Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.
Lao Tzu said that “because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” It stands to reason, then, that if one rejects the reality of their life, the world will reject them as well. Fractured is sort of like that. A child has trouble letting go of a mother figure, the mother figure has trouble letting go of the child, and their perception of the world is literally shattered into disconnected fragments.
The result is a fairly straightforward game where every jump is preceded by the thought, “Wait a minute—where am I going?” A platform that is just a few pixels to your right might appear to be way off in a corner, upside down and somewhat obscured. Falling blindly into the space between shards of existence might send you hurtling into a painless death—you come back to life immediately—or it might land you safely on the sidewalk, which would have been so obvious from the beginning if only your sense of reality hadn’t all but crumbled.
The general idea should seem familiar to anybody who played Die Gute Fabrik’s Where Is My Heart?, only without any of the fourth-wall-breaking bits of Heart that created a challenge. Fractured does offer up a poetic narrative filled with guilt and shame, a common undercurrent in indie browser games, though the story it tells is short and forgettable. The experience is almost painfully finite. As Lao Tzu said, “The tao that can be told is not the eternal tao.”