previews\ Feb 21, 2010 at 7:00 pm


In the moment that the demo played during E3 in 2009, it was apparent there was something special about Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon.

Sure, the name has an esoteric quality that invokes wonderment and lures through mystery; and the visuals are haunting and beautiful – even for a Wii game, but there was something much more about the game. Could the loneliness of Seto – the boy protagonist at the start – be a metaphor for the same emotion felt internally by most people? That could be a sly element, or maybe it is what it is – a vehicle which the story hangs on.

Fragile Dreams is part point-and-click adventure and part survival-horror game. Seto lives – at the game’s onset – in a tower with an old man. The boy doesn’t even know the name of the old man, who has died as the game begins and is buried outside the tower. Actually, aside from the fact that some great calamity has seemingly wiped out the entire human population of the planet, the game peels back the layers gently to reveal the story beneath.

And it is an intriguing story, to be sure.

There are the stock point-and-click elements – though these have been warped to use the Wii controller schemes to some degree (once you get the flashlight, pointing the Wii-mote is as natural as … well, pointing the flashlight itself). The game begins in a dark room with the most elementary of beginning tasks – find the wheel to open the doors of the observatory a bit more to allow moonlight in to illuminate the room. After that task, and finding the aforementioned flashlight, as well as a note from the old man, the horror element comes into play. A floating mask materializes, attacks and Seto learns to defend himself.

Tutorial? Yep, but intriguing nonetheless.

Seto is eventually tasked with heading for a tower where others might be, others who have survived the calamity. En route he meets a silver-haired girl, whose introduction includes a hauntingly beautiful song she is singing. She, of course, thought she was alone and runs at the site of Seto. He resolves to find her and the adventure takes on new urgency.

Along the way, there are some rather imaginative enemies – like the creatures that are the manifestation of the emotions of the dead. There is an AI device to find that will help en route, and there are enemies to combat and mysteries to solve.

While the story is intriguing, what really brings this game home are the beautiful graphics and amazing audio. Fragile Dreams is an experience that is not only enjoyable visually, but it is a treat for the ears. The emotional elements – like a haunting loneliness that pervades the world, the despair resonating in the voices of the characters – are clearly in place and Fragile Dreams’ development team, tri-Crescendo, has found the right mix for a game that is truly a wonderful experience.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a game that goes beyond genre descriptions, creating an experience that is remarkable.

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