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This game is playable online at http://stephen.​granades.​com/​games/​fragile-shells/​FragileShells.​html
Story file
Release 6
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter with Blorb support - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Story file
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter with Blorb support - visit Brass Lantern for download links.

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Fragile Shells

by Stephen Granade profile

Science Fiction

Web Site

(based on 34 ratings)
6 member reviews

About the Story

You don't know how long you've been hammering against the station's wall, but you stop as soon as you realize what you've been doing.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Current Version: 6
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: FBDBA568-7315-4828-B09D-A39C774E4BF8
TUID: xvnvmmm4yok7a25b


Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2010 XYZZY Awards

2nd Place - Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7

Editorial Reviews

Pissy Little Sausages
That was a good puzzly sort of game, really solidly implemented. I had high expectations, and while it didn't exceed them exactly, it didn't... whatever the thing that is the opposite of that is called, either. Inceed. Subceed? Deceed. Undergo. Look, you know what I mean.
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Play This Thing
Like many another escape game, it has a single room full of objects to manipulate before you get to get away: codes, batteries, light sources, things that have to be used on other things. Unlike most, though, Fragile Shells has a coherent story and an effective setting: you're the lone survivor in a very damaged space module, and you need to get into the escape pod before your oxygen runs out or your environment otherwise betrays you. The writing makes it clear just how urgent that problem is, without the need for annoying or unfair time limits on the gameplay.
See the full review

Smartly designed and pleasantly eerie, Fragile Shells is worth a play if you're an escape fan looking for a nice workout for the ol' grey matter. The story doesn't particularly stand out, instead being eclipsed by puzzle solving, but the whole experience is so well made and a prime example of the genre that it should leave you with that nice warm glow inside of an escape cleanly made.
See the full review


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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
Escape-the-Room artists: this is your dream come true, April 9, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: short games
Somewhere out there is a Platonic Ideal of the "Escape the Room" game genre. In my opinion, FRAGILE SHELLS comes remarkably close.

Most Escape the Room (EtR) games have a simple premise: there is a room full of stuff, and you must escape it. Most I've seen are graphical, nearly all have annoying codes and machines that make little logical sense, a few have interesting twists, and even fewer have any emotional motivation to escape provided rooms.

FRAGILE SHELLS gives me some things I've wanted in the genre (but never realized were missing): a compelling story behind the EtR setup, a subtle and intense feeling of danger, and puzzles that don't require me to write down stupid codes and patterns. Tapping into the emotional motivation behind escaping, though--that is where this game shines for me.

Also helpful: the obstacles you encounter (and how you solve them) make sense, so long as you closely examine everything. Even so, the hints are well-implemented, doling out just enough info to get your brain kick-started.

It's not the best IF game ever (I ran into a few implementation problems, and the technical aspects of the story still aren't crystal clear to me), but it's one of the best of the EtR genre.

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Solid escape game, February 25, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
Fragile Shells was written as an escape-the-more-or-less-one-room game. It embraces all the conventions of the genre: play consists of solving item manipulation puzzles, there are no NPCs, all the story is told through flashbacks rather than actions of the PC. It is a tired old genre, and Fragile Shells does nothing to rejuvenate it.

However, in the hands of Stephen Granade it suddenly doesn't seem so bad to revisit this old acquaintance. The puzzles are fair and of the right difficulty; the flashbacks keeps us interested in what happened to the player character and the environment he is in; and writing and implementation are solid enough that interacting with the game is a pleasure. Add to this that the game feels very coherent -- something that is often difficult to pull off in a puzzle-driven game -- and one has the perfect recipe for one or two hours of straightforward fun.

Fragile Shells does not point towards the future of interactive fiction. But it does prove that recreating better versions of the past will always remain worthwhile.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing, March 7, 2015
Smart, well written, and made me feel as if I was really there. Truly a wonderful gem in a sea of fish.

See All 6 Member Reviews

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I'm looking for games from the sci-fi genre. I would prefer classic-style games, even if they're not classics (such as 'Across The Stars') because one of my all-time favorites is Planetfall, but really, anything goes.

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This is version 10 of this page, edited by Stephen Granade on 5 January 2016 at 11:02pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item