Fragile Dreams Farewell Ruins of the Moon Wii Review - WII - Review
Does anyone have some Zoloft to spare? Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is the most depressing game I have ever played. I don’t mean that in a Heavy Rain, make-you-cry sort of way. Fragile Dreams is drenched in melancholy. Death and loneliness seep through the cracks to suffocate every creature of the post-apocalyptic world.
The only person that 15-year old Seto has ever known was the old man at the observatory. The old man died, but not before telling Seto of a tower and the possibility of other survivors, and so young Seto heads out into the world. One might assume the obvious course of action would be to set a course straight for the huge, red spire stabbing through the sky. That’s until Seto runs across a silver-haired girl in a saucy dress – pesky teenage hormones.
Following the girl’s trail of drawings through the dilapidated remnants of civilization, Seto is determined to find her, although I’m not sure why. Their first meeting was anything but passionate, and more like a creepy kidnapping scenario. She fell to the ground unconscious. Seto put his hands on her and the girl woke up screaming, “You touched me… I don’t know you!” Smooth move Seto.
Dialogue is not Fragile Dream’s strong suit. Lines such as, “Those who are dead continue to stay dead, in the cold, hard earth,” (spoken in breathy sighs) are so melodramatic as to be unintentionally comedic. In his travels, Seto converses with a portable A.I., an amnesiac boy with a stuffed crow’s head for a broach, and numerous ghosts. The most lively and engaging of all the characters is the merchant, who wears the gigantic mask of a chicken costume. Everyone else, especially Seto, is a walking swamp of sorrow.
When the voices go quiet, Fragile Dreams bears a considerable resemblance to Silent Hill. With no one to care for them, the hallways of humanity have given in to the rust and mildew of nature and transformed into hunting grounds for wild dogs, and catacombs for the damned. Most of the malicious ghosts are as unimposing as vaporous jellyfish floating aimlessly. But, as a hardened veteran of the horror-genre, even I had to yelp when a dozen, grotesquely elongated arms reached from the walls.
Most enemies are easy to dispatch with a lead pipe, a bow, or even a broomstick. Finding them can be the tricky part. Like his Silent Hill cousins, Seto doesn’t have the luxury of indoor lighting. He relies on a combination of his flashlight and ears to locate his foes before they find him. The Wii remote speaker is put to excellent use when honing in on unseen creatures, but controlling Seto and his flashlight flip-flops from adequate to intolerable. The tighter the confines, the more frustrating the experience, due to a twitchy camera and an aiming-mechanism that falters as you approach the edge of the screen.
I could have forgiven such transgressions if Fragile Dreams had more compelling content to seal the gaps. The tower is forgotten as soon as it is introduced, and, in lieu of any significant plot, Seto frequently discovers relics of the dead and listens to their mournful stories of loss, hopelessness, and even suicide. The ceaseless barrage of tragedies would be fine if some vaguely apparent reason existed for dumping the pains of the world in our laps. I get it, you’re sad.
I pressed onward through hours of stifling melancholy and archaic, backtracking fetch-quests to find keys, because Fragile Dreams exists in such a beautifully detailed world that can be genuinely frightening. I was sure that a tangible story, a hint of character-development, or even a challenging boss-fight must be around one of the corners. That moment came after eight hours of trudging through to the final scenario, but I didn’t care. I had already given in to the sadness.