Last week, we were very excited to receive Fractured Soul for the N3DS eShop from the folks at Endgame Studios. On top of that, we got to interview Endgame’s Grant Davies on this new platformer, which we posted to the site yesterday. Our time with Fractured Soul and Endgame Studios has been an exciting one for Nintendo Charged, and we’re here to give you guys our (totally un-biased) review of the game. If you love platformers like Mega Man or Cave Story, you’re gonna want to check out the review after the break. Read on for our thoughts on the game!
Not much of the story of Fractured Soul is told in the actual game, but there is a plot, for those of you who were wondering. The creators give a really great introduction to the game, so it would probably make much more sense if I had them explain it:
“You are forgotten. Stranded on an outpost in deep space, you remember nothing of who you are. All you know is that you are different. Gifted with a unique power, you are able to shift into a parallel dimension at will. The outpost has been invaded, and is now swarming with hostiles. Escape is imperative, and with danger on all sides, it is only your power that can give you a fighting chance.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself. So there you have it. In a game where all you really need to know is to shoot, jump, and switch screens, you don’t really need a story, but Fractured Soul has managed to still have a pretty good one too!
Fractured Soul is what you’d expect from great platformers like Mega Man or Cave Story, but with an unexpected twist. Since you have the power to switch to a parallel dimension, one dimension is shown on the top screen, while the other is displayed on the bottom screen. Lets say you get stuck in one dimension. Just switch to the other dimension, where you’ll find a way to progress in the level. If there’s a laser blocking your path, press the L or R button, and the next dimension will most likely be laser-less.
In our exclusive interview with Grant Davies of Endgame Studios (posted yesterday), we got to talk to him about the game’s difficulty curve. Here’s an excerpt of his thoughts on the subject:
One thing I’ve noticed is reviews commenting on the difficulty of Fractured Soul – some say it’s a good challenge whereas a couple cannot conquer the difficulty curve. I did a talk at Game Connect Asia Pacific talking about the challenges we faced in balancing difficulty in the game. In one of our earliest playtest sessions we did with our friends at Iron Monkey Studios (now Fire Monkeys), after playing the first few levels they wanted to punch us in the nose, because the game was so hard. We asked them to rate the difficulty out of 10 and they couldn’t – it was too far off the charts!
All the way throughout development, Endgame studios has been tweaking the difficulty curve so it’s not super frustrating to play, but that doesn’t mean that Fractured Soul is easy; this is the hardest game I’ve played so far on Nintendo 3DS. In fact, when playing through the game, I had to take breaks in order to save my system from getting thrown out the window. I’m telling you, it’s such a great feeling to finally have a game I can’t just breeze through! With most games, I can beat them so fast before reviewing them that I almost forget what I just played. This one made me take the time to master the controls, and even though I got upset a few times, my overall experience with the game was a real breath of fresh air from the increasingly easy difficulty curves in most games of today. I would say that Fractured Soul is just about as difficult as Sega’s Shinobi, released on 3DS last year.
One of the first things you’ll notice after downloading, is the fact that 3D is disabled in Fractured Soul. Is this a bad thing? Not at all. In fact, if you had to look back and forth at both a 3D and 2D screen to play this game, the result would be headache-inducing. While the graphics aren’t groundbreaking, they sure do look nice for an eShop title, and you can really tell that a lot of work has been put into the level design and unique environments displayed on both screens. The music in the game really gives off the futuristic vibe you’d expect from this type of game, and I tended to use headphones when playing, due to the superb mix of background music and sound effects compared to most handheld titles. The polygon visuals may seem weird at first but trust me, by the time you get used to the screen switching element, you’ll have fallen in love with the visuals. Overall, the presentation gives off a really “fractured” feel, just like the developers at Endgame Studios intended.
I think we were all a bit surprised about the $11.99 price on Fractured Soul, but it all makes sense when you realize that this game has as much content as any big 3DS retail game out now, and also the fact that it did in fact take the developers eight years to release. Even though you can buy most Nintendo eShop games for about $6.99, you’ll be glad to know that it’s worth every extra penny. I have absolutely no complaints on the gameplay or presentation, and all of you platforming fans out there will just love this game. For all of you gamers who aren’t used to such a high difficulty curve, I challenge you to see just how far you can get in Fractured Soul for the Nintendo 3DS eShop.