Freud’s Bones: Weird, Wacky & Very Niche

Freud’s Bones is the entry title of Fortuna Imperatore. Although the game is tagged as Point & Click as its main genre, Freud’s Bones throws you off a little on which one you would actually put it under, thanks to all the different elements it offers. I personally would define it more as Narrative/Interactive Fiction with Point & Click elements. No matter which one you deem more fit , It is a cool concept, that is niche and wacky: it works for most aspects, while others could feel lacklustre.

" The Mind Is An Interesting Place. "

As the name might suggest you take control of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. Not only do you physically control him, but you will become ingrained in him and his psyche. You will have to help Freud get over his own demons and help him rise to fame as you help out some of his patients.

Once I first got into the game, it is when I made the conclusion it fits more the Interactive Fiction with Point & Click elements: this is not a bad thing per-Se, but I felt a lack of balance in these elements, which made the game feel monotonous at some points. The majority of the game will be spent inside Freud’s office, reading through notes, diary entries and anything you may need to psychoanalyse your patients. There is nothing to find, no inventory to hold, no puzzles to solve outside of your sessions or when speaking to people. If you do not mind a lot of  reading and doing more detective work, then this could be right up your alley.

Once I first got into the game, it is when I made the conclusion it fits more the Interactive Fiction with Point & Click elements: this is not a bad thing per-se, but I felt a lack of balance in these elements, which made the game feel monotonous at some points.The majority of the game will be spent inside Freud’s office, reading through notes, diary entries and anything you may need to psychoanalyse your patients.

"Point & Click Elements With Heavy Storytelling "

There is no objects to find, no inventory to hold, no puzzles to solve outside of your sessions or when speaking to people. If you do not mind a lot of  reading and doing more detective work, then this could be right up your alley.

The gameplay itself functions as a typical psychiatry session where you will need to “find” a way into your patient. You will need to go through the three levels of the psyche represented by different phases. The 1st is the bull: this is your ID that hosts your unconscious desires. Then you got the next level: Superego, which is represented by a sniper. These are your moral standards and ideals, or to put it in easy terms, the standards we learn from society and our parents that help give us the sense of what is “right” and “wrong”. The last level you will need to break into is the ego,it keeps the social constraints of the norm and makes sure the ID fulfills his desires. It is depicted by a little wooden marionette.

You will have multiple choice questions, and paths to question your patient on, regarding what their problem is, and you have to choose your approach in questions and tones to make sure you can reach the aforementioned top level of the ego.For every question you ask correctly a bone will start from the ID (the bull) and make its way up, only when the bone reaches the ego have you got into their psyche.

After reading the notes and listening to what they have said in therapy, you get to make your prognosis, from hysteria to narcissism.Once you have come to a diagnosis, you have to offer them a remedy, chosen by what you think is suitable in each individual case: you can suggest both medicines or home psychology, like moving out of town. Your rewards will fluctuate depending on how correct your choices were. If you are successful you will get all your money and max fame, if moderately successful you get partial rewards, and you definitely do not want to get it all wrong because you will take a big hit on your fame and reputation.

" Can You Help Freud?. "

You won’t be psychoanalysing just your patients but Freud “yourself”, as you are his inner “ghost”. You can make the decisions to stop him taking any cocaine or smoking cigars, and all of these can actually have a negative effect on your gameplay; a nice touch i might add. By far one of the best parts of the game is when you do get to psychoanalyse Freud, and it is a must try for anyone who wants to read into the weird and wacky head space of the father of psychoanalysis.

Fortuna Imperta has really reached heavily into the narrative and the logical steps of psychology, and it shows as you have a plethora of books to help you out during your diagnosis, and the detailed writing for each case adds a sense of release. This also adds though the unfortunate feeling that I kind of need to be into psychology to get the most enjoyment of the game. While other point and click adventures add humour and things you can relate to, Freud’s bones just does not manage to grab my attention the same. It does require deep and outside the box thinking, as in most cases it is not straightforward. The puzzles are analysing text and trying to pair up certain words to make an assumption about the writing. I feel these can be a bit mundane and, as I played more, I quickly felt myself not as engaged as I would like. Maybe it is because It is a too formal of a game using proper terminology, which I have mentioned is a good thing: I am indeed an advocate of having anything brain related as a game and welcome it, but the audience for Freud’s Bones feels very niche and the game doesn’t feel as welcoming,  possibly daunting for casual gamers.

Even as I kind of felt overwhelmed by some of the cases, the beautiful art is breathtaking, especially when you jump from the pixel graphics to the hand drawn dreams, or even during the animation when the skull of your patients opens up during therapy. It feels very fresh and drags you in, and I would have hoped the same with the music: it is nice, but unfortunately in small chunks. Personally the art direction is so beautiful I would not say no to more, even if it feels like some of the best bits are hidden away and could be emphasized more. The characters -other than Freud- of course kind of felt disjointed. I think the lack of voice lines and more text to read, even after reading notes about them in therapy, kind of takes away from the feeling the character is trying to portray. With all that being said, I definitely can see a place in the niche market for it, as the writing and the level of detail put into the narrative is beautiful. Not a bad game overall, it has a few things that could push it over the next level.

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Review
  • A Wacky Narrative adventure, That Will Have you breaking into people's minds.
    7

    “ It is a nice journey into the life of Freud and the world of psychoanalysis. You will have to think outside the box if you want to succeed in this one. With some repetitive puzzles, and featuring a lot of multiple choice questions, get your shrink hat on as you use your deductive reasoning skills. It offers a very niche theme and takes a good stab at it. “

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