Once in a while, a game comes out that makes you question its existence. 36 Fragments of Midnight is an unchallenging and short experience but does it have any redeeming qualities?
36 Fragments of Midnight is a 2D platformer that tasks you with collecting 36 star fragments. You play as a luminous square (presumably named Midnight) that can jump and double jump as it traverses the randomly-generated world. Once you collect all 36 pieces, you simply return to the starting screen and that's about it. You'd assume that there would be a high level of difficulty considering this is literally all there is to it. However, I completed the entire thing on my first attempt in less than six minutes. After I beat it, I wondered when level 2 would start but little did I know; I was already done.
Of course, you can play it again to see if you can beat it in less time but considering the world is randomly generated, the time it takes you to complete it almost entirely relies on the hand that you're dealt and not on your abilities as a gamer. So, what's the point? Also, you'll run into the exact same situations time and time again. You'd think that the world would be less repetitive seeing as it's randomly generated but that's far from the case here. Sometimes, you'll have to work through the exact same situation twice in a row.
On the plus side, there are some pretty nifty visual effects. The environment is composed of shadowy stage outlines with a hazy blue background and as you play, the fog slowly rolls in which creates a decently haunting atmosphere. That being said, the graphics don't change much so it all begins to feel repetitive right off the bat. Speaking of repetitive, the audio merely consists of a droney atmospheric tone and somewhat satisfying chimes whenever you collect a fragment. Couldn't they include some actual music?
36 Fragments of Midnight is easy to play as all you do is glide left and right and jump. However, one part of this simplistic gameplay that drives me nuts is that no matter how long you hold the jump button, you still ascend to the exact same height. Considering Super Mario Bros. got it right back in 1985 as Mario jumped according to how long you pressed the jump button, why does this oversight exist in this day and age? It makes the controls feel much clumsier, especially when the gameplay almost entirely consists of jumping around while trying to avoid obstacles. In other words, I don't know how they managed to mess up the controls like this but they did.
36 Fragments of Midnight is not only a waste of money, it's also a waste of time. In fact, it has me worried that the Switch's eShop will end up with as many horrible games on it as the Wii U's and that's a concern that I definitely don't want to see become reality.
- + Nifty visual effects
- + Easy to play
- - Unchallenging campaign that only lasts about five minutes with no replay value
- - Unvaried graphics and droney audio
- - Fixed jump heights are annoying