A new studio out of Toronto by the name of 4L Games plans to make its first release memorable by dropping an evocative and hauntingly beautiful puzzler by the name of Fracter on Friday the 13th. When the game hits the Play Store on July 13, players willing to shell out the $3.99 entry fee will be treated to a black and white romp through a darkened landscape crawling with monsters. The game is seen from an isometric perspective, and makes creative use of light, scale and perspective to paint a unique world. This extends to both the environment and the gameplay.
Fracter's first trailer, seen below, shows off a smooth and visually stunning game with a deceptively simple core conceit; your survival is dictated by light. The puzzle game sees you triggering mechanisms to move things around, unable to fight directly against monsters or traverse your environment acrobatically to get to where you need to be. You'll flip switches to swing platforms around, use mirrors and switches to bathe shadow monsters in deadly light, and travel through different planes of the black and white game world to accomplish your goals. The game paints a stark picture of the protagonist's own darkness, which is what engulfs the game world and what must be conquered. Throughout, you'll enjoy some well-made tunes to set the mood just right, since the art and music teams on this game worked directly together and, according to 4L Games, consisted of some talented individuals.
Looking at the trailer and screenshots below, you may be thinking that this game could easily be compared to Monument Valley, and you'd be quite right. There has been a trend of late that sees games taking on a simple yet stunning aesthetic that seems built around and perfectly suited to their core mechanics and goes hand in hand with the feel of the game and the audio design. This could arguably be traced back to Echochrome on Sony's PSP system, all the way back in 2008, but has been seen more strongly and frequently in recent years, especially in the mobile landscape where developers have a vested interest in keeping things simple from a technical standpoint in order to allow a larger audience by making the game accessible to older and weaker devices. Active and involved puzzle games are another genre trend that has made the jump from handheld gaming to the mobile landscape and seen an increase lately. The game also draws on a very old horror trope where the player cannot directly harm foes, as seen in classics like the Clock Tower series and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Fracter will almost certainly please fans of these wider trends in gaming.