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This game is playable online at http://stephen.​granades.​com/​games/​fragile-shells/​FragileShells.​html
Story file
Release 6
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Story file
Release 2
Requires a Z-Code interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.

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Fragile Shells

by Stephen Granade profile

Science Fiction
2010

Web Site

(based on 51 ratings)
9 reviews

About the Story

You don't know how long you've been hammering against the station's wall, but you stop as soon as you realize what you've been doing.


Game Details


Awards

Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2010 XYZZY Awards

2nd Place - Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7

Editorial Reviews

Pissy Little Sausages
That was a good puzzly sort of game, really solidly implemented. I had high expectations, and while it didn't exceed them exactly, it didn't... whatever the thing that is the opposite of that is called, either. Inceed. Subceed? Deceed. Undergo. Look, you know what I mean.
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Play This Thing
Like many another escape game, it has a single room full of objects to manipulate before you get to get away: codes, batteries, light sources, things that have to be used on other things. Unlike most, though, Fragile Shells has a coherent story and an effective setting: you're the lone survivor in a very damaged space module, and you need to get into the escape pod before your oxygen runs out or your environment otherwise betrays you. The writing makes it clear just how urgent that problem is, without the need for annoying or unfair time limits on the gameplay.
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JayIsGames
Smartly designed and pleasantly eerie, Fragile Shells is worth a play if you're an escape fan looking for a nice workout for the ol' grey matter. The story doesn't particularly stand out, instead being eclipsed by puzzle solving, but the whole experience is so well made and a prime example of the genre that it should leave you with that nice warm glow inside of an escape cleanly made.
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Member Reviews

5 star:
(6)
4 star:
(29)
3 star:
(15)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 9
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Escape-the-Room artists: this is your dream come true, April 10, 2010
by Danielle (The Wild West)
Related reviews: short games

Somewhere out there is a Platonic Ideal of the "Escape the Room" game genre. In my opinion, FRAGILE SHELLS comes remarkably close.

Most Escape the Room (EtR) games have a simple premise: there is a room full of stuff, and you must escape it. Most I've seen are graphical, nearly all have annoying codes and machines that make little logical sense, a few have interesting twists, and even fewer have any emotional motivation to escape provided rooms.

FRAGILE SHELLS gives me some things I've wanted in the genre (but never realized were missing): a compelling story behind the EtR setup, a subtle and intense feeling of danger, and puzzles that don't require me to write down stupid codes and patterns. Tapping into the emotional motivation behind escaping, though--that is where this game shines for me.

Also helpful: the obstacles you encounter (and how you solve them) make sense, so long as you closely examine everything. Even so, the hints are well-implemented, doling out just enough info to get your brain kick-started.

It's not the best IF game ever (I ran into a few implementation problems, and the technical aspects of the story still aren't crystal clear to me), but it's one of the best of the EtR genre.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Solid escape game, February 25, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

Fragile Shells was written as an escape-the-more-or-less-one-room game. It embraces all the conventions of the genre: play consists of solving item manipulation puzzles, there are no NPCs, all the story is told through flashbacks rather than actions of the PC. It is a tired old genre, and Fragile Shells does nothing to rejuvenate it.

However, in the hands of Stephen Granade it suddenly doesn't seem so bad to revisit this old acquaintance. The puzzles are fair and of the right difficulty; the flashbacks keeps us interested in what happened to the player character and the environment he is in; and writing and implementation are solid enough that interacting with the game is a pleasure. Add to this that the game feels very coherent -- something that is often difficult to pull off in a puzzle-driven game -- and one has the perfect recipe for one or two hours of straightforward fun.

Fragile Shells does not point towards the future of interactive fiction. But it does prove that recreating better versions of the past will always remain worthwhile.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Space Station Escape, October 19, 2020
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: SF, Escape

This, ladies and gentlemen, is good work!

"Fragile Shells" is an excellently made text escape game. It consists of a series of interconnected puzzles, all of them solvable by using logic, common sense and a ready knowledge of basic physics.

Maybe too easy for some, but I found that the layering of one puzzle onto another, linking their solutions together into one clear chain from the givens to the conclusion was very satisfying indeed.

Just about every command I tried had a meaningful response, a very friendly game indeed.

Add to this an exciting backstory remembered in bits and pieces by the protagonist to frame it, and you get a short and delightful IF-gem.

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See All 9 Member Reviews

Fragile Shells on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Fragile Shells appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Best Works of Science Fiction IF by OtisTDog
I've always been a science fiction buff, but works worth recommending seem even fewer-and-far-between in the world of IF than they are in the world of books. This is the list of my favorites for this genre. Please feel free to comment if...

Games where you fix a broken spaceship by MathBrush
A lot of games are about being in a broken spaceship and having to fix it. Here's a list! Some games don't really fit, or only have a few parts involving fixing a ship. I left a lot out where you woke up in a ship and then sabotaged it...

Games I finished without hints. by Rovarsson
It's better for the feeling of immersion when you're not reading a walkthrough while playing. These games are definitely solvable without hints. Some very friendly puzzlewise, some a tad harder.

See all lists mentioning this game

Polls

The following polls include votes for Fragile Shells:

Great Escapes by JonathanCR
Everyone knows that "escape the room" games and puzzles are an IF cliché. But which are the best examples of this classic genre?

All the Pretty Sources by Jeremy Freese
IF games that have source code available that you'd hold up as an example of what good looking source code is supposed to look like. (I was motivated to post this by wanting to study some I7 source, but actually pretty source from other...

Neil Armstrong Commemorative Space Poll by Joey Jones
I'm hankering to play a good space-themed game. That is to say, a game not necessarily set in space, but a game that is in some way about space or our relation to space. Any takers?

See all polls with votes for this game




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