A Juggler’s Story Assessment – Tangled in its Strings (PS5)
A Juggler’s Story is a cute little side-scrolling indie puzzler clearly influenced by the likes of Playdead’s Limbo and Inside. Abby, a marionette hooked up to strings, should escape her lifetime of slavery at a circus, however is she actually free, or do her strings nonetheless maintain her again? Whereas A Juggler’s Story makes an admirable effort, nevertheless it by no means actually reaches the peaks of the video games that impressed it.
A Juggler’s Story can simply be accomplished in underneath two hours, and that’s even if you happen to spend a while making an attempt to determine the puzzles alongside the way in which. With a information, and/or data of the sport, I can’t see a full playthrough of the sport’s 5 acts clocking in at way more than an hour. It begins on a stage, as our narrator tells the story through a puppet present. Abby escapes her lifetime of confinement, held captive by an evil ringmaster, however her newfound freedom rapidly exhibits that it’s not simply the ringmaster who was holding her captive.
The dynamic with the narrator/puppet grasp is an fascinating one the lends itself effectively to the deeper narrative themes that A Juggler’s Story has. At instances Abby can be “helped” in unimaginable conditions, with the narrator making an attempt to precise how a lot Abby wants her strings; wants him. Exuding a mix of Peter Capaldi and Christopher Lloyd, the narrator goes from endearing rhymes, to maybe one thing a bit extra sinister as the sport goes on.
His narration is essentially pleasant at instances, although some poor construction, diction, and cadence make for off-putting rhymes. He’ll sometimes rhyme phrases that don’t work in pair, making me want for a distinct lyric there. Early situations of this grating lack of consideration to poetic meter make the latter half of the sport—the place the narrator is meant to be a bit extra flustered whereas trying to take care of poetic kind—much less impactful. It nonetheless works effectively sufficient throughout, and I perceive that poetry lives and breathes on the moments that break that poetic kind, however some strains had me elevating an eyebrow to my display questioning if that was actually the rhyme they had been selecting to go together with.
A Juggler’s Story Assessment – Enjoying Lifeless
Mechanically, the sport performs very like the aforementioned Playdead titles. Abby is comparatively gradual transferring and the main focus is extra on transferring by lovely environments and the puzzles, slightly than on any vital platforming. The puzzles are largely merely affairs—pull a lever, watch for a factor to occur—however some options might be so obtuse an unobvious that it looks like A Juggler’s Story needs you to fail and use trial and error to get by them. There are hardly ever apparent indicators for the place Abby will fail or die, and it takes a number of instances making an attempt and reloading earlier than there’s an understanding of the mechanics concerned.
On explicit puzzle answer was so hidden in a darkened nook (in addition to behind a pink herring answer) that I spent practically 20 minutes making an attempt a number of methods to get previous one thing that ought to have taken 20 seconds. It concerned a lot of ready for guards with lanterns to maneuver out of the way in which too—an annoying mechanic inside puzzles the place the participant’s company and motion is taken away for the easy act of “ready.” Finally once I did end it, it was solely as a result of I had run previous the obvious checkpoint, bought caught by the guard, then it glitched me to the checkpoint with what the true answer was purported to be, one thing I by no means even thought-about. There was no aha second. I used to be simply pissed off the answer was so buried within the setting and obtuse.
Different puzzles and encounters have such exact timings and mechanics that it’s virtually unimaginable to not get caught or fail quite a few instances simply since you set out a break up second too late. In a single the place I used to be being chased by a ship that I used to be purported to get to go down a whirlpool, doing the factor to get the whirlpool to cease was agonizingly tough to do within the brief window allowed. I ended up lastly getting this one achieved fairly by chance. I don’t wish to really feel relieved once I end a puzzle. I wish to really feel achieved and sensible.
That’s to not say that each one the puzzles are dangerous, nevertheless it’s fairly noticeable that the sport’s total runtime is dramatically prolonged primarily based on how lengthy you spend on the significantly irritating ones. Different instances A Juggler’s Story makes intelligent use of Abby’s strings to both block her route or have an effect on issues within the setting, which is the sport’s greatest distinctive level. Nonetheless don’t count on an escalation of those mechanics in vital methods. Its brief runtime leaves a number of the easy puzzles wanting for extra, and a number of the extra drawn out scenes feeling a bit too self indulgent.
A Juggler’s Story is pleasing for what it’s, nevertheless it doesn’t fairly attain the significantly memorable nature of comparable indie video games it so clearly takes inspiration from. There’s an important introspective narrative with some good themes relating to private freedoms and chopping the strings of poisonous relationships all through, however a brief runtime and sometimes obtuse puzzles and mechanics go away it feeling a bit extra tousled than it ought to by the tip.
A Juggler’s Story Assessment code offered by writer. Reviewed on PS5. For extra data, please learn our Assessment Coverage.