Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

Post-apocalyptic worlds are all the rage these days

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XSEED Games Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
  • XSEED Games Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
  • XSEED Games Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
  • XSEED Games Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

Pros

  • Enthralling world and thick atmosphere, excellent visual detail and environments, compelling story

Cons

  • Awkward camera controls, combat, RPG elements are very basic

Bottom Line

Fragile Dreams offers up a poetic and cerebral exploration of a desolate future driven by an excellent atmosphere and compelling story, but occasionally hampered by awkward camera controls and a lacklustre RPG component.

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Post-apocalyptic worlds are all the rage these days. Never mind the fact we may inevitably be one day cast, bruised and battered, into the decimated ruins of our own crumbling society following some global catastrophe; it's still fun as hell to wander around grim virtual wastelands mingling with other depraved souls struggling to survive by resorting to any means necessary. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon eschews the brutal smash and grab mentality that sucked me into many dozens of hours of loot-hunting slaughter-fests in Fallout 3 and Borderlands, delivering instead a more poetic and introspective journey through a slowly dying world shrouded in darkness.

At the tenuous age of 15, Seto has little time to mourn the sudden passing of the old man who watched over him for much of his life. The world is sinking into ruin and falling apart around him. As one of the last remaining survivors of the human race, the boy sets out on a journey through the ghost-filled dilapidated remnants of civilisation in the hopes of finding others who share his lonely fate. His trek through the dangerous and time-ravaged landscape is a beautiful and haunting experience. Though it's often viewed through the dim illumination of a flashlight, the art direction and overall presentation in Fragile Dreams is really striking, and it's easy to get sucked into Seto's depressing yet hopeful reality.

Roaming through crushed subway tunnels, abandoned malls, and open-air nightscapes -- armed with a flashlight in one hand and a twig or some other meagre item of scavenged weaponry in the other -- is largely enjoyable from an atmospheric standpoint. The creepy environmental designs all but invite you to search through them to find out what mysterious treasures or deadly creatures await you in the dark. However, in practice, moving Seto with the Nunchuk while turning and aiming his flashlight by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen is sometimes an awkward struggle, particularly when venturing through tightly packed locations that cause the camera to sporadically glitch out. The control setup also makes it challenging to quickly manoeuvre when you're battling the ghostly spirits, rabid dogs, killer pigeons, and other unusual beasts that pop-up out of nowhere.

Even with these inconsistencies, I still found exploring and fighting to be satisfying enough to push through the rough patches, if only to see where Seto's journey would lead him next. Sifting through what's left of the destroyed world for pockets of humanity and revisiting the past through the last memories of the people who once populated the now desolate landscape makes for a somber and moving tale. Fragile Dreams is touching at some moments and irritating at others, but taken as a whole, it's an adventure that's worthy of your time.

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