As someone who really admires new ways to experience video games it’s always a joy to see developers create something that takes advantage of the unique features of a console. Fractured Soul on the Nintendo 3DS eShop truly uses both of the system’s screens to produce gameplay like nothing we’ve really seen before.
Gameplay Trailer for Fractured Soul on the 3DS eShop.
Essentially you play as one character whose torn between two side scrolling worlds, each represented by it’s own screen. Pressing the L or R shoulder buttons will swap back and forth between your hologram and solidified self. In hologram form you won’t interact with the environments which means you cannot take damage or land on platforms. Jumping between screens is a constant occurrence and is filled with loads of interesting platforming challenges. A basic example of this would be a closed door on the top screen that you cannot get through. The bottom screen’s alternate world however wouldn’t have a door blocking your progression. Things become even trickier when the game introduces new elements on the top screen. For example the top world may be engulfed in water, or perhaps very windy. This means the game’s physics are effected when you switch between worlds.
A handful of enemies inhabit the levels, so naturally you’ll need to blast through them with your trusty blaster gun. There are even instances where you need to destroy foes by jumping back and forth between worlds. While running and gunning is featured in the game, it’s really more about accurate platforming and puzzle solving.
Unfortunately the title doesn’t support stereoscopic 3D visuals, which quite frankly is a bit bizarre. This is acceptable if motion controls are involved, but here it’s just a bit confusing. The actual game design itself is somewhat decent and certainly passable. However, from a visual standpoint it does feel a bit uninspired and lacks polish or identity. For the most part Fractured Soul features a space station atsmophere which carries on for most of the experience.
The audio here basically just gets the job done, it’s not of poor quality nor is it something that will stand out. For the most part the music aims more at being atmospheric than catchy tracks that you’ll be humming throughout your day.
The game features plenty of replay value with it’s many levels and encouragment to replay them for better scores, hidden items and even par times. Some levels are designed with shmup style gameplay. Overpowering your highscores in these levels can become very addictive. Players can also brag to the world by uploading their highscores to online leader boards. Trust me when I say this game gets really difficult!
Overall Fractured Soul is a great example of what can be done when a developer becomes inspired by a system’s unique features. Using both screens to represent two worlds at once and having a player swap back and forth between them is constantly being used in creative ways. While the audio and visuals may feel uninspired and seem under polished for a 3DS title, the unique ideas implemented into the gameplay make up for it.
Fractured Soul from Endgame Studios is available now on the North American 3DS eShop, and can be downloaded for $11.99.