You'll wish it really was fatal.
VG && IG—the developer (developers?) that brought us Space Intervention and Squarcat—continues its doomed attempt to keep Nintendo 3DS gaming alive, now with Fatal Fracture. If you think from the title that you’re getting into some kind of surgical sim, you’d be mistaken. Instead, your task here is to…
Destroy all enemies in an endless cycle of levels.
That, by the way, is the game’s entire description in the Nintendo eShop. Not very useful, considering it’s pretty much the point of every arcade game made between 1979 and 1991, but it’s admittedly better than my suggestion; “A repetitive, nondescript first-person shooter that’ll make you wish you’d just taken your dollar, folded it into a fun shape, and tossed it into the street.”
As with the other VG && IG games I’ve reviewed, there’s nothing here to tell you what’s going on or why. No intro video or text. Not even an explanation of the controls. You’re just suddenly in this barren, barricaded area with a gun and a bunch of enemies running at you.
Of course, this being a video game, your objective is to shoot everything. After killing a designated number of enemies you need to find a portal and move on to the next of the “endless cycle of levels.” I’m not sure exactly how you die in the game. You lose health if the enemies touch you, but sometimes I was just suddenly dead. Did I get attacked from behind? Did I run out of time? Perhaps the gaming gods took pity on me and just ended the thing.
As far as I can tell, your gun never runs out of ammo. There are other guns to pick up and try out, but they don’t really change things all that much in either visuals or impact.
The enemies don’t change much, either. They get faster and more powerful, but not in a way that really adds interest to the proceedings. One guy who couldn’t seem to be killed made me fondly recall Evil Otto, which made me recall fun, which made me want to quit playing Fatal Fracture.
It doesn’t help that the level design is as flat as flat can get, and maybe a bit flatter than that. Remember the Atari 2600 game Adventure? Imagine a 3D representation of the castle and that’s kind of what you’ve got here, only with fewer giant ducks.
There are some blurry obstacles to avoid and structures in which to hide, but for the most part you’re just running around in open space trying to kill some things before they catch you and deplete your health bar.
To its credit, Fatal Fracture does have a decent control scheme. Movement is handled with the left control stick: forward, backward, strafe left and strafe right. The direction you’re looking is determined by the right action buttons. Y and A will look left and right, respectively. X aims up, B aims down. You fire your gun with the right shoulder button, and jump with the left. I found this all pretty easy to master, even if I had no real reason to do so.
Again, there’s just little in this game to provide a reason to play it. Leaderboards? What do you think this is, the Ritz? Fatal Fracture doesn’t even keep score, let alone allow you to compare yours to those of other players (not that other players even exist).
Review: Fatal Fracture (Nintendo 3DS)
So, yeah. Fatal Fracture is a bad game. It functions, but it has no reason to be. The process of buying it is actually more engaging than the game itself, and I think I’ll just close this review with that.