Fragment happens to be one of the fourteen games of the AGS Bake Sale. Initially drawn and designed entirely by Ben Chandler (Ben304), finally saw the light of the day, thanks to Sebastian Pfaller (kapputnikk) taking over the design and of course, composing the music. This of course is a team-effort between the two.
The story takes place in a future, where the player takes control of Timothy Jenkins, a scientist conducting experiments in the field of phychology. His latest experiment appears to be around the exploration of human memory and unevitably human emotions. The experiment is called "Plateaus of Oblivion" and is conducted with the help of a female AI by the name of Arkady.
Lately Timothy has been spending too much time with the experiment inside the plateaus, mostly because he broke up with his girlfriend, Marylee. Arkady (the AI) has been struggling coming up with different setups in such a limited time, and resolves into drawing memories from Timothy's memories.
Depending on your choices, the game offers two endings.
The writing style of the game is decent, and the options provided to the player fit in most situations every personality/behavior. Despite the bulkiness of the dialogs in general, the writing doesn't seem to tire at all.
The puzzle design is most likely the best thing to be offered by this game. Fragment is a standard point and click adventure game, where left click walks/interacts and right click examines. It's worth saying that the interface is self-explanatory, but there's a readme included just in case.
The purpose of the player is to solve a puzzle in each setup/plateau to proceed to the next one (continue the experiment).
With each plateau the challenge increases, I believe in certain plateaus a hint (nothing major just a subtle one would do) would be nice for people with no adventure game skills. But a little clicking here and there, should provide adequate understanding of what needs to be done.
The pacing of the game appears to slowly gain a great momentum, as in my playthrough. I literally stormed out on each plateau.
The plateaus are all unique and there's no repetition between them. However, it must be said that due to the lack of hints/reactions on certain plateaus players may or may not be stuck helpless. Perhaps more hinting would simplify the game way too much, and remove any sort of challenge, so that move from the developers is understandable.
Before every plateau, you'll be asked to complete a circular design by dragging the pieces or clicking on the dots. Even when the game is at its end, those puzzles pose no threat/challenge to the player, and there's a high repetition rate of the patterns. So it becomes slowly a tedious process taking away time from the most interesting parts of the game.
Graphically-wise, the game appears to be quite pretty and imaginative. The backgrounds are neatly and abstractly drawn with wild colors. The characters are colorfully drawn, and decently animated, besides timothy's walkcycle; though possibly I'm the only person to be bothered by it. Also in certain occasions, Arkady will smile, which is a small, but regardless a nice detail. Besides the plateaus, the player's will mostly be on the terminal room, where Timothy hooks up.
Fragment has been dressed around with lots of different and fancy tunes and amazingly old-style sound effects. The music has even been integrated as a meta-joke, inside the game, supposedly some random music that Arkady chooses to play on each plateau. Regardless, the music never happens to be boring and with the lack of it outside the plateaus, you'll find yourself enjoying it. Sebastian Pfaller, has composed a unique tune per plateau, and the diversity and uniqueness of the plateaus happens to be portrayed in the music as well.
Fragment takes abour 1 hour and a half to complete give or take 20 minutes, but it's a time well spent, replayability value though quite low, perhaps only worth seeing the ending you didn't get on a let's play on Youtube.
Besides the difficulty being possibly, and that's an estimation, a bit hard for beginners, Fragment has been adequately balanced with an ever increasing challenge as the game progresses, and the story arc is quite interesting and well written, accompanied with a really cosy and dreamy sound-design.
I'd rate this around 8/10.