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Journey of the Broken Circle review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Nakana.io
Developer: Lovable Hat Cult
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

Platformers with inanimate objects (or, I guess, animated inanimate objects) are harder to pull off than you might think. Do it well, and you get Thomas Was Alone. Do it less well, and you wind up with, I don’t know, something like Alteric, or some other completely forgettable platformer with no personality.

Journey of the Broken Circle does it well. Not so well that I’d place it alongside Thomas Was Alone, mind you, but it’s still good enough that it at least deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. Seeing as TWA was (and still is) one of my all-time favourites, that’s saying something.

It doesn’t take long for Journey of the Broken Circle to establish itself on that level, either. Almost from the get-go, when the eponymous circle starts rolling along and talking to every animal and inanimate object he (she? it?) comes across, the game manages to infuse its main character with an impressive amount of personality. The circle is just so friendly, and so earnest in his/her/its quest to find its missing piece, that you can’t help but root for it.

And, what’s more, the game gets into some pretty heady topics, too. The circle gets a crash course on existential angst from a group of balloons, talks about suicidal thoughts with a piece of a stick, and regularly hears from a philosophical owl. The developers even have a character guide in case you need some background on what the characters represent. This may sound like pretty heavy and/or pretentious stuff from a platformer but, thanks to some terrific writing, it never comes across that way.

It also helps that the platforming is decent enough. Nothing out of the ordinary, mind you, but it’s easy enough to never distract you from the story, while still being hard enough that it’s a bit of a challenge.

Of course, if the platforming were better, then Journey of the Broken Circle might just have challenged Thomas Was Alone for that “best platformer starring inanimate objects” crown. As it stands, it’ll simply have to settle for being a very, very good game

Nakana.io provided us with a Journey of the Broken Circle Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+