Originally released in Fall 2020 on the Switch eShop, Journey of the Broken Circle is an emotional puzzle platformer that should be put in the same category of atmospheric games like Journey, Flower, or Limbo. At its heart, the player simply needs to reach to the other side of the screen but the story and life message is what will stay with you.
As the real world suffers from the ongoing pandemic, the lessons taught in this physics based platformer hits close to home. Playing as a circle with a slice removed (think Pacman), filling this gap to become whole works deeper than introducing new gameplay techniques. Inserting a stick allows the player to stick to walls. The thorn lets the circle roll along the perimeter of platforms. The balloon attachment makes the circle float, for example. Although the gap is temporarily filled and creates a new shape with different abilities, the circle still isn’t the same or completely whole.
In order to accept a new ability, the player needs to let go of the one currently in possession. This also carries meaning as the player starts to understand his loneliness and betrayal of others, encountering trust issues along the way. The soft pastel visuals and whimsical soundtrack also become a part of the experience and wouldn’t be the same without their quality. Dialog, and how it is written, also stands out and makes this experience as powerful as it is.
With the low cost and brief run time, Journey of the Broken Circle is a fitting game for 2021 and there is something here in which everyone can relate. The physics based platforming segments are the transitioning tools used to spark the narrative but it’s the story and existentialism that will stay with you after the circle’s journey concludes.
Also available on Switch and PS4.