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Fragile Dreams : Farewell Ruins Of The Moon review

Time to indulge in a spot of moonlighting

If you were to sum up Fragile Dreams to a friend, you'd probably say it was something like a survival mission set in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo wasteland.

A young boy, Seto, is left to pick his way through the deserted ruins looking for signs of life and some company. As you guide him through darkened shopping malls and abandoned railway stations you become increasingly aware that this is quite unlike any game you've played before, thanks to a strong sense of mood, a mix of fear and wonder at what might be around the next bend.

The feeling of being dumped on your own in a strange environment calls to mind the likes of Metroid and the more recent Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, and it's helped by a striking landscape and a sparse soundtrack, including some nerve-jangling Remote speaker interventions.

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Visionary

Some of the sights packed into the game are jaw-dropping in their beauty. The first time you emerge from a tunnel into a Tokyo sunrise is just lovely, and the game even gives you a few minutes to take it all in as you amble to your next objective.

Fragile Dreams is a slow-burning adventure with a hint of role playing. You track down survivors, find lots of keys, play games with ghost children and carefully explore your environment. You level-up automatically, with no points to assign, but it provides a sense of pleasing progress.

Less pleasing is the way you gain your experience points, because the combat is clumsy and at times infuriating. The problem is that there's no lock-on facility which, when you're holding a torch, makes for some wildly chaotic skirmishes.

Tap Chancing

Take the cackling disembodied legs, appearing as a gang and kicking you to the ground. When you encounter these you're generally locked in with them until you see them off which means trying to fix them with your torch beam while you hit them. Maddening doesn't come into it, especially when your weapon breaks mid-combat and you have to scrabble around for something else.

Unfortunately complaints don't end with the combat. Some of the set-pieces Seto is challenged to are painfully tedious. One had Seto crouching in a dank merry-go-round tea cup to try and trick spiteful survivor Crow into turning his back on him so he could be crept up on - yet every time he so much as twitched, Crow was onto him and ran away.

So because of this, Fragile Dreams is in danger of shooting itself in the foot. It's a game like no other in look and feel, but perhaps developer Tri Crescendo could have taken some cues from other games in a number of key areas so that players would want to play past the first couple of hours and experience its haunting journey, because it really is a journey worth making.

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This is an edited version of a review that appears in issue 54 of Official Nintendo Magazine. To read the full version with more in-depth analysis, extra boxouts and screenshots, pick up issue 54 of Official Nintendo Magazine which is on sale now. You can buy it here.

Comments

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  1. Marz Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 07:58

    Not bad for manga kind of game for wii. Must try!

  2. Shadowdragonica Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 08:34

    this looks really good
    Can't wait 2 try it!

  3. piccadillio Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 09:27

    Prepare for the fanboy backlash!

  4. seancuk23 Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 14:02

    Oh poo! :cry:

  5. Iln Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 15:48

    I think I've been waiting long enough for this that my expectations have tailed off, so I'll probably still enjoy it a wee bit.

  6. Icarus_Kid Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 17:12

    Score seems to be spot on. Nice.

  7. ShadowofPain Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 18:45

    Good score seems just right :) The game may be beautiful and original but if large chunks of the gameplay are flawed then 72% is about right. Way better than NP's review.

  8. KageYashsa Thursday 18th Mar 2010 at 22:44

    Just got my copy today (even though it's only supposed to be out tomorrow :twisted: :S ) i started playing it, and it's not as difficult as i thought it would be, the noise from the remote is a bit annoying at times which is kind of distracting. i haven't got that far in it so far but from what i've played of it so far it's really good. Can't wait to see the ending :D :P :o

  9. BlueLink3411 Sunday 21st Mar 2010 at 11:19

    To be honest, I WOULD buy this game if it wasn't such a rip-off of Fallout 3

  10. Namek09 Tuesday 23rd Mar 2010 at 14:08

    I really want to get this, Doesnt sound like my local game is stocking it at the moment... Its Ł25 on play.com though so all hope is not lost! :)

  11. TheLegendOfNinte Monday 2nd Aug 2010 at 23:14

    I couldn't disagree with this score more! While the game's lack of lock-on combat does slightly weaken the experience, it never effected me so much that the game became unplayable, and it never actually frustrated me in the slightest. It's cute, terrifying, heartbreaking and beautiful all in one, packing in the most engrossing storyline available in Wii. Masterful, Gold Award material, if you ask me.

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