The dual-screen platforming concept behind Fractured Soul isn't entirely unique - EnjoyUp attempted it with Chronos Twins back in 2007. It was definitely an intriguing idea, but the difficulty of having to focus on two different games at once undermined its potential.
With Fractured Soul, developer Endgame has found a way to hone the concept so that your eyes don't have to flick back and forth so much, resulting in a slightly more coherent experience.
We say "slightly" because the game, while enjoyable for the most part, still makes us want to rip our hair out and then set fire to it.Soul mate
You control a soldier who exists in two different dimensions. However, he can only ever exist in one dimension at a time, leaving a shadow behind him whenever he switches to the other dimension.
Here's where it gets tricky - these two dimensions are represented on the two screens of the Nintendo 3DS, and whenever you come up against an obstacle on one screen you need to switch dimensions to move past it on the other.
The fact that you only exist on one screen at a time is what makes Fractured Soul more playable than Chronos Twins - it means you can generally devote your attention to a single task.
But not always. Enemies can pop up on either screen, and sometimes they exist in both dimensions, meaning you'll have to kill them on both screens to progress.
Fractured Soul really turns up the heat as you push on through its many levels. Clever inclusions, such as different gravity in separate dimensions and moving platforms that exist in both dimensions, really play well to the strengths of the concept.Fracture
Fractured Soul wants you to love it, with plenty of bits and pieces injected in for good measure.
The game counts your deaths, for example, and will replace your name in the ongoing story with "Entity #X", depending on how many times you've bottled it. Online leaderboards will no doubt keep us coming back for more, too.
Yet, as much as the game manages to better Chronos Twins, it shows that the dual-screen-platforming concept is simply just too much for our brains to process, no matter how much you polish it up.
The first couple of worlds aren't too much hassle, but after that the going gets really tough, as you're expected to flick your eyes to-and-fro, swapping dimensions like nobody's business. It gets to the point where we simply found that the frustration levels were far outweighing the fun.
Fractured Soul would have been tolerable if we'd been able to tackle sections over and over again until we got them right, but on certain levels the game throws you all the way back to the start of a level if you die.
If you have the patience, Fractured Soul is a must-buy for the Nintendo 3DS, with lots of clever platforming throughout. But anybody with even a slight tendency for rage may want to take a dozen deep breaths before taking the plunge.