Fragile Shells

A text-based game about escaping from a broken space station.

Fragile Shells by Stephen GranadeWhen JayIsGames announced the 7th Casual Game Design Competition, I had no intention of entering it. While all of the competition entries were supposed to be text adventures (yay!), the competition’s theme was “Escape” (sigh), and authors were encouraged to set the entire game in a single room (boo!). At the time I was in the middle of playing a lot of “Escape the Room” games because my son demanded them. There was no way I was going to write one of those. What frustrates me most about Escape the Room games is their illogic and their story-less, motivation-less settings. You’re in a room; fiddle with objects until you find the way out. Bleah. No thank you.

puzzle flowchart for Fragile ShellsOf course, one week later I had an idea compelling enough that I had to use it: what if the player were trapped on a space station, and had to escape or die? This grabbed me for a couple of reasons. One, I’ve never played any IF set in a real space station in zero-g. Two, a broken space station is one of the most inimical settings I can think of. It would help motivate the player, making them really want to escape. Other than by typing QUIT, I mean.

You can play the game online without ever leaving your browser. For help inside the game, type HELP. If you really want some help, click on the tiny picture to the right, the one with all of the boxes. It’s a complete list of all of the puzzles you have to solve in the game. You can also look at the game’s source code, if that’s your kind of thing.