First-Person Stress Disorder: Frail Shells

I know, I know. Shhh.

Still playing my way through the many 7 Day FPS creations, I found Frail Shells a strange one at first. The game opens with your standard FPS supersoldier airdropped onto a bustling battlefield, shooting his way through hordes of enemies to rescue a comrade. It ends badly. Then we’re returned to civilian life, back in our home with our partner/comrade, and in a regular job. Just when we’re used to that, things turn odd. Our gun starts popping up in the bottom-right then vanishing again, heroic music swells and falls, and it’s clear everything’s not back to normal. Come see:

It’s an FPS trying to portray something harrowing with only standard FPS tools at its disposal. The genre still struggles with many emotions, and often gets them wrong by bolting them on in ugly ways to games not built for them. Which is what Frail Shells tries to do. With a wry sense of humour – about FPSs, not PTSD – it gives us a series of vignettes we mostly click our way through. And of course our mental health is simply a resource that depletes and replenishes, of course our struggle is represented by a gun.

See, in difficult times, our rifle pops up in the corner of the screen, heroic music swelling again. Things we ‘shoot’ will be, well, not literally killed, but affected by the outburst. Frail Shells is built upon shooting, and doesn’t really know what else to do.

Created by Taylor Bai-Woo aka From Smiling and sound chap Ryan Roth, Frail Shells is free to download from itch.io. Give it a look.

15 Comments

  1. Monggerel says:

    and i think and i still miss the war
    i miss the jungle
    i miss the simplicity of it all

  2. RaoulDuke says:

    I find it nearly impossible to write a comment on the internet that doesn’t sound shitty.
    I don’t think I will write comments on the internet anymore.

    • B.rake says:

      Uggh, thanks for being a sensitive human being, now I have to edit out my backlash snark :(

      • RaoulDuke says:

        Sorry I made you look silly, let’s dance instead of snarking.

        *dances in pink cargo-pants*

    • Synesthesia says:

      *tackle-hug*

    • Dominare says:

      Perhaps it isn’t that you write shitty, perhaps you _read_ shitty.

  3. SlimShanks says:

    Something about this bothers me, I just don’t know what…
    I know it isn’t how the game was meant, but it still kinda feels like a joke about PTSD.
    I laughed while simultaneously thinking that it wasn’t funny at all.

    • rooter says:

      I’ve gotta disagree. To me it felt less like a joke about PTSD and more about PTSD itself, trying to convey it through a game format.

      But that’s just, like, my opinion, man

  4. LionsPhil says:

    You shot the food! D:

  5. RARARA says:

    It’s amusing how while it was commenting on the clunkiness of the non-shooty mechanics implemented in other FPS games, this game itself manages to somehow make it work to a certain level (the gun repeatedly coming up as a visual metaphor for his rage).

  6. Clayman says:

    Just registred to say that the Windows version .rar file is named “Frail Shells Win”. GO FRAIL SHELLS.

  7. bonuswavepilot says:

    I do like your articles Alice, and this seems a well-made video with interesting things in it, but I find the pattern of pauses in your narration distracting…

    Not to detract from the content or start any of that internet-hate-man nastiness or presume to dictate how you produce your content, I mean this only and ever as constructive criticism, but it gives me a feeling of continually almost mentally tripping over forwards expecting the next word…

    Anyway, whether you take this on board or not, I hope you keep making such things – it is entirely possible this is merely a problem with my listening tubes.