A Round Affair

When a cake is cut, the result looks like an incomplete circle. From a very formal point of view, it seems to be missing something. One explanation for this view could be the pursuit of completeness and perfection. This is – like the desire for symmetry and order – deeply rooted in ourselves. However, we sometimes have a very weird image of perfection. If the cake is never cut, it will eventually become inedible. And even if a piece is missing, it still remains just as delicious. In the best case, not a single crumb documents the battle for the last piece. And it is precisely such a change of perspective that The Journey of the Broken Circle is about.

The game is a rather simple platformer. The game mechanics are quite fun and sometimes even require skill. But for me they are more a functional instrument to underline the intention of the game’s story. The hero, distantly related to Pac-Man or an incomplete cake, is looking for the right partner for the journey through life. The incomplete circle is wishing to be round, because everything would be better. And indeed the small circle finds suitable pieces to fill the gap. All three life/level-section companions share many wonderful experiences with the broken circle, because everyone comes along with very different characteristics – climbing, flying and dashing.

But it doesn’t run permanently round. And if things don’t run smoothly, self-doubt may also arise. Therefore some break-ups result in a depressive phase. Fortunately there is a special partner who accompanies the small broken circle during this time. However, the burdock-like structure does not fill a gap like the others, but lies protectively around you, catches you and gives you support – just like friends and family would do when you are feeling bad.

The Journey of the Broken Circle is a beautiful, coherently told, interactive story. It touches on serious topics and yet it is so simple that the plot is understandable for children. In a playful way the myth of the soul mate is cleared up and the gooey stories of true love are questioned. Of course I still believe in love, even in unconditional love. But those who fall for the idea that there is a perfect match will look for it and remain lonely. Some fall in love very quickly – perhaps to be never lonely. Well, and some preach self-love as the true way out. But if you look at it in absolute terms, there is no room for others in your life.

And Buddhism is also being taken up – reflecting the zeitgeist. This religion teaches the change of perspective on life in many ways. In Buddhism an incomplete circle stands for openness. It’s not a bug – it’s a feature! Nevertheless, I continue to stay away from Buddhism, yoga and mindfulness and stick to what first came to my mind when I saw the cute, incomplete circle: Cake is simply delicious all the time!

The Journey of the Broken Circle was created by Danish indie developer Lovable Hat Cult. The studio caused quite a stir with his first project four years ago. The game called Le Petite Mort is a musical experience about female orgasm and has often been shortened to a vagina app. The story of The Journey of the Broken Circle on the other hand is completely harmless. The adventure is available for PC, Mac and Nintendo Switch since September 2020. A version for Android and iOS has been already announced.

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