Abby in a scene in the puppet show of A Juggler's Tale
Games,  Review

A Juggler’s Tale review

Roll up and see the amazing Abby as she performs feats of skill in A Juggler’s Tale. See her juggle like no other and fend off a fearsome bear with nothing but her wits. That is, until the show’s end, when she is locked into a cage for the night until she performs again tomorrow. Abby is sick of this life and yearns to be free and see the world! With some help from friends, she can escape her miserable existence and discover the world for herself. But with strings attached, is she really free?

Gameplay – Freedom with strings attached

After years in the circus, Abby is free, but where can she go? Is anywhere safe? It’s time to run across the countryside and hope there is a light at the end. A Juggler’s Tale is a light puzzle game where Abby’s strings will be the biggest hurdle to solve. Her strings mean she will get caught in branches and can’t go under any platforms, so you’ll need to think of another way through.

Fortunately, the answer is usually not too tricky to find. This is great for people who enjoy a light challenge without getting frustrated, but it could be considered too easy for those that crave something a little more tricky.

Abby balances on a cable to get through unseen
Abby balances on a cable to get through unseen

The narrator, and puppet master, can also use Abby’s strings to help her out. He will save her from death by placing her in safety or can help her jump across large gaps. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine if this is the expectation, and you’ll need to take a leap of faith to see what happens.

The controls for Abby are quite floaty, with a GRIS like feel to them. I enjoyed this because it felt like it matched the string puppet theme. I wouldn’t expect a puppet that is being controlled by an external force to have tight controls.

Art and audio – What a view!

A Juggler’s Tale has some gorgeous scenery! Everywhere Abby goes there is something beautiful to enjoy, which is lucky because the world itself is a bit grim. The character design is excellent; the characters really do feel like they’re out of a puppet show circus. I thought it interesting to have all characters be hindered by their strings, not just Abby suffering from the setback.

Abby crossing the countryside in A Juggler's Tale
Abby crossing the countryside in A Juggler’s Tale

In A Juggler’s Tale, we are told the story of Abby by the narrator and puppet master, Jack, in rhyming verse. I’ve seen some reviews mention it is a bit clunky and not well done, but I think that brings part of the charm to the game as I’m not sure we’re meant to expect perfect dialogue from Jack. He is just the creator of a puppet show telling his tale.

The soundtrack for A Juggler’s Tale is fantastic! It blends well with the scene and brings an added layer of atmosphere to the game. It excels at being cheerful one moment and foreboding the next and brings a little something extra to the game.

Final thoughts

A Juggler’s Tale is quite short, sitting at about toe hours of gameplay, but those minutes all felt worthwhile. I had a great time adventuring across the countryside with Abby and helping her to find a better life. 

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Platforms: PC (Steam, Gog, Epic Games), Nintendo Switch, Xbox & Playstation
Genre: Adventure, story-rich, fantasy

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