When Muramasa released last year, I understood why some criticized the game for not offering more to collect, find, and simply “do” while running through the crafted backdrops Vanillaware paints with a level of detail and skill worthy of history’s artistic masters. I didn’t agree with any of those people, but I grasped the complaints of those that weren’t drawn into the real depth of that living-breathing world just beneath the digital brush strokes of painted splendor those same people saw as the game’s central draw.
When it comes to Fragile, I can already hear a similar chorus not so thoroughly impressed with the way the furnishings of the apocalypse are offered on the Wii. Part of me enjoys a ruined world full of junk to collect and strange personalities to catalog – the world of Fallout does make for good stories from the road.
And yet, Fragile is carving a path that allows me to justifiably use the word unique for once, exploring a neglected aspect attached to the end of civilization – the immense and chilling isolation that leaves stray animals to inherit the earth.
A less-is-more philosophy toward design earns a different reaction when that loneliness makes every rare item and every glimpse of potential companionship something to cherish, to latch on to exactly because of the distance between discoveries. But this isn’t an easy feeling to explain, and certainly not something suited to a number – though unfortunately my thoughts toward that end will have no impact in preventing that.
Fragile Dreams is too Fragile for that system, a game you’ll simply need to play alone to reach an understanding with. But don’t accept the idea that “this isn’t a game for everyone” – because this has long been a ridiculous and frivolous waste of words, and your time spent reading them. There is no game to rule them all, to please everyone with equal success, but there are a few each year that try to make a connection through the crude output-input limitations of the medium that are worth everyone’s attention.
Now if I can only capture that idea with some more review-like words this week I might be getting somewhere with making a connection of my own.
Wish me luck.