Fragile Shells

by Stephen Granade profile

Science Fiction

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Number of Ratings: 49
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- Kinetic Mouse Car, August 12, 2022

Solid, well paced, self-contained, April 8, 2022

My first impression of this piece matches the one I have at the end: solid, intriguing and with a very good rhythm troughout. It can be framed within the "escape" genre (the player is a member of the crew of a damaged space station from which it must escape) but that is also underselling it by a bit.

If there is one thing that has stayed with me after playing is the sense of rhythm the game achieves. It certainly helps that it is a mostly linear affair in a self-contained world of six locations or so, but navigation is easy and painless (once you get used to sea directions, even if cardinal directions work too) and most things you need are not hidden behind obtuse reasoning. In fact, I would say that the only thing players need to succeed in this game is to keep their eyes in the text and to consider every bit of information they are told. There is the one red herring, the multiple-use item and the a-ha moment and it's all there, in the text, just one examine command away.

World-building wise the game exceeds expectations with a fragmented backstory, names and a strong sense of place. By the end, a complete picture is drawn in a short span of time and there is still some wiggle room for your own takes on what happened. The writing is a move in the same direction: detailed, with emphasis on the moment but also empowering the player and translating the way the main character understands the events unfolding.

As for implementation and puzzling (because this is a puzzle game after all) I am very sure everything is ok here. Most commands elicited good responses, all objects served a purpose and most of the scenery is either part of the narrative or part of a puzzle. There is a hint system in place but in the three or four short sessions I spent with the game I felt no need to check it since it was very clear that all I had to do is pay attention and consider my options.

To sum up, a very solid game. I would recommend it to every player looking for a piece of solid work in which to inmerse for a short time (or, as in my case, for several short breaks).

- Edo, January 2, 2021

- Durafen, November 16, 2020

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.

- bradleyswissman (Virginia, US), September 30, 2020

- IanAllenBird, August 2, 2020

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Satisfyingly not-too-hard escape room, July 19, 2020
by ChrisM (Cambridge, UK)

A solid escape room game with puzzles that are just about the right level of hardness if you want something to think about...but not too hard. I did it in about 45 mins with a full score and didn't need any hints along the way (but they are there if you need them). The story isn't hugely germane to the gameplay but nevertheless, it is there and the revealing of it in snippets and flashbacks as you progress through the game is quite effective. The writing is good and does what it needs to do in relaying tension and a feeling of impending peril, with a minimum of flashing lights and blaring sirens. Give it a go, get through to the end and be reassured that you will know exactly what to do the next time you find yourself in a fix in low Earth orbit.

- Walter Sandsquish, February 21, 2020

- airylef, August 6, 2018

- play_all_day, June 21, 2018

- Jan Strach, April 20, 2018

- Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy), September 19, 2017

- Simon Deimel (Germany), July 3, 2017

- Cory Roush (Ohio), June 28, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), July 26, 2016

- verityvirtue (London), May 24, 2016

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An enjoyable shortish escape game in space, February 3, 2016

Stephen Granade is the author of Losing Your Grip, one of my favorite games. So I was excited to try this one.

This was entered in the Jay is Games casual gameplay competition, which produced another favorite game, Plotkin's Dual Transform. In Fragile Shells, you play an astronaut with a concussion in a piece of a space station that is heavily damaged. You have to figure out a way to get out.

The game was fun; there are 8 points to win, and each is a relatively simple task, but requires some lateral thinking. I was able to get about 5-6 points on my own. However, I had some trouble when I knew what I needed to do, but didn't know about certain capabilities of the equipment. (For instance, I didn't know with the panel that you could (Spoiler - click to show)connect two wires together<\spoiiler>).

Overall, a fun, fairly short game. Good for fans of science fiction.

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), April 23, 2015

Amazing, March 7, 2015

Smart, well written, and made me feel as if I was really there. Truly a wonderful gem in a sea of fish.

- Jason McIntosh (Boston), June 20, 2014

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), October 7, 2013

- Ann R. J., April 26, 2013

- Edward Lacey (Oxford, England), March 23, 2013

- AADA7A, September 22, 2012

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