Capsule Review: Frail Shells

A short first-person story with some shooty bits and some not-so-shooty bits. It’s a darkly comic commentary on the limited interaction and worldview present in most first-person shooters - or maybe it’s an unsubtle but effective metaphor for PTSD? It depends how much you think authorial intent matters in defining the meaning of a game.

The game starts with you as a soldier in a war zone, and transitions to your peaceful but dull life afterward. Pieces of the war experience intrude on your civilian life until they interfere and ultimately destroy it. For many players and reviewers - including me - the connection to PTSD was obvious, but creator Taylor Bai-Woo says this was unintentional, and the game was intended to be about the tragicomedy of only being able to interact with the world through shooting.

So what is this game about? Play it (or watch my DOCPLAYS video) and decide for yourself. Either way, the game’s themes are expressed through mechanics and gameplay, making for an engrossing bite-sized experience that demonstrates the strengths of the medium.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game. A few times.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.