Bedtime Digital Games’ musical sequel can be summed up in one phrase: Dance like an idiot. It’s the chorus of the game’s catchiest song — though there are a lot of toe-tapping offerings throughout. This saying also highlights the heroes’ journey through the mind they protect.
Cutting down nightmares and tackling psychological roadblocks to balance an overworked brain make for a clever game conceit. And though the gameplay isn’t snappy and the writing can fall flat, Figment 2: Creed Valley‘s creativity is wonderfully free-flowing.
Figment 2’s world is set inside the human mind. I play as Dusty, the brain’s courage, while a second player can take control of optimism personified: Piper. My job is to cut down anything that threatens the mind’s stability, and I learn very quickly that there are plenty of threats to contend with.
One of my favorite elements of the game is that I will often zoom out of Dusty’s perspective to see what’s actually happening to the person whose brain I’m defending. A married man with a small child, the mind’s owner is pushing himself to work untenable hours to afford a house that his partner doesn’t even seem to want. His all-work-and-no-play lifestyle triggers a phycological catastrophe for Dusty to solve.
Truly, it’s the artwork and music that take center stage. Though the situation might be dire, it’s hard not to stop and stare at the painterly clouds fluffed up with visible brushstrokes sailing through a surreal ocean of flying fish. I also find myself humming along with the villains as they break into a Blues ballad about darkness or rock out against work.
Design variety is another perfectly tuned note in this symphony. One moment I’m bashing baddies with my sword, while the next I’m solving a crime mystery. No one puzzle type or environment overstays its welcome. At one point, I find myself lost in a maze and, to break up the various brain-testing trials, the game plops me into the Ditch of Discarded Opinions.
It’s a place that holds all the bad opinions from seeing the light of day, which is a concept I love. Consequently, the area is dark and filled with personified opinions ready to push their philosophies on anyone they encounter. My object here is simply to talk to them to find what I need to escape. The conversations — and yet another brilliant musical number — are brimming with conspiracy theories and bad takes. though it seems like they messed up and one good opinion, that pineapple pizza rocks, also got stuck.
Combat consists mainly of swinging my wooden sword at anything that comes close and avoiding ranged attacks. It’s a serviceable system that the game doesn’t throw me into often enough to wear on me. What does drag down my enjoyment is the constant string of banter and one-liners. The humor and surface-level moralizing might appeal to a younger audience. But hearing barks like “bug off” when fighting a fly-like foe or a barrage of “this little piggy” jokes when confronting the hog nightmare dampens my enthusiasm.
The final message isn’t complicated. It’s important to take time to enjoy life and prioritize the people in it. But the metaphorical adventure in the mind is skillfully juxtaposed against reality, making for a melodic experience. Figment 2: Creed Valley‘s short story is wrapped in imagination. So, while some players may tune out over the dialogue or simplistic combat, the game has a lot to offer for those looking for an easy and artful journey.