. Dusty and Piper must make sure the Moral Compass is pointing in the right direction again! Like the original game, Figment 2: Creed Valley is an interesting and above all festive indie game.
A true sequel
Figment 2: Creed Valley is clearly a sequel right from the tutorial. Whereas in the first game you slowly build up to fighting your first Nightmare, in Creed Valley you are thrown into the deep end immediately. From the beginning of Figment 2, Dusty has the luminous drawings on his chest that gradually appeared in the first game. In contrast, nothing is said about the events taking place outside the Mind in the first game. Therefore, it is not necessary to have played the first Figment, although I certainly think it adds value to the game world.
Creed Valley is also clearly a sequel in gameplay. Although Dusty’s controls in Creed Valley are the same as before, I found that they ran a tad smoother in Figment 2. Even during battles where hordes of enemies were sent my way, I experienced virtually no lag. I find the loading screens less beautiful in Creed Valley than they were in the first game, but the amount of loading screens has been reduced considerably. The animations are nicer and especially more varied, especially as you approach the end of the game.
Almost all of the mechanics from Figment 1 return. Many of them get a new twist, such as the battery puzzles from the first Figment, where you have to put the right color battery in the right color connector. In Figment 2, you sometimes encounter sockets that fit all sorts of colors of batteries, with each battery color having a different effect. This was, for someone who also played the first Figment, refreshing.
The unique, surrealistic style of the first game also returns. Although you visit fewer different corners of the Mind, and thus encounter less drastically different landscapes, Creed Valley is put together with great care. The Perspective Switch not only makes for innovative puzzles. It also affects the interactions Dusty has with the environment. As a result, there was more to explore, and I immediately found the conversations I had with NPCs a lot more interesting.
Figment 2 also has a Two Player Mode. In it, one player controls Dusty, and another controls Piper. This immediately increased the replay value for me. It also makes it more fun to show friends a unique indie game that they might not otherwise play. For the full experience, though, I would play the game as Dusty first. Piper cannot address NPCs, does not have her own inventory and later in the game cannot move certain objects you need for puzzles.
Childish, or just not?
Those unfamiliar with Figment may think the game is meant for children. That is not a very illogical conclusion, as the game is full of simplistic humor, bright colors and interesting yet somewhat stereotypical characters. Figment 2, on the other hand, contains even more adult themes than the first game.
The Mind is still in the mind of a middle-aged man with a wife and a child. The issues central to the game also correspond to this, as do the (optional) memories you can retrieve. Figment 2: Creed Valley is about finding pleasure again. The Jester, who serves as the antagonist, is fed up with all the stress and obligations, and wants to take over the Mind. This is further explained in the snippets you sometimes get to see about what goes on outside the Mind. From this, it appears that all this stress is caused by an attempt to fulfill the house-hugging ideal, and specifically about buying a house. Young players, thanks to the simple gameplay, can play Figment 2 just fine as well, but in order to understand and appreciate the full story, I would personally recommend it instead for someone a little older.
Residents of the Mind
Dusty, Piper, Major Relic and all the thoughts and emotions that inhabit houses in the Mind all return in Figment 2. In contrast, it is the new characters that steal the show. Whereas in the first Figment you have to defeat some obviously evil Nightmares, Creed Valley’s antagonist is not necessarily evil. That, in my opinion, makes the character a lot more interesting. The “bad guy” in Figment 2 comes in the form of the Jester, a two-headed clown with an odd walk and a motivation that turns out to be more complex than first thought. His first musical number, “Dance Like An Idiot,” is very catchy.
Where the Jester falls short is in the range of enemies. There are about five different enemy types that can be sent at Dusty. While these are all well put together, no new enemy types are offered in the second half of the game. Even the boss fights remain fairly the same from this point on. The lack of variety the developers tried to remedy by simply sending more enemies at the same time, but unfortunately this resulted in frustration for me.
In the first Figment, each Nightmare got its own song. Beyond that, there were few songs with lyrics. In Figment 2, more effort has been put into this. For example, the Opinions, which look like a cute combination of Humpty Dumpty and an owl, also get their own song. Bedtime Digital Games has succeeded in creating a musical in video game form. Unfortunately, at times, due to the amount of enemies in boss fights, I found it difficult to concentrate on the songs, even though I wanted to give them my attention.
A world in sound
I really enjoyed the sound design in Figment 2, and definitely recommend playing with good headphones on. The sound design makes the surreal world you play in a lot more plausible. There is also a lot of detail in it. For example, the main theme of Figment plays when you replenish your health bar. The soundtrack is complex and uses distinct instruments such as a mouth harp. Although the music is constantly present and can be complicated at times, at no point did it bother me.
Dusty, as in the first game, is sung to several times during his adventure by various enemies and other NPCs. These songs are, if possible, even more catchy than they were in the first game, and a few of them stayed in my head long after playing. There is a constant leitmotif in the soundtrack that gives recognition and still made the music, which encompasses many different genres and instruments, feel like one for me.
Both Figment 1 and Figment 2 have many rhythmic aspects. Some boss fights I found a lot easier when I started treating the game as a rhythm game, but if that’s not your thing you can still beat everything at your own pace short and then you can just finish the game as well.
The moral compass of Bedtime Digital Games
Whereas in the first game the subject matter remained somewhat in the background, in Figment 2 it is there with a thick layer. There is more emphasis on what takes place outside the Mind. This is divided into memories that you can collect, just like in the first Figment, and fragments that play between certain Chapters, in which you see what is happening outside the Mind at that moment. The story is otherwise simple. The Moral Compass must be restored using four Cardinal Stones, which must be earned in various trials. The Jester tries to thwart Dusty in this.
The game is chock full of jokes, and I expect every player will be able to find something to laugh at. Almost the entire game takes place in the Creed Valley, where all the Opinions live. The game never gets political: even the Discarded Opinions have strange and nonsensical opinions, such as wanting to have two noses and one ear so you can smell in stereo.
One of the few points where Figment 2 goes wrong in my opinion is toward the end of the game. By then there have been a few moments where the message has been laid on very thickly. Then there are (too) many motivational statements in the climax of the game that aren’t really necessary. As a player, I had had enough hints at that point in the story to start doubting whether the Jester is truly evil or not, and didn’t need to be steered in this anymore. This made some of the comments toward the end downright irritating. Combined with the anticlimactic and forced final boss, the tone of the game’s ending didn’t match the rest for me.
Figment 2: Creed Valley, with a play time of about five hours, is short but powerful. It is a memorable game where passion oozes from all sides. The sequel is at least as catchy as the original, and it’s a joy to play, despite the moral message, which is really laid on too thick at times. The puzzles are interesting enough to keep you from getting bored, but they are also never really difficult. Unfortunately, the enemy design is mostly the same. Nevertheless, Figment 2: Creed Valley is a fine game to play. Bedtime Digital Games has managed to top the first Figment, and I hope to see a third game in a few years. If you’re looking for a puzzle-action adventure that makes you feel warm inside, Figment 2: Creed Valley is an excellent choice.