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Figment Is a Puzzle Platformer Unlike Any Other — And It Just Hit Xbox Game Pass

This month’s hidden gem on Game Pass.

screenshot from Figment
Bedtime Digital
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The list of new games coming to Xbox Game Pass in January 2024 is packed with heavy hitters like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Resident Evil 2. But among the month’s big names, there’s also one hidden gem you definitely don’t want to miss. With an art style and sensibility you won’t see anywhere else, the puzzle platformer Figment might be the biggest surprise on Game Pass this month.

Even at first glance, it’s easy to tell Figment is something special. Plenty of indie games have a hand-drawn aesthetic that separates them from AAA attempts at photorealism, but Figment may just be the best example ever of a game looking like it was torn from the pages of a storybook. Its colorful, surreal environments defy all logic, instead opting for a sense of absolute glee.

Figment’s vibrant art style and music set it apart from the rest of the Xbox Game Pass lineup.

The game’s protagonist Dusty is just as charming. With his animal-eared onesie and wooden sword, he looks like something out of Where the Wild Things Are or Adventure Time — an encapsulation of childlike courage. Though he starts as a dour recluse, Dusty’s journey to recover his lost confidence is the heart of Figment’s whimsical story.

But Figment has more going for it than just good looks. Playing through the game is a pretty even mix of hack-and-slash combat and simple puzzles to open new paths through the levels. Neither the action nor the puzzles are particularly innovative, but they’re solid all the way through with a musical twist that gives them plenty more character.

While it’s not a rhythm game, music plays a big part in Figment. Some puzzles revolve around music, but it’s actually the ambient way that Figment uses its songs that’s more impressive. Scattered around the game’s environments are various musical instruments, from piano key stairs to horns sprouting out of the ground. Throughout the game, they’ll react to Dusty’s presence by playing, making the entire world feel a bit like a living music box.

Beneath Figment’s cheery surface is a story about mental health and recovery.

Bedtime Digital

Even more charmingly, each boss has their own distinctive musical theme, which they’ll perform and sing throughout their fights. It turns all of the game’s major enemies into Disney villains, singing about their wicked plans during your battle. It gives boss fights a fun, slightly silly groove that makes them the best parts of the game. Even aside from their serenades, boss fights are where the game best combines combat and puzzles, making for fun encounters throughout.

Bosses in Figment aren’t evil masterminds, though. Each one represents a negative emotion or a dark personality trait. In the intro to Figment, it’s revealed that all this joyful strangeness isn’t just childlike glee — it’s a representation of a man recovering after a car crash. The game’s short intro spells the idea out quickly, and as you make your way through Figment’s levels, you’re actually fighting through things like fear and trauma.

Plenty of games have used simple mechanics to tackle more complex emotional ideas. What sets Figment apart is that it doesn’t dwell on them. This is an adventure about the feeling of gaining courage and learning to either overcome or live with the parts of yourself that you don’t like. Figment doesn’t let its weighty subject matter turn it into a slog — instead, it lets the breezy tone of the game stand in for the hope of a person getting better. If you’re drawn to the themes of mental health in games like Hellblade but want something a bit more uplifting, Figment might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Figment is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. It’s included with Xbox Game Pass as of January 9.

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