Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (フラジール ~さよなら月の廃墟~, Fragile: Sayonara Tsuki no Haikyo) is a third-person Action RPG/Adventure Game released on the Nintendo Wii and developed by Tri-Crescendo, the same team who made Eternal Sonata and had a hand with the Baten Kaitos games. It was released by Namco Bandai Games in Japan on January 22, 2009, XSEED Games in North America on March 16, 2010 and in Europe by Rising Star Games on March 19, 2010.
The game tells the story of a young boy named Seto, possibly the Sole Survivor of a world where humanity has suddenly vanished, leaving its cities abandoned. After the old man who he had been staying with passes on, Seto is left completely alone, but upon reading a letter the old man has written for him, he decides to leave the safety of his home and venture to "the red tower to the east" in hopes of finding other survivors.
During his journey, Seto meets an assortment of strange and eclectic characters: a capricious silver-haired girl called Ren; a motherly AI called a "Personal Frame" (PF); a roguish boy named Crow; an enigmatic ghost called Sai; a quiet spirit named Chiyo; the chicken-headed Item Merchant; and a bespectacled scientist called Shin.
That's it, really. Fragile Dreams is marketed as an "atmospheric adventure" focusing on "human drama" and emotion. While it plays similarly to a Survival Horror game, it's not horror outright, instead settling for being eerie, sad, lonely, depressing and (rarely) disquieting, while also relying heavily on the player's ability to draw his or her own conclusions about why most things are the way they are.
Heavy fan demand for a localization surfaced following the original release back in January 2009. Luckily, XSEED Games and Rising Star Games listened and released a North American and European version in March 2010, respectively, complete with original voices, reversible box art, and a mini-soundtrack bundled with Fragile Dreams. A rare Manga adaptation has been released, following up on the events of the game.
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon contains examples of:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: In addition to using deeper, mature voices for the younger characters in the localization, the American box art sports a vicious-looking Seto holding a golf club, whereas the original Japanese and European box arts show Seto and Ren holding hands over a watery background. Justified when the localization was (poorly) marketed as some sort of post-apocalyptic adventure as opposed to a more emotional experience. However, XSEED included the latter art on the backside of the American game cover.
- After the End: There's no indication how long it's been since most of humanity has vanished; judging by the overgrowth of plants and trees in the environment and decaying buildings, no survivors have touched these places in ages.
- Apocalypse How: Back-story suggests it was a Class 1 (societal collapse), but The Reveal of the effects of the Glass Cage and its subsequent aftermath means it's ultimately a mix of Class 3a (man-made) and 3b (naturally occurring).
- Apocalyptic Log: Objects, sketches, and short stories take the form of "Memory Items" for Seto to examine. Each Memory Item holds the last memories of its former owner, and offers the back-story and hints to the world and events leading up to the game.
- Bilingual Bonus: While voices and game text can be taken in English, all the scenery and even the credits are in Japanese. The game helpfully translates the more important phrases (i.e. information that might prove valuable) when examined in first-person, but a vast majority remains the same as it would be in Japan. If players can read Japanese, they'll at least be able to read the text on vending machines and graffiti.
- Broken Record: The security bot enemies late in the game.Security Bot: "If the ID can not be confirmed, you will be removed. If the ID can not be confirmed, you will be removed."
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted - cats are sweet, playful creatures; dogs, on the other hand, are universally feral and vicious, looking outright demonic.
- Cherry Tapping: It's completely possible to defeat the Final Boss with nothing but a broken stick; justified due to the mechanic of weapons breaking - a broken stick might be all players have left in their arsenal by the time the Final Boss is fought.
- Crapsack World: Implied by Sai, who states the world was already at war before the Glass Cage was activated; it was the whole reason behind humanity saying "yes" to it in the first place.
- Cute Kitten: Fragile Dreams uses this to its full advantage, allowing Seto to play with or feed stray cats.
- Daylight Horror: Most of the game occurs at night (the game's symbol is the moon, thus day/night cycles are not quite respected). However, one setting places Seto in a hotel while the sun is shining, yet it's one of the scariest locations in the game.
- Defanged Horrors: Most enemies in the game are simply creepy and scary rather than truly nightmarish or horrifying. Since Fragile Dreams places an emphasis on relationships and friendship, some may call this game "Silent Hill for children".
- Department of Redundancy Department: The description for the cat food item."Cats love this, but they cannot open it because they are cats."
- The observatory at the beginning of the game has a library with several bookshelves that can be examined. These books include "Pirate Isle" (the book that Crow reads) and several manuals on the Glass Cage project. This implies the man Seto lived with knew more than he was letting on when he tells Seto to head for the Tokyo Tower in his letter. Word of God ultimately confirms the old man was originally a member of the Glass Cage project.
- Going through the Lunar Land amusement park with the special torch reveals secret messages written by Crow. In one message, instead of writing "I am Crow", he writes "I am H0053348". Looks like a serial number, doesn't it?
- Gainax Ending: Due to the ambiguity of Seto's ending narration, it's unclear what becomes of him. It's suggested he's on his death bed or just as he's dying, citing how it's been many years following the game's events. He's alone again, hinting Ren has diednote , and it's been "countless summers" since he met her, thus all signs point towards Downer Ending. On the other hand, it's implied during the middle of the game a lot of people did indeed survive the effects of the Glass Cage, with Seto and Ren heading out to look for them together, making this lean more towards a Bittersweet Ending.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Averted; the developers explicitly stated they were going for complete immersion - a lot of the game mechanics are implemented because of this, like the breakable weapons and the inventory management. Possibly an extreme aversion, as some players have suggested the game is designed to be dreary and chore-like (the fetch quests, in particular) to mimic Seto's experience; since he's not having fun, players aren't having fun, either.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: One of the bosses, a giant mole rat - In-Universe sources imply the mole grew large from eating the dead bodies left over from the end of the world.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Subverted; while it's one of the fastest and strongest one-handed weapons available, the game mechanic of breakable weapons kicks in.
- The Last Man Heard a Knock...: Deliberately Invoked; while Fragile Dreams tries to play Sole Survivor on Seto for all its worth, that ends practically right away after he leaves the vicinity of the home he grew up in, discovering another person aimlessly wandering about.
- Lampshade Hanging: The game doesn't bother being subtle about it."Whenever there is something on the ground, a gathering of fireflies just above it will signal its position to you.""Why would fireflies be attracted to it?""Indeed. Well... maybe... it is because... it is summer? Perhaps?""...huh. Right."
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Ren's name isn't revealed until the end of the game. She's simply referred to as "the silver-haired girl", yet most discussions about the game refer to her by her name (including this page...oops). To be fair, it has no bearing on the plot, and her name is given in the character section of the instruction booklet.
- Light Is Not Good: Shin; oh, and the Aurora Borealis appearing in the sky? A very, very bad sign.
- Lonely Piano Piece: Consistent with the running Leitmotif, save for the odd vocal and battle themes the soundtrack consists of nothing but.
- Melancholy Moon: The moon in the setting seen when Seto reaches the train tracks after leaving the subway tunnels appears much larger here compared to other environments in the game. Regardless, the moon is a prominent symbol of Fragile Dreams, highlighting the isolation and loneliness aspects as players control Seto walking through abandoned environments devoid of humans.
- Mood Whiplash: Deaths in the game tend to come suddenly, then followed shortly by something fun or hopeful.
- Nothing Is Scarier: It's a game that takes place After the End where players explore half-collapsed subways, an underground shopping mall, an abandoned theme park, a crumbling hotel, and an old laboratory of sketchy reputation. It's often pitch black and a flashlight is needed to see where to go. Everything Trying to Kill You isn't in full effect for every room, but when approaching ghosts or a pack of wild dogs, ominous music is heard before seeing them.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The effects of the Glass Cage left behind "Thought Processes", the remaining thoughts of humans who died and left their residual emotions in the world, such as Chiyo and Sai. This is achieved through Big Sleep, with the various Memory Items hinting and outright implying its occurrence following Glass Cage's first activation.
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: Late in the game, there is a room players must get across without being detected by the motion sensors; if detected, three enemies must be defeated, and players have to start over from the beginning of the room. However, these enemies provide lots of Experience Points and are simple to defeat, enabling players to Level Grind before reaching the climax of the game.
- The Power of Friendship: Seto and everyone he comes across. It's the whole point of the game - Seto's looking for a companion. This creates a lot of happy and sad moments when Seto is left alone again, time after time. Notably, the exceptions to this trope are Ren and Sai, and that's because it uses The Power of Love instead.
- Scenery Gorn: Overlaps with Scenery Porn - "gorn" in areas like the deserted amusement park and subway station, "porn" such as the Aurora Borealis effects in the dim-lit sky seen on the hotel's rooftop.
- Settings: The majority of environments include Abandoned Areas, but also a variety of the following.
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Class Cage"? That doesn't make any sense unless one considers it's about cages formed by social classes, which has absolutely nothing to do with the story. The localization uses "Glass Cage", which in addition to making sense of the title (Fragile) also makes sense in that scientists were essentially trying to smash the restrictions of communication to sound and words, both of which were thought to be fundamentally limited like a cage.