Last June – roughly one year after the Nintendo eShop was launched – I published a list article called “Top 5 Nintendo eShop Downloads”, picking the five digital titles I enjoyed the most in the service’s first full year.
Now, not quite a year later, the Nintendo eShop has evolved into a whole new beast – dozens of great games are available, from the all-new 3D-enhanced titles to the Virtual Console library and more.
To be honest, I don’t even think Xbox Live Arcade experienced such quick success. Though it hasn’t been two full years since the eShop launched, I would like to go ahead and publish my follow-up list; “Top 5 Nintendo eShop Downloads (Part 2)”. Continue reading →
If you still haven’t downloaded and played Fractured Soul, the brutally-difficult dual-screen platformer (developed by Endgame Studios) that launched on the eShop a few months ago…well, to put it lightly, you’re missing out. Just take a look at my original review; I gave the game a final score of 9/10 because it “…[focused] on its most unique innovation (the dual-screen game design) and [excelled] with the brilliant execution of that idea.”
To be fair, the game was pricey when it came out, and still remains one of the most expensive digital downloads (not including digital versions of retail games) on the eShop. It also required a massive chunk of space on your SD card.
If these issues prevented you from playing the game, I’ve got some good news – Endgame Studios is putting a playable demo on the Nintendo eShop on December 6. The demo version will include the first four stages of the game, and should give you enough time to fall in love with it (or become very irritated with its punishing difficulty level).
Some additional news related to Fractured Soul; Endgame Studios is planning an update for the game, fixing an issue that many players had with one of its stages (level 8) by adding some checkpoints.
Here is the direct quote about the update from Grant Davies, Endgame Studios’ managing director:
“We’re also working on submitting an update for the game to make the infamous level 8 a little easier – by adding checkpoints. It’s no secret that Fractured Soul is a damn hard platformer … probably a little too hard. Hopefully this will smooth out the difficulty curve somewhat.”
Make sure you check out the demo version of Fractured Soul when it comes out next week!
*Note: I originally published this review on GAMINGtruth.com. You can check out the original version by clicking here.
Fractured Soul is a side-scrolling game (available via Nintendo eShop) that blends many of the basic elements of the puzzle/platform genre with its own unique twist. Some of the best eShop games to date are actually based on the same one-trick concept – Mutant Mudds, VVVVVV, Mighty Switch Force! – but none of them are quite as tough or as exciting as Fractured Soul.
In this case, the traditional 2D gameplay is split into “parallel dimensions”, with slightly different versions of the same stage set on the top and bottom screens. Most of the tricks up Fractured Soul’s sleeve are designed around this gameplay mechanic, and part of the challenge is learning how to survive while rapidly shifting between the two screens.
Fractured Soul feels a lot like Mega Man, only it seems to constantly play “tug of war” with your attention span by diverting your focus and barraging you with obstacles, enemies, platforms and projectiles that are found on each screen. Some objects appear in both dimensions, but a lot of the game involves shifting to the other screen for the sake of passing through obstructions.
For example, imagine you are making your way through a corridor, when suddenly you come across an enemy robot and a dead end – your path is obviously blocked, and the robot has already started firing his plasma rifle. You quickly glance at the opposite screen – the “parallel dimension” of the stage – and you notice that the dead end and enemy robot are not part of that view. With no time to react and a clear path in sight, you “shift” from one screen to the other, and continue safely down the hallway. After you encounter a few more puzzles like this, you start to catch on…”switch to the other screen, pass through obstacles,” no big deal…right?
Here is the catch: Fractured Soul throws new challenges at you just as you begin to embrace and master all the issues that you were having with the previous ones. Like last year’s Shinobi (Nintendo 3DS), part of the fun is learning how to bee-line through the stages. Making the perfect run and tackling the seemingly impossible gauntlet of platforming challenges will leave you enjoying more success with each consecutive attempt.
Sure, it involves a lot of trial-and-error, but Fractured Soul also benefits from its online leaderboards feature: you can earn up to five stars for your performance in each stage and then compare your high scores with other players from all over the world.
Naturally, “speedruns” are encouraged, which is pretty cool – it actually feels very rewarding to shave a second or two from your best score, particularly if you earn another star or two for the effort.
Conclusion/Recommendation – Buy It.
Fractured Soul doesn’t need a bunch of complicated mechanics or obnoxious distractions to provide a tough challenge. In fact, there isn’t even much of a story or a plot – you more or less jump right into the first stage once you select “New Game”. Instead Fractured Soul focuses on its most unique innovation (the dual-screen game design) and excels with the brilliant execution of that idea. It urges you to break from your traditional platforming routine, re-thinking your approach to such a familiar genre…in fact, this is perhaps its most impressive accomplishment. It forces you to play by its tricky rules, but it takes you on a pretty slick ride as long as you manage to master the split-screen concept.
If you are the type that tends to have a limited amount of patience, you should be warned: Fractured Souls has the potential to break even the most patient player, but it certainly rewards you for putting up with such a high level of difficulty. I walked away from this one feeling quite satisfied, and urge fans of the aforementioned puzzle/platforming games on eShop to look into this one as well.
This week, the Nintendo eShop will see the launch of two new 3D games that have managed to capture my attention.
Fractured Soul – Endgame Studios
The first is Endgame Studios’ Fractured Soul, which I mentioned along with a trailer in The Daily 3DS Trailers Report last week. This side-scrolling game has you jumping between parallel dimensions, solving platforming puzzles and engaging in combat as you move from one plane to the next. It looks pretty interesting, though it appears that Fractured Soul will also be the largest eShop download to date – even bigger than the full version of New Super Mario Bros. 2. It also sets you back about $12, making it one of the most expensive downloads to boot.
Still, it might be worth biting the bullet…because Fractured Soul happens to look pretty damn cool. Take a look at the trailer below:
Next, Teyon is bringing its Heavy Fire franchise from the WiiWare platform to the eShop. Heavy Fire: Special Operations 3D boasts destructible environments, three different character classes, and an action-packed on-rails shooter experience based around modern warfare-style combat.
The graphics actually don’t look bad, and the gameplay could definitely be somewhat entertaining, but I am nonetheless hesitant and curious to see if this $5 download actually ends up being worth its sticker price. After all, even if it is one of the first real “shooters” on the handheld, I am worried that the “on-rails” gameplay will really limit the experience. Regardless, as much as I would like to see a proper FPS on the 3DS, I would still always prefer to get my hands on another solid and affordable eShop game – and Heavy Fire 3D appears to fit into both categories. Check out the trailer below:
Stay tuned for more about these new eShop titles – perhaps a review of Heavy Fire 3D will be posted, but you can almost expect to see something about Fractured Soul in the coming weeks. I’m picking it up as soon as possible.
The Daily 3DS Trailers Report will be posted on a regular basis, and includes all of the new trailers for Nintendo 3DS games found each day on the Internet.
Today’s 3DS Trailers Report includes almost half a dozen videos, so there is plenty of new stuff to check out this morning.
For the first-party fanatics, there’s a double serving of Pokemon with footage for both of the upcoming 3DS app/games, Pokedex 3D Pro and Pokemon Dream Radar. There is also footage of Paper Mario: Sticker Star, straight from PAX.
Over the weekend, I overlooked a pair of videos that are coincidentally based on eShop side-scrollers. First, Endgame Studios’ Fractured Soul looks pretty slick, and comes out in just over a week (9/13/12) on the eShop. Finally, the team that brought you Pokemon (Game Freak) is getting ready to launch an all-new platformer called Rhythm Hunter: Harmo Knight. Sadly, it hasn’t been confirmed for release outside of the Japanese eShop…at least, not yet.
Here are all of the embedded videos, mostly shared straight from YouTube:
I have been away for quite some time, as you can see from the feed on the front page.
Unfortunately, moving into a new apartment and trying to set up the Internet during move-in week in a major college town never leads to good results. Alas, excuses are excuses – and I would like to jump right back into the swing of getting headlines posted and putting up some new reviews.
First things first, here are a few assorted headlines from the past few days – old news to some, but still worth knowing about:
Animal Crossing Jumps Out During First Half of 2013
…and that’s all for now. Nintendo recently Tweeted the slightly-vague “launch window” for the 3DS installment of Animal Crossing, subtitled “Jump Out”. Unfortunately, that “window” spans the entire first half of next year. Japan, on the other hand, gets to check out the latest hoarding/OCD simulator this November.
Latest Brain Age Teasing American Brains in December
It was only a matter of time before the latest Brain Age game was localized for North America, and the confirmation finally came last week. Set for launch on December 3, Dr. Kawashima is back to test the sharpness of the brains of America’s finest with Brain Age: Concentration Training. Once again, the goal is to tone your “working memory” by performing a daily routine of basic brain “exercises”. Hopefully the latest Brain Age will launch at the same budget price point as its DS predecessors.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 Sells a Million in Japan
No surprises here; the latest Mario title recently broke the million mark in Japan. Meanwhile, the worldwide Coin Rush total has already exceeded 50 billion coins, and the 3DS remains the highest-selling console in Japan by more than 50,000 units.
New eShop Downloads – SpeedX 3D, Theatrhythm Demo & More
The latest eShop update brings a few notable downloads; for those of you who haven’t gotten around to playing Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, there is finally a demo version available on the service. Moving on, the latest 3D game is SpeedX 3D, which looks like it should come bundled with a script for amphetamines.
There’s another 3D game, titled, Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D…if you’re into a safari/hunting simulator set in Africa. Finally, the Game Boy Color game Toki Tori was released on the Virtual Console.
Fractured Soul Confirmed for Sept. 13 Launch via eShop
I previously heard about Fractured Soul through various headlines that were based on its developer (Endgame Studios) struggling to decide on the method of release and price point for its side-scrolling 3DS game. The studio was previously considering a two-part release of the dimension-shifting game, but has since decided on a single download, set for launch on September 13. The price has also been set at $11.99, which Endgame admits is half the price it had originally planned.
I do not know a lot about this game, but after watching some footage of Fractured Soul, I think it looks incredible – and the September 13 launch date couldn’t come sooner. Even if it’s one of the most expensive eShop downloads to date, I fully plan on burning the $12 and hoping for the best. Expect a full review in the coming weeks.