Fracter Review: A Contemplative Puzzler to Play with the Lights Off

by David Sanchez September 26, 2019 @ 7:04 am

Reviewed on PC

At first glance, Fracter conjures up memories of Limbo with its monochromatic visuals, heavy use of silhouettes and shadows, somber tone, and eerie imagery. When you actually get your hands on it, though, Fracter is actually a lot closer to Monument Valley. This is thanks to its intuitive puzzles and ambient design. Even though the game doesn’t hide its influences, though, it still manages to create a unique experience that stands on its own.

Previously available on mobile platforms, Fracter is now playable on PC. You’d think this type of game would lend itself more to a handheld format, but its new home on PC is an excellent fit and provides you with a larger screen to really get lost in the experience. Suffice it to say that if you haven’t already played it and are into more abstract and contemplative experiences, you should check out Fracter immediately.

A True Dreamscape

Fracter doesn’t waste any time dropping you into its moody, dream-like world. After running up a long set of stairs, the experience unfolds, and it does so quite beautifully. Though the game moves at a slow, or rather deliberate pace, you’re constantly moving forward, so there’s never a dull moment. Puzzles are simple for the most part, with a few tasks posing a light challenge later in the game without ever feeling daunting.

The puzzles in Fracter feature multiple moving parts and deadly enemies. One touch by these foul nightmarish creatures and it’s lights out. It’s all about how you maneuver around obstacles while taking into account enemy locations and movement patterns. It’s fun, and the hide-and-seek mechanics add a light horror element to the game.

A Surreal Blend of Dark and Serene

One of the most interesting aspects of Fracter is how it juxtaposes a dark, surreal, and eerie presentation with serene, meditative undertones. The game is dark, yes, but it’s also very clean and polished. It may border on creepy at times, but much like Monument Valley, the world of Fracter is one you want to visit and become immersed in — it’s strangely welcoming.

The lack of color is such that you should totally play this game in the dark. The only light around you should be that which is emanating from your computer screen. This creates a sense of isolation that connects you more deeply with the game world and its protagonist.

The sound design of Fracter is very minimalistic. Light echoes are heard as you explore the world. Chimes signal that you’ve completed a task or discovered a secret. And a droning, atmospheric composition plays on as you explore. The sounds work perfectly for the type of game this is, and they combine expertly with the game’s equally subdued visuals.

This is a game that’s very much about the journey. Sure, there are a couple hidden collectibles to uncover, but the game’s biggest reward is the world it’s set in. Simply guiding your character through each of the game’s stages feels great. You can probably get through Fracter in under two hours, but it’s one of those games you’ll likely revisit thanks to just how wonderful its black-and-white world truly is.

Score: 9 out of 10

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