STAFF REVIEW of A Juggler’s Tale (Xbox One)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021.
by Peggy Doyle

A Juggler’s Tale Box art A Juggler’s Tale, developed by German studio Kaleidoscube, is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that tells the story of Abby, a marionette, who is trying to find her way to freedom. Puppet master Jack firmly holds her strings in his helpful hands.

Set in a marionette theatre, the fairy tale world unfolds on stage over 5 acts. You don’t play as Abby, but rather the puppeteer who navigates her though the world, jumping, pulling/pushing objects and solving puzzles to avoid objects that block or snag her strings. Simplistic controls make this easy to navigate. 'Left Stick' to move left or right, 'A' button to jump or 'Right Trigger' to grab items to move them.

Abby starts her journey being held captive by a circus, putting on shows during the day and being held in a cage at night. Abby eventually manages to escape but soon discovers the other dangers in the outside world. After a brief moment to enjoy her new freedom she must navigate traps, river crossings, bandit camps and more on her journey.

The narrator/puppet master is very important, and he gives all the characters their voices and guides Abby while securely holding her strings. It is his story you are playing, and things become more complicated as she starts to veer from the original intended story he’s trying to tell.

The narrator tells the story in a theatrical manner and therefore uses poetic language to describe the world around you, give puzzle hints if you’re stuck and to be the voice for all characters: “Little Abby takes a pause and stops with a shiver / If you want to be free, you’ll have to cross the river!” for example. The rhyming used in the writing definitely took me back to being a child and listening to stories in person or on TV. I found myself captivated by its lyrical nature. While searching for more info behind the game, I was delighted to find out that the studio took the time to keep the rhyming narration in German as well. Although the words would be different, and have different meaning, I was pleased to know others would also be able to enjoy the lyrical magic I experienced.

The charismatic narrator and puppet master, Jack, is voiced by the wonderful Shaun Lawton, who was perfect in this game. I loved his voice and I could sit and listen to him read stories all day.

The accompanying music for the game was straight out of fairy tale. As soon as the music stared on the title screen I was hooked. Like a beautiful melody played by a bard I was enchanted. I even sent a message to a friend stating that before I even dove into the gameplay.

While clocking in at a very quick 2 to 3 hour gameplay, I enjoyed every moment with A Juggler’s Tale. This was the first major game by Kaleidoscube, and it stuck with me for days after playing it. I even went searching for more info about the behind the scenes of the game and the voice actor behind the Puppet Master Jack. Kaleidoscube is a student founded Startup and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

While A Juggler’s Tale is primarily a game that revolves around the connection between storyteller and Abby, it’s even more so a game about trust and the things that bind us together. A Juggler’s Tale really is a children’s story come to life. With its simplistic controls, lovely, stylized scenery, enchanting music and the narrator’s charismatic voice, A Juggler’s Tale creates a gaming experience to be enjoyed by everyone.

*A Juggler’s Tale was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X*

Overall: 8.8 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 9.5 / 10


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