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Fragile Shells

by Stephen Granade profile

Science Fiction
2010

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Number of Reviews: 6
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1-6 of 6


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An enjoyable shortish escape game in space, February 3, 2016
Stephen Granade is the author of Losing Your Grip, one of my favorite games. So I was excited to try this one.

This was entered in the Jay is Games casual gameplay competition, which produced another favorite game, Plotkin's Dual Transform. In Fragile Shells, you play an astronaut with a concussion in a piece of a space station that is heavily damaged. You have to figure out a way to get out.

The game was fun; there are 8 points to win, and each is a relatively simple task, but requires some lateral thinking. I was able to get about 5-6 points on my own. However, I had some trouble when I knew what I needed to do, but didn't know about certain capabilities of the equipment. (For instance, I didn't know with the panel that you could (Spoiler - click to show)connect two wires together<\spoiiler>).

Overall, a fun, fairly short game. Good for fans of science fiction.


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.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A solid, short, scifi "escape game", February 21, 2012
by Janos Honkonen (Helsinki, Finland)
Fragile Shells falls to the category of "escape games", where the aim is to get out of a single room or a small space by using the items that are available around the player. The locale and the backstory for this is rather more interesting than in many similar games: a half of a module from a space station, spinning out of control.

Fragile Shells is a puzzle driven game, and although the puzzles are very "adventure game convoluted" and stretch the suspension of disbelief beyond the breaking point, they are enjoyable enough and fun to figure out.

I would've hoped a little bit more from the writing, though. Apart from one piece of narrative, there really is no feel of claustrofobia or panic about being in... well, half a module of a space station that's open to the space on one end.

In any case, this is a solid brainteaser with reasonably good writing and background, and a joy to play.

0 of 15 people found the following review helpful:
Disappointing, June 5, 2011
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)
Yet again, I'm underwhelmed by games everyone else loves -- not so much for the technical aspects, but for the content. That's precisely the joy of this game: facile and mindless "peace" sentiments coupled with some arguably anti-American stereotypes. (Spoiler - click to show)Herein, the UK has a space program, and America decides to attack one of their outposts. Yes, yes. It's more of the same thing we see every day. I guess nothing much has changed in the future!

At any rate, until those aspects of the plot show up, there's nothing but quality. The puzzles are challenging but not impossible; the descriptions are spartan but serviceable; the flashbacks provide the reason for your actions and enough backstory to keep you interested. Even the amnesia makes sense and doesn't feel trite.

As far as making use of the "escape the room" mentality, Fragile Shells does a good job of it. There are enough "rooms" so that you don't feel hemmed in, and yet, you do feel the need to escape. Your situation is dire, but yet communicated without annoying timers and suchlike.

However, the characterization is inconsistent (no particularly English, Scottish, etc dialog is used), and the story is largely unemotional. Also, you won't find out the content until late in the game, but be aware that it is coming.

On one hand, I can see why this placed so high in the Jay is Games comp: it's well-designed and the puzzles are challenging without being unfair. On the other hand, I can see why this placed high in the Jay is Games comp: it feeds the insatiable hatred of the envious and the jealous.

10 of 12 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.

11 of 11 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.


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