36 Fragments of Midnight
Developer: Ratalaika Games / Petite Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Release Date: 14 September 2017
Reviewed by Phil Myth
36 Fragments of Midnight has a fairly simple premise. You play as Midnight, a little white block with a couple of eyes and a penchant for double jumping, who has to scour around a 2D, procedurally generated world to find 36 star fragments that his rather menacing looking friends have misplaced.
The level of course changes each time you play, but you'll always have to avoid buzzsaws, lasers and spikes in order to round up the missing fragments. Visually the game is rather gorgeous, opting for a simple silhouette approach, with moonlight lighting your way.
The subtle changes in lighting as you climb higher or lower throughout the level help you keep track of which areas you've already explored and where you started from. This turns out to be rather handy as you'll have to bring the fragments back to your friends at the start once you've found them all.
Simple but addictive
Midnight controls perfectly, gliding along and spinning rather adorably if you catch him on a ledge you're attempting to jump over. Jumping is satisfying too, and you'll need to time those double jumps perfectly if you want to have a successful run.
For example, there could be a fragment hovering over a row of spikes that will require one jump into the pit to grab it, and another one in mid-air to get back out, lest Midnight perishes. I failed on plenty of runs, but it was always due to a mistimed jump or my own impatience. There's no cheap deaths to be had, and the game is all the more addictive for it.
There isn't really much in the way of puzzles, just runs that need to be timed and executed perfectly to rack up the best time. It is actually possible to cheat a little and throw yourself at a saw or laser to register your time once you've collected all 36 fragments, rather than trek back to the start. This will give you a better personal best, but it's worth trekking back at least once for the amusing reward dialogue.
It looks just as great in portable mode as it does in docked, and the sound of the wind blowing through adds to the ethereal atmosphere created by the visuals. The addition of a simple piano motif in the background would have set it off nicely, but that's a minor gripe.
36 Fragments of Midnight is the perfect game for a quick run through if you've got five minutes to kill. It's beautiful to look at, incredibly addictive, and at a mere $2.99/£2.99 on the eShop, is an absolute bargain.
Pros & Cons
+ Lovely art style
+ Very addictive
+ Cheap as chips
- Gameplay is a one trick pony
- Could use some background music