Journey of the Broken Circle (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 31.10.2020

Review for Journey of the Broken Circle on Nintendo Switch

Feeling incomplete, an intrepid Broken Circle sets out on a journey to find its missing piece so it can be whole, which appears to be the better option in life. Is it, though? The serene colours of differently textured environments in Journey of the Broken Circle, now available on Nintendo Switch, pair up with a kaleidoscope of characters that the not-quite-a-full-circle protagonist encounters. This platformer from Lovable Hat Cult teaches both the Circle (and player) about relationships and what life is all about.

Broken Circle suffers a feeling everyone has at some point in their life: loneliness. Visually, it is easy to see the Broken Circle's problem; missing a piece means it can't roll smoothly around each level. Seeking partners is at times heart-wrenching to watch because some characters ignore it, and those that the Broken Circle does find all have their reasons to stop being its partner. Broken Circle is far from a miserable little soul, though - its optimism about the unknown path ahead makes some of its temporary partners more unsettled than they were before they joined forces.

Each level that runs smoothly into the next, using different mechanics that harness the special power each partner has. In one area, Broken Circle has a sticky friend that sticks to all surfaces, which is useful on sharp inclines. In another, Broken Circle soars high in the sky with a balloon friend that needs inflating from time to time to survive the harsh environment.

Screenshot for Journey of the Broken Circle on Nintendo Switch

Close to the start, the Broken Circle comes across the first collectible: a mushroom. If enough of these are gathered, an extra level is unlocked. Whether by intent or by accident, the Broken Circle questioning whether the non-responsive mushroom is magic will bring amusement in the UK, as "magic mushrooms" are a reference to drugs. Specific mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties, which philosophically could imply the Broken Circle is imagining some aspects of its life. This can be true for individuals who see the world from a glass half-empty point of view; seeing panic and fear wherever they look, just like Broken Circle's partners do. The level of pessimism in each partner is different, and that's what makes the journey so fun, along with the brilliant script, which has humour by the bucketload.

There are many giggles to be had when faced with an intimidating challenge on the Broken Circle's path, with the protagonist almost shrieking in delight at the thrill of the obstacle and its current partner convinced they are going to die. The partners' fears or desires for stability lead them to disembark from Broken Circle's missing pizza slice shape, leading them to be content in their new life, wherever that may be. The path isn't all plain sailing, though, and Broken Circle acknowledges that accidents happen, but they are not the end of the world. The theme of the puzzles varies - some involve literal storm clouds, others water and ice to avoid being drowned in. There is no health meter, so if the Circle and its partner fall to their doom, they just reappear soon after in a nearby place, ready to carry on their adventure.

For the most part, the puzzle side featured in Journey of the Broken Circle is logical and relatively straightforward: avoid certain obstacles to stay on track to the end. The level of platforming difficulty does increase somewhat towards the end of the game, so anyone thinking that the early stages are the be-all-and-end-all will be in for a shock, and potentially not find out what Broken Circle's fate is overall. However, this is what opens this title up to a wider audience, and the difficulty by no means detracts from the overall gorgeous experience.

Screenshot for Journey of the Broken Circle on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The development team has crafted an experience that shows how while life can be filled with anxiety, worrying often proves to be a waste of time because the worst case scenario does not come true, even when an enemy gives chase. Journey of the Broken Circle on Nintendo is a mental journey through conquering fears, pieced together with impressive attention to detail, showing that just by trying hard - dozens of times if needs be - moving forward can happen and positive results can occur despite the person's apprehensiveness. The perfect mix of platform-puzzling goodness, and deep, profound story-telling.

Developer

Lovable Hat Cult

Publisher

Nakana.io

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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