(XSEED for Wii)
By Mike Delano
Fragile Dreams is a game that’s all about atmosphere. You play as a boy who wakes up to find the world in ruins and its entire population absent. Using the Wii Remote as a flashlight, you explore the dark corners of what remains in your search for answers. What you find is the kind of existential angst you’d expect from a modern JRPG, but at an even more relaxed pace and with a focus on mood rather than combat or non-linear exploration. The game nails the audio and visuals: Illuminating underground passages is addictively creepy and makes you appreciate the expansive, colorful aboveground locales. The anime cut scenes are sleek, the use of the tinny echo of the Wii Remote speaker to deliver contextual sounds heightens the immersion, and the character designs are great, coming as they do from Tri-Crescendo (Eternal Sonata). The gameplay that accompanies your exploration too often fails to be compelling (mash the A button to defeat spectral jellyfish, schlep key from here to there), but like last year’s Wii surprise, Cursed Mountain, if you’re in the mood for something that’s more spiritually than mechanically engaging, well: Sweet dreams.