by William Thompson
reviewed on 3DS
At times, it was best just to walk away and have a rest or go back to some of the easier levels and attempt to beat my best time. The levels each have a par time to beat and although some of them seem impossible, if you make enough attempts you will eventually get near or under the pass mark. But that is only a portion of the grading for the level. In each level there are ‘secrets’ which look like some sort of crystal that need to be collected to gain maximum points. Many are in hard to reach places and there are some that I didn’t come across at all (maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough whilst trying to survive). The fact that they may be on either screen can make it tough trying to collect them. I found it extremely tough, even on the lower levels to get all the secrets and complete the level inside the par time, enabling the coveted five star rating.
In amongst the levels are a couple of R-Type style side scrolling space-shooters. They are certainly a fun distraction from the frustrating platforming sequences, but I’m not sure they really fit in with the game. The first space shooter comes on the back of a particularly annoying level where you are required to complete the entire level in a single run. Most of the levels have a number of checkpoints, but the lack of a checkpoint in that particular level had me on the verge of throwing my 3DS out the window.
The visuals are pretty good, but look slightly dated. Unfortunately, although it is a 3DS game, it contains no actual 3D visuals as the game was initially developed for the NDS. Character models are a bit on the blocky side, but I believe this is as intended. The background settings are nicely designed, making it simple to determine the next step in the puzzle, even if the implementation is not as simple. The sound effects are fairly plain with the typical grunts when jumping, laser style weapon discharging and small explosions on deaths). The background music is also inconspicuous in its looping quality.
Fractured Soul offers a unique experience using the dual screens, and it certainly takes a couple of levels before you actually adjust to having to keep an eye on both screens. Most of the levels, despite being timed for the Par Score, allow gamers to move along slowly and figure out the desired solution. Unfortunately, there are a couple that require you to continue moving, and it was probably these levels that provided me with the greatest aggravation. Checkpoints on some of the levels could definitely be handled better. Combat is simple and the controls worked well enough despite my apparent lack of skill. The space-shooter levels feel a little tacked-on, but certainly allow for a change of pace. If you are a hardcore platform gamer and can get through the frustrating nature of some of the levels, then Fractured Soul is definitely worth a look.
This review was completed on the Nintendo 3DS version of the game. PC gamers looking to try the game should vote for it in the Steam Greenlight project. The PC trailer can be seen below.
Unique use of the dual screens
Can be utterly frustrating at times