Published on November 10th, 2012 | by octaneblue0
Review: Fractured Soul
Developer: Endgame Studios
Publisher: Endgame Studios
System(s): 3DS eShop, PC
Release Date: September 13, 2012 (3DS eShop), February 25, 2014 (PC)
Fractured Soul has a storied history. Its conception began on the DS, and it was eventually moved to the 3DS, where it was meant to be a retail release. After a few years of development, Fractured Soul finally was released in the form of a download title on the 3DS eShop. Developed by Endgame Studios, Fractured Soul is an action/platformer title with a unique twist: gameplay alternates between both screens of the 3DS. The Nintendo eShop is gaining ground with some great, exclusive downloadable titles on the service; is Fractured Soul one of them?
The gameplay is very similar to the Mega Man games in that there’s a mix of shooting and platforming elements. The main goal is to get from the beginning of the stage to the end door. But it’s not a simple trip. There are gaps to cross, platforms to board, obstacles to avoid, and enemies to shoot. The main distinction of Fractured Soul is its screen switching gameplay. As you go through stages, your progress is simultaneously tracked on the top and bottom screens of the 3DS. The main character appears on one screen, while silhouetted (and invincible) on the other. There are several parts in each level where you’ll have to switch between the screens. For example, certain platforms only appear on the bottom screen, so you’ll have to switch screens mid-jump to land on one.
The switching aspect brings in a puzzle element to the game; you’ll really have to think on how to deal with some of the switching parts, but sometimes you’ll only have split-second to react. There are a few enemies scattered around the levels to deal with, and most of them die after taking a few shots from your blaster. Some enemies only appear on one screen, so you’ll have to switch to deal with them. In some cases, you can just pass through them.
The game progressively gets more difficult, adding in obstacles such as water and wind. The game is mostly generous with checkpoints; if you die, you’ll simply restart at the last checkpoint. Some checkpoints will be farther away from others though, so it will get frustrating to die at a difficult part, only to re-spawn at a previous part that was already difficult enough. There are no lives in the game, so you’ll just re-spawn at the last checkpoint until you get to the next one or to the end of the level. The game does keep track of how many lives you’ve lost, though (the purpose of which won’t be revealed because it’s a slight spoiler). Also added in are shoot-’em-up levels that use the same dual-screen switching gameplay as the platforming sections. These are interesting but admittedly out-of-place. But most of the game is the core action/platforming gameplay. There are some challenging boss fights to deal with too.
The graphics in the game pretty good. They’ve come a long way from the game’s DS roots, but there are better looking 3DS titles out there, even on the eShop. Design-wise, the game doesn’t stand out; it looks like a typical sci-fi shooter. are rather generic too. Sound-wise, the soundtrack is pretty good. It fits with the thinking and action aspects of the game. The sound effects, however, are repetitive. You will get tired of hearing that death scream.
With 30 levels to complete, the game is quite lengthy. Each of the levels has some collectibles, and the time it takes to complete is accounted for. Clearing each level gives you a star ranking, so if you want to five-star every level, you’ll have a lot of runs of each level to do. There are also additional levels unlocked as you progress through the game. These challenge levels are tough, so if you thought the main game was hard, wait until you try some of these levels. So there’s plenty to do in Fractured Soul, so you definitely get your money’s worth.
Fractured Soul is the thinking man/woman’s action/platformer. It’s a very compelling title with a unique gameplay twist. Because of its difficulty, this isn’t recommended to everyone. But if Fractured Soul sounds like your kind of game, definitely check it out.
+ Unique gameplay
+ Nice soundtrack
+ Good amount of replay value
– Frustrating difficulty may be off-putting for some
– Bland presentation
– Repetitive sound effects
Final score: 4 out of 5