4L Games’ Fracter features atmospheric gameplay that has a lot in common with Playdead’s dark platformers Limbo and Inside, with the title also borrowing elements from Monument Valley — especially when it comes to shifting perspectives and inventive puzzles.
Fracter has players taking on the role of a “veiled young hero” that’s set out on a quest to “dispel the darkness within.” While Fracter’s narrative is typical of a video game plot in most respects, it’s also open to interpretation, with each player likely walking away with a slightly different perspective on it.
That said, it’s Fracter‘s gameplay that makes the game stand out in the crowded mobile space.
In Fracter you’ll explore the game’s dark, shadow-filled world, while outsmarting a shadowy version of yourself and solving unique puzzles. Puzzles typically involve flipping switches or rotating different platforms to make your way to a previously unreachable area.
As you may have expected, puzzles in the game start off simple to give players a handle of Fracter‘s mechanics, with later stages becoming increasingly more difficult and complicated.
While Fracter is a puzzle game in the traditional sense, it also features action. Enemies lurk in the shadows and attack the player if you don’t make an effort avoid them. You don’t have access to weapons in the traditional sense, but it is possible to destroy foes using light found in the game’s environment, causing enemies to disintegrate as they pass through its beams.
In Fracter your character is controlled via an on-screen joystick. While this is typically a chore with most mobile titles, 4L Games gives players the option to select either a floating joystick, or a hold-to-move joystick.
I preferred the floating joystick because it allows you to use your left or right thumb to walk, with your other hand handling actions such as uncovering a light source of rotating a platform. It’s also easier to not have to move your thumb back to a specific part of the phone’s display every time you remove it from the screen.
Visually Fracter consists of dramatic landscapes featuring various shades of grey and Black. Fracter‘s minimalistic visuals work well on mobile and also have a lot in common with Square Enix Montreal’s popular Go series. In fact, even the game’s puzzles sometimes reminded of of Lara Croft Go, arguably the best mobile title the studio has released.
At times I found myself wishing there are a little more light featured in Fracter given it’s difficult to make out the world’s intricacies.
Make no mistakes: Fracter is dark, both in terms of story and gameplay. Still, it’s rare a game that feels this well-rounded and feature rich — and also isn’t a port from another platform — is actually developed from the ground up for iOS and Android.
For this reason alone, Fracter is a must-play for anyone interested in mobile games.