GamingReview: Fracter

Review: Fracter

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Reassemble Yourself

Brought to you by 4L Games Limited, Fracter invites you to an isometric, puzzle-filled journey of self-discovery. Move along dim areas with a spherical guide to reclaim lost pieces of yourself. Internal conflict takes the form of demons that get in your way to hinder your progress. Don’t fear however, this is an optimistic adventure. The punches aren’t too hard and the reward is satisfying enough. Ported from Android and IOS to console, Fracter is a beautiful, ambient, and quick playthrough that will make you feel a little better about yourself.

Your journey begins..

Gameplay

Fracter introduces itself seamlessly, as you would expect games to do so these days. You’re immediately moving your character around as the environment opens up. Use the left stick to walk. The right trigger selects objects, and the right stick operates the selected objects. Align platforms, and mirrors to guide light to trigger door openings, allowing you to progress. The puzzles get more complex as you go, but the game is only seven levels. The difficulty never falls out of reach. I struggled more with the right analog stick (it is a mobile game port), than I did solving the puzzles. There are a few hidden pathways, where fragments of yourself are hiding, waiting for your rescue. Collect them all for the true ending.

connect the pieces to the puzzle, and also yourself

Also lurking in the depths of your mind are dark silhouettes of your self, representing negativity, fear, and other dark emotions that you must avoid or destroy with the light. Checkpoints are a plenty here, so falling to the demons won’t set you far back. This keeps frustrations down, and raises eagerness to advance. I love the concept of the enemies lurking about, but feel like it’s a missed opportunity for diversity. A simple suggestion would be if the monsters in game took different forms. Each manifestation could symbolize a different kind of issue or struggle. All in all, the themes of self rediscovery are portrayed very safely. There are no instances of “taking it too far.” This can help bring necessary attention of human conflict to the unaware. I’m tempted to classify Fracter as more of an experience, rather than a game.

Audio and Visuals

Fracter’s soundtrack is more focused on high reverb and sustain. Echoes, droplets, and ethereal droning tunes come in and out depending on what’s happening on screen. As you complete puzzles and open doorways, the music will boom in with loud hums and heavy bass. The soundtrack really gives life to the game, considering the absence of color. It feels like you’re exploring a dark cave or chasm, but you’re not alone. Your internal struggles will keep you company as you fight darkness with light. Visually, the monochromatic color scheme fits perfectly with the journey. The different shades of grey do a great job of adding detail to the environment. The light from your guide shines bright in contrast to the dark labyrinth of your mind. Put some headphones on for this playthrough.

Darker manifestations of yourself will try to hinder your progress

The message

Upon entering each of the seven levels from the circular hub world, you’ll receive a short poem that serves as a hint to complete the following puzzles you’ll encounter. The poems double as life advice, which is a brilliant use of metaphor. When you complete the final obstacle, you’ll receive one last poem congratulating you for your conquest. If you manage to collect all fragments of yourself along the way, you’ll be recognized for doing so with a more conclusive message. I was hoping for a little more here, but the satisfaction of bettering oneself via interactive media is good enough.

Bottom Line

Fracter is a much needed deviation from the normalcies within the gaming realm. It also may introduce atmospheric puzzle games to new players and inspire inquisitive thinking. Loosen your grip on the controller and lower your mental firewall a little. As the credits roll, if you feel anything philosophically, spiritually, or even if you sense just a little goodness deep down, it’s safe to say that Fracter has done its job.

SUMMARY

+ game illustrates a safe and friendly representation personal struggle
+ the journey is engaging and the puzzles aren't too troublesome
+ great ambience
- the right control stick is wonky
(Reviewed on Switch. Also available on Android, and IOS)
Wil Raterman
@brgrboii: NYC, boomer shooter enthusiast, Retro junkie, Grenadier, Zoner, Future Publicist, let's talk! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl346Qq5rT5Xa8mN_q_RWzQ

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