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.