36 Fragments of Midnight Review

A procedurally generated platformer where you must help the titular protagonist Midnight collect lost star fragments, Petite Games’ 36 Fragments of Midnight has come to Switch. Whether or not it’s worth picking up depends on what you’re looking for in a game though, as this one’s probably not for everyone.

Before we get ahead of ourselves however, we need to get to the heart of what 36 Fragments of Midnight has to offer. At its core, it’s a procedurally generated “collect the items” form of platformer with various spikes, saw blades, and lasers to navigate on your way to a full collection of star fragments. As for Midnight, it seems that our protagonist is just a block-shaped (and glowing) entity looking to help his shadowy friends get their fragments back. An odd design choice, but it definitely works here.

Once you get into the gameplay, you’ll learn that our little glowing block can jump (A), double jump (A+A), and move left or right (left analog or directional buttons)… but that’s pretty much the whole of it. As such, the platforming and navigating of traps become a matter of timing and accuracy in their execution and conquering. I hope you brought both your skills and your patience on this little romp, as you’re probably going to need them to get to the end. 😉

Speaking of your romp, it’s important to note that since each play-through is procedurally generated you’ll not likely encounter the same world twice. Even so, you are likely to run into many of the exact same (or eerily similar) traps. There are only so many ways that the pieces can fit together, and it turns out that in just a few runs you’ll likely have all the tricks needed to get past any obstacle. Because of this limit on possible combinations, you’re more likely to get bored of this one than other procedurally generated games with more pieces (and therefore more combinations to encounter). That said, the game is cheap – so what did you expect?

Looking to the presentation, it’s immediately obvious that 36 Fragments of Midnight isn’t the snazziest game out there. The gameplay is smooth and crisp-looking however, which is really what matters in a platformer. As for the audio, it’s very simple – but also very atmospheric, and definitely fitting. Most of the game is accompanied only by a hauntingly familiar windswept soundtrack, which goes quite well with the (fairly) barren and snow-swept scenery.

The game also does well at enforcing its events with its audio and imagery. Picking up a fragment triggers a satisfying chime and renders a disappearing counter, while dying offers a sad piano melody and a rather quick pop into dust for Midnight. The title menu offers a slow melody alongside its windswept cinematic, and starting a game (or retrying) is a simple bell ring and a hard cut. It’s no wonder this game has such a small footprint at 53MB, as there isn’t really much to it asset-wise. That’s not to say the usage doesn’t fit the material though, ’cause it most certainly does.

Ultimately however, I have to say that my time with 36 Fragments of Midnight ended up both short and enjoyable. While it didn’t offer anything that would make me come back to it now that I’ve collected all the fragments, it was fun while it lasted – and it’s very, very cheap. If you’ve only got a few dollars or a few minutes, this isn’t a bad way to spend them at all.