Over the years, video games have allowed us to take on the role of an infinite number of characters and categories: a spy, a warrior, a wizard, a dragon hunter, a farmer and even a goat but the garments of one psychoanalyst we missed them. Freud’s Bones: The Game allows us not only to play a psychoanalysis expert but the father of that science, Sigmund Freud. A unique video game of its kind that combines the complexity of the human mind with the simplicity of the game mechanics for a truly original mix. But now close your eyes, take a deep breath and dig deep into the depths of our psyche in this one review of Freud’s Bones: The Game.
Our review of Freud’s Bones
We are in 19th century Vienna and the name of Sigmund Freud is starting to turn between the nobility and the people of the city between admiration and distrust. Freud’s life flows between the days spent in his studio treating and analyzing patients and his private life, which is anything but stable. Between the stress of everyday life, the habit of smoking and the use of drugs, Freud finds himself trapped in the same web of psychic disturbances which he tries to untangle in his patients.
His daily life is turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious entity, we, that we begin to talk to Freud and to take control of him, accompanying him in his work, in worldliness and in his commitments. For Freud, for us and for those around him, a journey of discovery of oneself, of one’s own ailments and difficulties begins, which will show us a tormented personality full of dilemmas.
In the meantime we will also have to carry out our role as psychoanalysts and help the Doctor’s patients who will ask for his help. Guided by a practical notebook and Freud’s knowledge of psychoanalysis and sexuality, will we go deep into the minds of our clients to help them… or not?
The fascination of psychoanalysis
Freud’s Bones is a narrative adventure with point-and-click elements in which, through Freud’s body, we will analyze his clients. Essentially the game is divided into three phases: exploration, psychoanalysis and dialogues. The exploration phase it’s pretty straightforward and involves clicking and exploring the surrounding areas that are confined to Freud’s studio, café Eckmann and a few other places. Here we can observe objects, environments and surrounding people that will make us know a little more about Freud’s present and past history.
The psychoanalysis phase is certainly the most substantial as well as the most interesting. Here we will have to analyze our patients, earn their trust and discover the evil that torments them. It will be necessary to give vent to all our intuition, to read the dialogues well and to perceive in detail what patients do not say or would like to say. The game will not guide you through “the solution”by refining our intellect and using a practical psychoanalysis manual we will be able to interpret dreams, symbols, possible diagnoses until, hopefully, a cure is found.
The dialogue phase instead it concerns some (few) conversations with the characters who inhabit Vienna and Freud’s life. Here too we will have to act according to who we are in front of by analyzing the various spectra of the personality and interfacing with them in the best possible way to get what we want.
Not all sessions are successful …
In terms of psychoanalysis, there is no “right or wrong” in Freud’s Bone, the result of a session depends only on us but it will have no repercussions on the game if not on the lives of our patients. The success of a session depends on some factors such as the one already mentioned trust. To earn it, we will have to act cautiously according to the psychology of our patients. Someone will have to be approached in a paternal way, others instead more cold and direct. At this point the three Instances of the personality are addressed: l‘Id, the ego and the superegorepresented respectively by a hungry Minotaur, a general and a puppet.
As we succeed in breaking through our patient’s mind, we will be able to discover more and more about the reason, or alleged so, that led him to Freud’s study. Documents, drawings and letters will be important sources and we will have to analyze and read for a long time. It goes without saying that the textual interface takes over the graphics but that shouldn’t scare you. The topics covered and the world they are covered in will keep you going glued to the screen and you’ll be dying to find out what ailment lies behind each patient.
However, making mistakes is inevitable and in a certain sense a duty. As anticipated, there is no right or wrong path and some of our choices may not please patients. Only at the end of the game (a game can be completed in just over an hour) we will discover the end of those who came to visit us. This from the possibility to restart the game again and again to make different choices, to give new interpretations to patients’ dreams and fears or to change Freud’s way of approaching difficulties. It might even be fun to make the wrong choices!
A style to be appreciated
Particularly intriguing is the graphic style of the game. While Freud’s Bone was born as a Kickstarter projectmanaged to get a great deal of support from the public and managed to achieve three times the predetermined monetary target e vincendo al Red Bull Indie Forge Award 2020. All of which paid off with one Simple but effective graphic style that alternates original 2D graphics with a series of graphic novel-style cinematics really nice.
All this translates into aintriguing atmosphere full of the mysteries of that dream world that so fascinated Freud. In the same way, the soundtrack fits perfectly with the settings and the atmosphere of the game, giving us a title worthy of the best developers.
In this regard, we cannot report that the game was made entirely by one personthe Italian Fortuna “Axel Fox” Imperatore who was its author, designer and producer. An exceptional result for a very special game.
Axel Fox (Fortuna Imperatore)
Freud’s Bones review in… pills
Freud’s Bones won us over from the first moment. The only concept of a video game capable of putting us in the shoes of a psychoanalyst, indeed, THE psychoanalyst par excellence is something commendable. The poor longevity of the title is balanced by great replayability which will allow us to sit in that smoke-soaked chair once again.
If you think about the fact that it was made by just one person, we are faced with a challenging project that has managed, in our opinion, to successfully overcome the best of intentions. We had never seen video game psychoanalysis and only now do we realize how exciting it can be!
- A really interesting story and atmosphere
- Well-developed storyline and game mechanics
- High replay value
- Not very long-lived
- We would have loved to see and meet other characters