With an ongoing pandemic, numerous natural disasters, and much unrest in the world, it seems a time well-suited for a love story. That love story comes in the form of Journey of the Broken Circle, a game about an imperfect circle traveling to find its missing piece that will make them whole. The game is made by Lovable Hat Cult, published by Nakana.io, and is set to roll out on September 18.
On its face, an existential tale woven about falling in and out of love doesn’t seem like something that would feature a nondescript circle, but it works surprisingly well. Players control the aptly named Circle, as they set out into the world to find what they are missing. As the tale goes on, Circle meets an interesting cast of characters. Some fit well with Circle, others not so much; all carrying their own unique takeaways from each interaction.
There are certainly some Shel Silverstein vibes here, but Journey of the Broken Circle aims to be a little more deliberate in its execution. The dialogue is very direct and surprisingly lighthearted at times. Much of the story (including its more poignant points) is painted very starkly, as to leave little to misinterpretation. Some may find this off-putting but Broken Circle’s straightforwardness makes it easy to relate to. Circle’s encounters with love, support, and even self-doubt at times, allows many players to connect with the story in all its deliberate telling nature.
And yes, despite the themes of love and existentialism, Journey of the Broken Circle is still a game at the end of the day; and a pretty fun one at that! The experience is 2D side-scrolling platformer and players get different movement capabilities depending on the character they’re with. Most of the game’s 16 levels are fairly easy, but a few do have some rather challenging timing and precision sections. The bonus levels are wonderful add-ons that have their own unique gameplay difficulty.
Outside of the positive story, the art is great. The style is minimalist, but still manages to present backdrops set on beautiful vistas, snowy mountains, or terrifying caves.
Journey of the Broken Circle is a lovely game that shines in its simple but effective story. Easily enjoyed, it shines an importance on all kinds of love, be it familial, friendly, or that of a significant other, and the lessons learned from each.
Journey of the Broken Circle final score: 4/5 stars
Journey of the Broken Circle will be available on Nintendo Switch and PC (Steam) on Sept.18, 2020. Watch the launch trailer below.