Review: Journey of the Broken Circle
Available on Nintendo Switch, PC, and App Stores
Developer Loveable Hat Cult's newest game Journey of the Broken Circle is a beautiful story of an incomplete circle on an adventure to find meaning in life. As Circle, you travel through a linear 2D world in search of your missing piece with the hope of one day feeling complete again. As you progress you will encounter various NPCs, some of whom you will connect with to grant Circle different abilities to traverse new lands.
This is a story-driven experience that, in my opinion, does a wonderful job of depicting mental illness and the challenges those who struggle with mental illness face.The 4-5 hour story will take you and Circle on an emotional rollercoaster as Circle deals with the highs of love and the lows of loss. When circle is at his emotional darkest, the game does a wonderful job of addressing the inner dialog of existential angst and suicide as circle struggles to understand the meaning of existence and if his search for completeness was ill-fated. It was easy to become emotionally invested in Circle, as the thought provoking dialog addresses the often taboo aspects of human emotion.
The world and character design are simple, yet diverse. Throughout the game, Circle will explore snowy landscapes, dense forests, stormy skies, and lava filled caverns. Accompanied by a well-designed soundtrack, the game's audio does a wonderful job of matching the emotions of Circle and the characters he meets along the way.
From a game mechanics perspective, this game is easy. Journey of the Broken Circle is a linear side scroller where the basic controls are to continue moving right and pressing A to jump and interact with NPCs. However, the game does a wonderful job of leveraging the abilities granted by NPCs to keep gameplay engaging. At times there are challenging sections of the world that will require some acrobatic jumps, but this game is not designed to be a puzzle platformer.
Overall Grade: A
Journey of the Broken Circle is beautifully unique. It's not every day I skeptically pick up a video game and quickly find myself emotionally invested in the protagonist. I'm happy I played Journey of the Broken Circle. The emotional themes are culturally universal, and I hope you consider giving this game a playthrough.