Playing as a puppet on a string, A Juggler’s Tale is a wonderful 2D platformer where some of the puzzles take on a 3D perspective. A great story with sublime visuals and audio means that its point is made well in this short but very sweet game.
The main thrust of the game is that you play as a puppet Abby who wants to escape from her life as a juggler and explore the world around her. This all takes place on a stage with a puppet master who narrates Abby’s tale as she escapes. However, as Abby gets more and more curious, the narrator starts to switch gears, telling her to turn back as she starts to want freedom from her strings.
The strings that Abby and all the characters in the game have are key to a lot of the puzzles in the game. Whilst this is a sidescroller, elements of the world you walk through will stick out and the strings get stuck on them. You’ll then need to manipulate the world to either get your strings around the object or move the object out of the way. This is often reduced to box puzzles, choosing the right path, timed levers and triggers. Whilst the puzzles are quite simple most of the time, they rarely ever repeat after you do two or three of them clustered together. A Juggler’s Tale goes out of its way to never do the same thing in two separate parts of the game.
The other element of the game is around sneaking and running away. Abby is defenceless and as enemies have strings too, but can outrun you, its about hiding behind objects or running around platforms to tie the enemies strings up and escape them. Throw in some timed platforming moments, a few chase sequences and a couple of boss battles and you have a compact but varied game. It took me 2 hours to complete but its left a good memory with me and its definitely a game I’d replay again for its memorable moments.
As everything takes place on a stage, the game has a theatrical play feel to it. There’s fantastic audio with the narrator doing a fine job in particular. His lines are all in rhyme, which might annoy a few but I found it quite charming. There’s even a baddie theme song! It feels like an old school Disney cartoon but just as a puppet show instead. The music is beautifully lavish too with orchestrations making the heartfelt moments felt
Whilst it may be a bit short, not a moment of A Juggler’s Tale was less than excellent. I don’t want to spoil any more about the game but take my word for it – its good. The only other puppet styled game that is of this calibre is the PS3 exclusive Puppeteer. A Juggler’s Tale is a joy to play from start to finish, this is a tale you should definitely seek out.
Review copy provided by publisher.
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