A Juggler's Tale | PS5 Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
A Juggler's Tale, developed by Kaleidoscube and published by Mixtvision Games is a puzzle-platform game and is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch. For the purpose of this review I was playing the PlayStation 5 version.
First and foremost upon starting up A Juggler's Tale I immediately felt totally charmed by it and when I say immediately, I mean before anything had really happened. The visuals are absolutely stunning and the world is so intriguing. Along with this comes the narrative which tells the story of Abby, who’s an artist that's been captured by a circus and one day she manages to make her great escape and free herself to explore the world. All the characters in A Juggler's Tale are puppets, so it brought me to thinking that even though Abby had escaped the circus, was she ever truly free? Abby’s perceived freedom is riddled with danger and struggle that she must overcome. Along the way you’re accompanied by a charming narrator who we come to know as Jack who is a puppet master who narrates your story through poems and limericks.
As previously mentioned I was really charmed by A Juggler's Tale and that charm just continued as I progressed through the game. The art style is beautiful and really lends itself to the beautiful picture-book style cinematic laid out from the beginning and the general gameplay felt really smooth and caused me no issues. There wasn’t a massive amount of different mechanics to worry about which felt so refreshing to me, however despite this, how the game utilised all of the mechanics so well and right up until the end was constantly surprising me. The puzzles all felt so unique to me and whenever I’d get stuck and then figure it out I had that kind of feeling of “Wow, that was clever but so simple”.
A Juggler's Tale is a relatively short game that you could very easily complete in one session with little struggle and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I felt like I was transported into a fairytale. Despite its bright and beautiful appearance there were plenty of thought provoking moments for me through the deep and slightly dark narrative. I believe A Juggler's Tale is a metaphor for what we perceive as freedom. Abby was imprisoned by the circus but when she gained her freedom she quickly discovered that she was never truly free whether she had escaped or not. She had to accept the constraints that she was tied to and figure out a way to break free from them whether that be a physical or psychological breaking free.
Overall, I’d highly recommend digging into A Juggler's Tale. It’s a deeply contemplative, well made and thought provoking story that's well worth a shot. The visuals, the sound effects and the puzzles were all phenomenal and whilst the story itself doesn’t offer very much replayability, I already want to replay it just to experience that charm again. I think its key downfall for me was probably the length, but at the same time it didn’t feel unfinished or incomplete. I just feel like I could have enjoyed and loved A Juggler's Tale for far longer than the playtime, so whilst I mention this as a negative thing, it actually reflects really well on the game overall and isn’t as much of a criticism as it may seem.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 marionettes out of 5.
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Many thanks to Future Friends Games for the Review Key.