(3DS eShop)

Fractured Soul (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Fractured Soul Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Seeing double

Anyone who's followed the development cycle of Fractured Soul will know that the game has experienced quite a few ups and downs on its route to retail. Not only has it been in development for close to eight years, it's also a game that even the developers wondered would ever actually see the light of day. Now resurrected on Nintendo's eShop, platforming fans can see what all the fuss was about, albeit with a steeper price than many might expect.

Upon first glance, Fractured Soul doesn't deviate too far from the standard platforming fare we've seen from 2D releases over the years. You'll still spend the majority of your time running, jumping, and blasting your way through the game's many levels, but there are a few twist to give the game a unique look and feel.

When it comes to platformers, pinpoint and responsive controls are a must. Thankfully Fractured Soul hands you a solid set of play controls to work with. Not only will you face a wealth of jumping challenges, but you'll soon find that some platforms will only be able to hold you for a short amount of time before giving way. Enemy placement is equally well done and eases you in gently before dialing up the challenge not only in the individual location of foes, but also their respective movement and firepower.

Since both screens are used at once, you're going to have to train yourself to extra vigilant if you're going to survive the game's intense screen-switching gameplay for very long. Not only do you have to keep toggling between screens in order to navigate the level platforms themselves, you'll also have to do so in order to successfully tackle the constant barrage of enemies coming your way. You'll constantly be coming across ledges and enemies that can only be navigated on one specific screen and it's up to you to make sure you're always in the right place at the right time. You'll even find yourself switching screens almost seamlessly and intuitively after awhile. It's this careful balance of platforming, shooting, and moving from screen to screen that makes the game such a unique and creative challenge.

As if the standard platforming wasn't enough, there are a host of shmup levels that mix things up a bit. These still feature the same screen-toggling action, but the physics, much like in the various worlds, sometimes feel very different and offer a lot of variety in the way the game plays and feels. While some action games toss in a shooter level to mix things up, Fractured Soul's shmup levels don't feel the least bit tacked on and add a wonderful change of pace to core of the game.

As if the meat of the package wasn't enough, the game also features a good amount of replay value for players who like to go back to levels to pick up secret items they missed the first time through, or take a shot at the par times for each level and earn more stars on their level grades. To make things even more competitive, players can also log onto the online leader boards and see how their performances stack up against friends and other players around the world.

The polygon look of the game might seem a bit odd at first glance, but once you get a taste of the rotating and zooming environments, you'll begin to see the reasoning behind the developers going with this specific graphical style. Each level has a slightly tilted look that gives off a really interesting feeling of depth in the surroundings. And when you toss in some of the gorgeous backdrops off in the distance you've got enough eye candy to keep you constantly wondering what's in store for you next.

As for the music, there are plenty of synthesized techno beats to go round, but it's the way the developers manage to keep them in the background and prevent them from interfering with the game's sound effects that comes off the most impressive. The musical track always seems to blend seamlessly with the intensity of the on-screen action, rather than drawing your attention away from what's happening.

Conclusion

Fractured Soul might have taken a while to see a release, but it lives up to the hype by taking a smooth platforming experience and weaving a dual screen play mechanic into the mix that greatly increases the playability and charm of the game. The price is a bit high by eShop standards, but for a gaming experience as rich and polished as this, it's not the deal breaker you might imagine. Those who aren't sold on the genre may wish to look elsewhere, but fans of intelligent action platformers will consider this money well spent.

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User Comments (48)

Undead_terror

#2

Undead_terror said:

Good review corbs, still not a 100% sure on buying this game but that might change when I get another card :p

BalrogtheMaster

#5

BalrogtheMaster said:

Just bought the game, and I'm instantly hooked. Yes, it may look generic and there's no 3D, but the platforming is spot-on and incredibly fun. Imagine Megaman mixed with Chronos Twins and a Halo setting.

I'd actually give it a 9 :D

MrWezzle

#6

MrWezzle said:

Just what I needed to hear. It's been a while since I bought a third-party eShop game, looks like this is it!

TheInvisibleTor

#8

TheInvisibleTor said:

I would've gotten this game if itmgot a 9 or a 10. Btw Balrog the Master r u teh guy on youtube or what?

tigermask

#10

tigermask said:

Any European release date? TBH I'm waiting for Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend 3DS... Long wait I think.

6ch6ris6

#11

6ch6ris6 said:

i think i will get this when it comes to europe. the price seems okay because it has enough playtime i guess

TheInvisibleTor

#13

TheInvisibleTor said:

Going to get $40 eshop cash!!! I'm still deciding if i should get this or not. im not into hard games anymore. not after........ mutant mudds! Dun Dun Dun!

JohnPhilipSousa

#15

JohnPhilipSousa said:

I'll likely buy this to support these developers. They seem to have really struggled with this game's development.

shimage

#16

shimage said:

@Happy_Mask Not metroidvania at all. Each stage is short and distinct from the rest. It's closer to Mighty Switch Force than metroidvania. And looking at the leaderboards, I see megarat is at the top of this one too, now.

Chris720

#17

Chris720 said:

Reminds me of Chronos Twins and that game is still unbeaten, having to look at two screens simultaneously is a right pain in the butt! But it's incredibly fun...

I might pick it up if it comes EU side if the price is right, it looks like a nice game. I'd like a demo before buying it though...

Rococoman

#18

Rococoman said:

@Chris720 This game more than reminds me of Chronos Twins. There are some variations on the gimmicks, but it looks like it plays veeeeery similarly.

I don't normally get a lot of enjoyment out of 'conquering' brutally difficult games, but that's what I did for Chronos Twins. Gotta give EnjoyUP credit, they created a game concept which was a ridiculous challenge without resorting to cheap sneak attacks and deaths. Chronos Twins was a legitimately well designed and BRUTAL game. I don't often recommend it though, since I am not sure if I can even call it 'fun,' haha.

Anyways, I was surprised that this game is NOT from EnjoyUP. Might pass on it for now.

Radixxs

#19

Radixxs said:

So the only flaw is the price? Without looking at the score, the review has no complaints. According to the review the controls are good, the screen switching is good, the shmup levels are good, the graphics are good, the music is good. This is why I dislike review scores.

kobe1724

#20

kobe1724 said:

Man, if this was only $8 instead of $12, it would be an insta-download. But I'll probably still download it after I beat Kingdom Hearts 3D (which I'm borrowing from a friend).

JulioMoruno

#21

JulioMoruno said:

Fracture Soul is awesome game. Great for EnjoyUp that other games used a similar concept to Chronos Twins... is very important to support this games.

Lunapplebloom

#22

Lunapplebloom said:

This one has always had my interest, but the price holds me back. That, and I have a ton of games to do. :P

RR529

#23

RR529 said:

The above average price, and massive block usage are what's holding me back.

Not that the game isn't worth those hefty investments (it most assuredly is, based on pure quality alone), but I'm not all that well versed in run n' gun platformers, so I don't know if the game's for me.

TeeJay

#28

TeeJay said:

@Radixxs It's not like the review score is directly influencing you to not buy the game. You think it'll be a worthwhile purchase for you? Buy it. I know I am.

Azikira

#29

Azikira said:

This game is absolutely fantastic. The visuals, while not trying to break any records, work very well. The gameplay is even more fluid and accurate then Chronos Twins (in my opinion) and is challenging enough to keep me coming back for more.

Gen0neD

#32

Gen0neD said:

Bought this game, it's really good. Although, I was under the impression that it was in 3D. It is not ;(

ouroborous

#33

ouroborous said:

not 3D? well that's a bummer, I thought it was too.
can anyone who has actually played a few levels say what they think of this game? I'm totally on the fence with this one and not crazy about the price since I only have about 16$US credit left and was considering getting some old NES games instead since they are classics.

Wilford111

#35

Wilford111 said:

Sounds exciting :) I might get it down the line, but I'm saving all my money at the moment...

Steviis_Father

#36

Steviis_Father said:

Chronos Twins + MIghty Flip Champs + Metal Storm + Bullet-hell shooter levels + TWO SCREENS = A Mega Brain Melt (on rye).

I'm intrigued, curious & afraid.

ToxieDogg

#39

ToxieDogg said:

Very good game. It IS very similiar to Chronos Twin but is better in some ways. I don't think the price is too high at all, though the fact that it takes over 2000 blocks on an SD card might be offputting to some people who don't have a 32gig SD card in their 3DS unlike myself :)

luminalace

#40

luminalace said:

I just downloaded this. Good game though getting used to the screen switching is tough for me.

Dunban

#41

Dunban said:

looks interesting, but a german review says it can be frustrating and you can`t switch to a easy mode.

AyeHaley

#42

AyeHaley said:

Loved the demo, definitely buying the game asap. I didn't notice any 3D effects though the game is great without.

Nintendood

#44

Nintendood said:

I'm also disappointed that it doesn't utilize the 3D. I'm assuming they either didn't want to put the extra time and effort into adding the effect (considering when it started development, I'm sure it wasn't originally designed with the 3DS in mind), and/or they felt that both screens should have the same look because they're both used in the exact same way with the near constant switching between the two. They probably convinced themselves that it would be too distracting for the player to switch back and forth so quickly from 2D to 3D.

I don't agree with that reasoning though, and considering the game is a 3DS eShop release (not DSiWare) - plus the fact that people who do feel that way can always turn down/off the effect with the 3D slider, it should have been added for all those who still want it.

The only good excuse for no 3D effect in a game (released for the 3DS) is if it's one that uses the gyroscope in every play mode, or requires you to turn the console on its side.

0-172

#45

0-172 said:

@FirstNintendork The developer has stated why there is no 3D. It's because the gameplay forces the player to shift their attention from one screen to another, and that renders any sort of 3D effect almost useless when you're not spending all of the time on the top screen as well as the fact that your eyes are constantly being forced to refocus on the 3D.

0-172

#46

0-172 said:

I picked this game up during the sale, and despite the unforgiving difficulty it's definitely up there with the best eShop games that I've downloaded. The game just has an addictive nature, whether it's the compulsion to complete a particularly difficult level or improve on your fastest time on a level and compete in the leader boards.

SonicTheBluBlur

#47

SonicTheBluBlur said:

@Gen0neD I think 3D would have hurt the game more than it would help, because it would be hard to focus if one screen was 3D and the other was 2D.

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