Journey of a Broken Circle is an artistic voyage of a shape that is desperate to be complete. For a relatively short game (roughly 3-5 hours depending on how much you want to explore/how much you get stuck on the scenery…) it is deeply immersive and covers surprisingly deep topics. While it might not be for everyone, I found myself loving this game, from the design approach to the overall story and its powerful messages.
The game gets the ball rolling (pun intended) immediately, and you quickly pick up the simple controls as you go. Throughout your journey, you get to interact with different companions who give you additional abilities to traverse the varied terrain found through the game’s levels.
The gameplay hinges on physics and how Circle interacts with the world, and generally speaking, the physics are good and allow you to enjoy the experience without much frustration.
Journey of the Broken Circle keeps the player on their toes, though, and it feels like as soon as you are comfortable with a certain gameplay style, terrain, or strategy, a new complication is thrown your way. These challenges give you a real sense of satisfaction when you figure them out and finally nail a tricky level – and they can be tricky. The water-themed levels in particular were tricky, but the challenge was fair and I enjoyed these the most.
In the first level, you’re also introduced to a side objective of collecting magic mushrooms (as they taste good, apparently). While there were some that I couldn’t figure out how to access in my first playthrough, they are a nice additional layer to Journey of a Broken Circle, and when you gather enough you are given access to bonus levels, extending the game’s short playtime a little more.
However, there were a couple of specific stages where controls did not feel like they mapped logically (e.g., you are rolling around an object, but the direction is not what you expect). By no means a deal-breaker – it just stood out to me as the rest was so slick.
The game itself is gorgeous, the ethereal soundtrack maps wonderfully to the scenery and feels like a character itself as your move through the varied environments. Occasionally, I found myself backtracking to find the right path to proceed but I quite enjoyed being able to further investigate. the world that ‘Circle’ lived in.
From insecurities and selfishness to depression and anxiety this game does an impressive job at covering deep topics with a couple of shapes and dialogue! Miss Moss was a favourite side character of mine and it was wonderful to see ‘Circle’ learn more about itself, and others throughout its adventure.
Speaking of your adventure, while you are only a small circle, the scenery allows you to interact in big ways, whether that is moving rock boats along or flying across a green canopy in the spring-themed level, there are many ways to interact with Circle’s world.
The lack of lives, quick load times and not having to completely redo a level when you make a mistake all added to the experience. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently revisited the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, but I enjoyed this game focusing on the journey itself, rather than punishing any mistakes.
Perhaps it is because I am stuck at home, but there was something peaceful and beautiful in helping this little circle on its voyage. I look forward to revisiting the game in the future and working to secure 100% of the magic mushrooms and popping the last of the trophies.
Journey of the Broken Circle PS4 Review
- Overall - Very Good - 7/107/10
Journey of the Broken Circle is a sweet, thought-provoking adventure that's well worth the journey. Despite a few missteps with some contradictory controls and a short run time, Circle has grown on me and I'll be rolling back into this one until the final trophy pops. It's just a shame that there's not much more to enjoy.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using: PS4.