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36 Fragments of Midnight (PS Vita) Review

By Thom Compton 02.01.2018

Review for 36 Fragments of Midnight on PS Vita

As the PlayStation Store continues to support a vast array of games, this inevitably means some weird or more experimental titles will land on consoles. Titles like Spiral Splatter or Alteric would have seemed largely out of place years ago, but now seem like bite-sized little treats tucked away within the bowels of Sony's popular online store. However, not all treats are as digestible as others, and many of these titles are also largely derivative, and sadly weak in their very construct. 36 Fragments of Midnight is another such title, but it's weakness comes from a very surprising place.

36 Fragments of Midnight has you assume the role of a cube, with a face, named Midnight. Players are tasked with collecting 36 diamonds, or fragments, without dying. Every time you die you get sent back to the beginning, and the whole world's layout changes. Okay, so world might be a stretch; this is more like an ant farm; an ant farm with a remarkable lack of variety.

Never before has it been so obvious how procedural generation was performed. Instead of clear cut rules, there are just what appear to be examples of various traps. Each of these is delegated to a spot in each new layout (or multiple spots, depending on the layout), and there's little variety between games. After about 15 minutes, most will likely have seen every possible type of trap, several times over, as there doesn't appear to be more than 10 types of traps.

The ant farm is also visually bland and tasteless, with unappealing looking monsters and lasers being the only truly distinguishable aspect. Surfaces are all a solid black, although the background at least offers a bit of variety. Lasers are a piercing white, and while they do a little to break up the monotony, the effect wears off quickly. The monsters are not only all black, but they aren't mobile, sitting in place and acting as a start and finish line for each run. They appear to be giant fur balls, but why? That's not an important question in the long run, as nothing in 36 Fragments of Midnight seems to be aspiring to be much more than polished programmer art, aside from the back drop.

Screenshot for 36 Fragments of Midnight on PS Vita

Some design choices are also unappealing. There are 36 fragments (go figure), and when collecting one, the total gets added to a counter at the top of the screen. Forget how many there are, and you are out of luck until collecting the next one. It would have been nice to be able to check up on the score, especially if trying to get one of the "speed run" or "die after collecting this many" trophies. For the rest of the gaming populace, it can be pleasing to know how close to being done with this 10 minute run you are.

Also, there's really no balancing here. While some traps, like a pair of lasers you have to wait out until they disappear under a platform, are really easy, others, usually involving saws, are not. Saws require pixel perfect jumping to navigate around, while lasers are just a waiting game. Spikes are no more or less difficult. Sometimes they jut out from the ceiling, and are remarkably easy to avoid. Other times, falling off a platform and jumping just before hitting them is the way to avoid them. Each trap has an instance of being difficult and easy, but thanks to the game's only obvious rule being "Fill the grid with random traps from this pool of traps," it feels wildly inconsistent.

The only thing making 36 Fragments of Midnight recommendable is the controls. These controls are extremely tight, and if there were more to this game, navigating it would be much more fun. You can land a hair to the left of a saw blade, and practically teeter off the side of a ledge. Failure will always be your fault here, as 36 Fragments of Midnight controls perfectly. They won't blow anyone's minds, but they get the job done, and they get it done right.

Screenshot for 36 Fragments of Midnight on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

36 Fragments of Midnight is over far too quickly, and the limited number of traps means players will likely see everything there is too see before an hour has passed. Perhaps for a child or a new gamer, this would be an enjoyable introduction. However, gamers have become used to platformers offering a wealth of content, and that's not what will be found here. Instead, this is the trimmings, the parts of the turkey thrown from the table to the dog without much care. The worst part? It sets up this awful joke. Ready? 36 Fragments of Midnight? More like 36 Minutes of Game! No, that won't do at all…

Developer

Ratalaika Games

Publisher

Ratalaika Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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