A Juggler’s Tale is a fantasy puzzle platformer from kaleidoscube and Mixtvision. It features light platforming and has an emphasis on puzzles that revolve around Abby, a marionette, who is looking for freedom in a harsh, but beautiful world. In our ‘A Juggler’s Tale’ Review, we will be looking at various aspects of the game, and what it brings to the genre.
Story and Writing
One of the highlights of this title is the writing. The story is told through the narration of a puppet master, named Jack, who goes over everything we’re doing. Abby, the main character doesn’t have a voice, but the narration does a great job of explaining how she’s feeling, and he contextually adapts to different actions performed by us.
While the game has a whimsical tone, for the most part, there are some grim moments, and it certainly takes some interesting narrative turns. If you’re familiar with classic fairy tales, this is something closer to that in tone, where usually things aren’t as cheerful as they seem.
I won’t spoil anything that does happen, but the game does a great job of immersing you in this war-torn world, and the harshness of its people. That’s not to say there aren’t cheerful characters, because there are, and the game certainly manages to balance out these moments. The game is still a story of hope, and manages to retain that core theme throughout.
It is a bit on the short side, but it tells a complete story, which I was engaged in throughout. It doesn’t overstay its welcome either, especially when you realize what is happening.
Gameplay and Controls
A Juggler’s Tale isn’t a difficult game and features some light platforming, mixed with creative puzzles. Similar to games like Limbo, you are presented with obstacles that you have to pass by interacting with the environment. Since you have strings attached to your body, most of the puzzles revolve around you navigating these obstacles as your strings get stuck.
These puzzles aren’t that difficult, and the narrator will guide you if you’re stuck. Though, some of the later sections certainly increase the difficulty, by just a bit. The controls are responsive for the most part, but it does feel a bit unpolished at times. Early on, my character kept falling in the river, while the game was resetting my position. Similarly, at times the intended effect of your actions doesn’t result in what you were expecting. During a “combat” encounter, I tried using fire to scare away an enemy, but it turns out the game only progresses if I hit the enemy with it.
None of this was really detrimental to the experience, but a bit more polish could have gone a long way.
Visuals and Audio
The game looks fantastic, and something out of a fairy tale book. It’s deliberate style, and cut-out artwork mixed with contrasting colors create some beautiful environments. Everything feels consistent with the world, and the environments are detailed and varied enough to keep you engaged.
There is a lot of effort put into the backgrounds. You’ll see different characters and animals going about their day. Some of these will dynamically interact with you and are aware of your presence. The game doesn’t hold back when it’s trying to look scary either, and there are some pretty grim sections.
The score paired with the narration plays a big role in bringing this world alive. While none of the tracks really stood out, it was still pretty good.
A Juggler’s Tale is a beautiful narrative-driven puzzle platformer that doesn’t overstay its welcome. While its gameplay can be a bit unpolished at times, the environments, storytelling, and visuals carry it through and deliver a memorable tale.
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This review is based on the PC version of A Juggler’s Tale. The key was provided by Future Friends Games