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Fractured Soul Demo Review

Website Disclaimer: This is not a full-product review. This review only gives a rating based on the content available in the demo.

 

Image of gameplay in the Fractured Soul Demo. The protagonist is attempting to jump over enemies instead.

Platformer Logic: Has superpowers, still jumps like Mario.

 

Fractured Soul is an “Action, Adventure”, platformer developed by Endgame Studios and digitally distributed by Nintendo on their 3DS handheld platform via the Nintendo eShop. The game is innovative as it employs both screens of the 3DS and relies on the protagonist’s ability to shift through dimensions (from the top screen to the bottom and vice-versa) to navigate the levels and solve puzzles. The player can shift between worlds by pressing the shoulder buttons (L or R), allowing them to bypass obstacles and even enemies, which under normal circumstances would prove a hindrance for speed runners. If executed properly, most enemies can be avoided without confrontation, however, for less elaborate first-timers, pressing either Y or A will fire your blaster, which you can use to destroy enemies should they prove to be a problem instead. However, even with the ability to shift through dimensions there are some enemies which have to be destroyed in both dimensions in order to progress as they will only disappear when they are simultaneously defeated.

 

The demo levels feature a variety of objects for navigating the environment, such as floating platforms, and timed variants of these which disappear momentarily after they are triggered, horizontal hand rails and respectively vertical ladders, normal vertical walls, and death walls which are either stationary or have a pre-programmed movement, and can exist in both orientational formats (horizontal or vertical). The basic objective of the game is to get from the start of the level to the end, and then activating a door by pressing up (on the D-pad or 3DS analog stick) to exit the level and transition to the next. Beyond this the players can choose to replay earlier levels to find secret item pick ups or to finish the level with a faster time thus achieving a better score.

 

Image of gameplay from the Fractured Soul Demo. The protagonist is suspended in one dimension and on a ladder in another.

Your reverse psychology won’t work on me.

 

The graphics mainly consists of 3D models, both for the environment and the entities (that is to say, the player, item pickups, and enemies), which demonstrate the 3DS’s graphical advancements from it’s predecessor. The game throws in particle and decal effects on a frequent basis, which cause the effect of making the game look more realistic, regardless of it’s cartoony, fictitious world. Due to an unfortunate lack of knowledge on my part I’m not able to go into details on some technical features employed in the game’s levels, but to put it simply: the game looks beautiful. Oh, but if your eyes don’t melt at the sight of glorious cell-ionizing 3D, then you might be a tad disappointed at the lack of the Nintendo 3DS’s 3D feature, which *could* work in this game. I’m not sad to see it go however, since it’s clear to most that I express contempt at this relatively new feature available to Nintendo Handheld consoles and I fail to see why Nintendo would allow such an abomination to exist in the first place. Moving on swiftly…

 

The soundtrack on the demo is also equally superb. It’s like minimal techno mixed with video-game sounds that help gauge a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of similar video-game soundtrack prevalent in science fiction themes in many early platformer game series such as Crash Bandicoot and Ratchet and Clank, this is appropriate, since the first few levels the demo grants you access to early levels sharing the aforementioned sci-fi theme. The sound effects are sharp and atmospheric and help the player to feel immersed in the game universe, this is good since the game requires so much concentration. Get some good headphones/earphones before you buy this game, you’ll feel the benefit of it.

 

I was inspired to write about this game, ignoring that the Demo was not a final representation of the product, because I felt this game demonstrated a great innovation from a technical perspective from how the game was designed to utilize both screens of Nintendo’s Handheld Console the 3DS. While it isn’t available on the original Nintendo DS, there is evidence that it was designed for the previous handheld with the same concept in mind. If you are curious, feel free to watch the original concept for the game below:

The only cons with the demo is that with just 10 uses (as opposed to 30 which is the standard use-time limit of 3DS demos), and with only four levels it leaves me hungry for more. To conclude my review of the demo version I give it a score of:

Fractured Soul Demo: 8/10

 

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