Publisher: Endgame Studios
Review Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Review Copy Provided By: Endgame Studios
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Fractured Soul is a downloadable platformer for the 3DS, available now on the Nintendo eShop. The basic premise of the game is that you have to switch between the two Nintendo 3DS screens to get past the various obstacles and enemies that stand in your way. It’s a rather cool hook that is not something seen everyday, even though it was already done back in 2010 in the form of Chronos Twins for the Nintendo DS and later WiiWare. The good news is that Fractured Soul shows just how awesome this concept can be, even if developer Endgame wasn’t the first studio to utilize the technique.
First off, it should be noted that the game does not support the system’s 3D capabilities. However in Fractured Soul you begin the game in a mysterious space station. It’s not explained why you’re there, or how you got there, you just know that you have to get out. It’s simple, straight to the point, and allows the action to begin almost immediately. There are two nearly identical environments on the top and bottom screens, save a few minor differences, and you have to figure out what to do. The good thing is that the controls make it very easy to do. They are almost deceptively simple: you can move, jump, shoot, and switch between screens. That’s it. The first bit of the level is kind of like a tutorial to get you accustomed to the controls, but it’s really unnecessary.
If you do need to get accustomed to something, it will be switching between the two screens on the fly. Admittedly, it was a bit jarring at first. Every time an obstacle came up that I couldn’t get past on my current screen, I had to stop, figure out which screen was required to move forward, switch, and then move on. It wasn’t long though before I was switching back and forth between screens without skipping a beat. As things get smoother, your pace quickens, and I’ll be the first to say that blazing between screens to take out enemies and tackle hurdles feels extremely satisfying and elicits a great feeling of accomplishment upon clearing a level.
As the levels go on, things get harder as well. The pace gets lightning quick and the environments of the different screens start to switch up, forcing you to reconsider previous strategies. A jump that works well in a normal environment for instance, won’t do so well in a reverse gravity environment, and you have to adjust accordingly. The game does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes, constantly switching up the foes that come at you and introducing new puzzles and barriers to tackle. You have to do so near instantly as well, or you will get hit by giant lasers. And you will die.
The replay ability is also surprisingly good for a downloadable title. The story isn’t super long, but it is made up in other areas. Each stage you beat gives out a rating based upon time took to complete, hidden gems found, and amount of damage took. These scores are then uploaded to online leader boards where you can compare scores against other players. You can even unlock bonus stages with challenge modes. So, there is plenty of incentive to replay levels and increase your best time.
Overall, this is one 3DS eShop game that should definitely not be missed. It is surprisingly difficult and will offer a pleasant challenge to gamers. The graphics are decent, the controls are well suited, and the action is non-stop. Pick up Fractured Soul if you want to play a fun game that offers unexpectedly deep replay value.