Freud’s Bones – Review

Freud’s Bones it is not just any game. It is difficult to think of making a point and click adventure with the intent of psychoanalysising the father of psychoanalysis himself, while at the same time letting the player enter the procedures used to treat his patients, right? Yet this is the project carried out by a single author, winner of the 2020 edition of Redbull Indie Forge, FortuneAxel FoxEmperor. The way of fruition is that of point and click in part narrative, in part puzzle. Currently available exclusively on PC (via Steam), Indie will also reach in the future Nintendo Switch Store.

Freud’s Bones, in the bones of Sigmund Freud

Freud’s Bones speaks to us of one Vienna tormented byanti-Semitism Some years Winds. Between the rise of the Austrian National Socialist Party and academic hostility towards psychoanalysis theories, we find Freuda Jew upset by the gossips circulating about him and supported byegofrom the cocaine and from the smoke of cigar, sunk in the darkest night of the soul. Man is helped by a mysterious inner voice to which, despite his disagreements, our Freud is forced to listen. We thus find ourselves taking full control of the scholar, literally entering his bones as the title says, with the absolute freedom of guide choices of the protagonist and arrive at different epilogues. Deciding to abide by the moral conventions of the time or to selfishly celebrate the pleasures of life are both available options.

When man’s masks fall off …

Freud’s Bones it’s a game point and click, to put it simply and superficially. Indeed, sessions with patients consist of different systems, all integrated with each other to arrive at the final diagnosis. With only the use of the mouse and a great desire to read (because all the texts are written and there is almost nothing narrated in the title) first you need to to analyze the medical records, where all the papers useful for understanding the case, which in some cases will be sifted through in search of keyword to underline to try to create links. After this first level of control, there is the actual session, in which you have to ask the right questions, choosing from time to time which one attitude keep, between being more professional and aloof, more friendly – relying at times on analysis or at others on intuition. The sessions themselves will be able to produce texts to be analyzed in order to find other key elements with which to ask other questions and continue the research. The system is quite simple to manage, since it is necessary to basically select the questions based on the arguments and try to make the patient open, allowing us to overcome the opposing defenses of the Superego to reach consciousness. When enough elements are available, a diagnosis can be made, associating some images with the discomfort manifested by the patient. At this stage, we will be able to choose between two approaches different, one more “clinical” and another more “creative”, based on more risky hypotheses. The predilection for one or the other will influence the way we behave Freud towards the world.

The mechanics seem difficult to tell it, but once you put your hand to the first cases, you will no longer be able to detach yourself from the screen like a novice Sherlock. For example, the first case we will deal with is that of one woman who can no longer walk, while a subsequent case concerns a megalomaniac suffering from haptophobia. Despite a rather limited number of cases, Freud’s Bones manages to propose an interesting variety of case studies, allowing us to take a look at the complexity of the world of psychosis that can afflict the mind and soul of the human being.
But the game is not just played in the personal living room of Freud. Beyond the borders our studio hides a world of human and professional relationships. Venturing to the streets of Viennawe can decide to make a stop at the tobacconist or the Pharmacy of the city, to replenish our stocks of cocaine or cigars, both useful tools to calm the mind of the protagonist in moments of greatest crisis. Let’s not forget to make a stop in bookshelf, to choose the covers of our next books. These activities, as well as the search for patrons between doctors and the Austrian aristocracy, they will affect the finances at our disposal.

Captivating style

Freud's Bones
Simple and effective, essentially 2D, it is style elaborated by Giulia Sabatini is immediate to understand and renders in clear way environments and game elements, without giving up a touch surreal and dreamlike – as when we can glimpse what is hidden directly in the heads of our patients and our good Freud, a situation that is portrayed as anything but gore or rough. To this is added a very pleasant musical comment, composed of one fitting soundtrack but not intrusive. As there are no spoken parts – from documents to dialogues – everything is mainly written and accompanied by sound effects, with the use of an Italian that can be technical but is made understandable by the numerous documents entrusted to the player’s consultation. Obviously, we have a complete localization of the texts available, while the longevity settles around 7 hours, which will double in case you want to discover the various epilogues – for now only on PC via Steambut also announced on Switch.

Version tested: PC
Platforms where available: PC, Switch