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FRACT (PC)



Once in a while, a game comes out of nowhere with ideas so new that you must take your time when approaching it. In some cases, the adaptation takes less time than others. FRACT, by Richard E. Flanagan (student at University of Montreal in Game Design), is the type of game you must learn to understand. But when you do understand how it works, you will discover one fine gem.

First of all, I will be totally honest: when I first played FRACT, I did not like it a lot. I loved the universe, but I just didnít understand what I had to do and got bored pretty quickly. Following this day, FRACT kept coming back at me. The game won an IGF (Independent Games Festival) for best student game and people started to talk about it more and more. I decided to give it a second chance and I just couldnít stop playing it after a couple of minutes.

FRACT is a first-person-puzzle game with strong Myst inspirations. The game starts out with a pretty simple puzzle, leaving you out in the gameís world afterwards. You must explore this strange techno/Rez/Tron world and solve puzzles you encounter along the way. If you have played point-and-click games like the Myst series in the past, your experience will certainly help you out. Fortunately, the puzzles arenít too hard for anyone else considering you love to explore on your own (something very fun that somewhat disappeared from video games recently with games taking you by the hand the whole time). Also, taking notes on a piece of paper is something you should think about while going through the game.

The gameís visuals are totally beautiful. While there is not a whole lot of details in the textures (which pretty much are colors), the architecture of the world is great. Navigating through the game will make you feel like you are an astronaut on another planet; a stranger in another world. The way the universe is presented to you is a big part of the reason why this game is unique.

FRACTís audio is far from being bad too. Like Rez, the game revolves a lot around music. Everything you touch creates techno-like sounds and some of the areas will play distinctive beats. Even better is the fact that specific structures play distinctive sounds so the music you hear will sound different depending on where you are in the world. If you plan into playing this game, make sure you have a decent pair of headphones or a great audio system or you will miss out one important aspect of the game.

FRACT is a great game and contains very few weaknesses in my opinion. The only thing I didnít like about it is that backtracking to previous areas takes a lot of time. Luckily, this will not happen if you observe the world around you and take notes, but a faster backtracking option would have been nice. The only other ďnegativeĒ aspect (if we can even call it negative...) about this game is that it will certainly not appeal to every type of gamers.

FRACT is a game every gamer has to try at least once. It is a unique experience that will bring you in a very special universe, something that no other game has done like this in my opinion. Although it might not be for everyone, the game contains great puzzles and the world is fun to explore. My last word on FRACT: grab a pair of headphones and download this game now!

FRACT is available on the PC and Mac for free at http://fractgame.com/.

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Positives:
- Great techno atmosphere
- Fun puzzles
- Exploring the world is a strange but fun and unique experience

Negatives:
- Backtracking can take forever
- Definitely not for every type of player


Gameplay: 9
Visuals: 9
Audio: 9.5
Lasting appeal: 4
Innovation: 8

Final Score: 9.5




Game experience at time of redaction: Game cleared
Redacted on: March 15th 2011
Uploaded on: March 15th 2011