by William Thompson
reviewed on 3DS
PAX AUS Indie Showcase
We’ve already had a look at a couple of other titles (Antichamber and MacGuffin’s Curse) selected for the PAX AUS Indie Showcase, so Fractured Soul was always going to be on our horizon at some stage. Fractured Soul (reviewed on the 3DS, but is part of the Steam Greenlight program) is primarily a puzzle platformer – with a bit of combat and some space shooter thrown into the mix.
The first thing you will notice about Fractured Soul is its use of the dual screens. Both screens will look almost identical apart from the two avatars (one on each of the two screens) having a slightly different look to them, as the top screen avatar begins in a ghostly, semi-transparent form. Hitting the right or left bumper will then switch control to the avatar on the top screen. This plays an important part in the puzzle portion of the game, as some areas are only reachable using one of the two separate avatars. Throughout the game, the top screen persona will be affected by the setting and each has varying abilities. One avatar floats in a watery setting allowing the gamer to float across larger areas. The downfall is that the same avatar performs somewhat slowly. Another top-screen avatar operates in a windy wintery location using the wind to traverse larger areas than normal, whilst another guise functions in a volcanic, lava spewing scenario. Another focus is in an anti-gravity area.
Each of the areas will require the gamer to activate both personalities in order to complete the levels. Enemies will appear on both screens, but will only affect one of the personalities at a time. There are areas in which you can actually bypass an enemy, just by remaining on one particular screen and sneaking past the enemy whilst ‘ghosted’.
Combat is very basic, and there are just a handful of enemy types. Each is easily distinguishable and for the most part can be taken care of at a safe distance even before they notice you. Enemies alone will cause you little trouble, but combined with some of the puzzle environments will become a tougher proposition. Still not overly daunting by any means, but at least there is a challenge.
With level names such as Despair, Depression and Distress it isn’t hard to guess that some of them can be extremely tough to play, especially on the first play through. In fact, they can border on the utterly frustrating on occasions.
Unique use of the dual screens
Can be utterly frustrating at times