Enter the pages of the hand painted world of Journal. A journey through the life of a young and troubled girl as she tries to face up to the choices and responsibilities that come with childhood. An experience that questions the reliability of how we choose to remember events and explores the truths hidden within our dreams.
User reviews: Very Positive (82 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 17, 2014

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About This Game

Enter the pages of the hand painted world of Journal. A journey through the life of a young and troubled girl as she tries to face up to the choices and responsibilities that come with childhood. An experience that questions the reliability of how we choose to remember events and explores the truths hidden within our dreams.

Journal is a narrative driven adventure game by Richard Perrin, the creator of Kairo and the white chamber, with art and writing by Melissa Royall.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space
    • OS: OSX 10.6
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10
    • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader Model 3.0
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
21 of 25 people (84%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
This is a quiet, lovely story about grief, remembrance, loss, and adolescence. I'm sure a lot of people in the "this is not a game" camp would be quick to dismiss it, but I know I rather like games that have a great narritive and are more of an interactive story. I'd most compare this to a visual novel...there's no puzzles to solve but rather just choices in responses to questions. The visual style is really interesting...the entire game takes place on pieces of paper, which flip as you change scenes and everything looks like a drawing.
The game is rather brief though...it took me about 2 hours. It can probably be done in far less if you don't take the time to talk to everyone. I'd say to definitely wait until it's on sale, the full price isn't worth it, but it IS worth getting.
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13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 11
As a man who can appreciate games with more focus on storytelling rather than gameplay, I did not like this game. It's not a bad game, the voice acting is good and sketchy artstyle is really appealing but I could not sympathize with the unnamed protagonist nor did I have any interest in her. She's a troublemaker who lies, cheats and steals... and breaks windows. Even if you pick the positive moral choices, it doesn't effect the outcome of the story and as a result, she is still a ♥♥♥♥♥. Throughout the whole game, you're left wondering what it is that she's going through that has caused her to behave this way. I felt like the story was a bit of a muddle and that it wasn't going anywhere as they leave out details for pretty much everything such as her parent's divorce, her grandmother's sudden change of behaviour and the package you have to pick up from the post office. They don't really contribute to her bad behaviour as the ending explains why she has been acting out. The ending (which I won't spoil) was very cheesy and it was clearly meant to be sentimental but it just happens all of a sudden. Nothing in this game has lead to the events of the ending. That's been told through backstory (the cutscenes with the circus frame) in which you end your day by going back to your journal. I feel like I would've sympathize with the character more if they told us this in the first place rather than trying to make it some sort of a huge twist. Is this game trying to tell us a story about the life of a teenage girl or was it meant to be deeper? Either way, the disjointed narrative structure of the game just shoehorns more mysteries that feels pointless. I bought this game with my disposable income of £1.74 as the game was 75% off. You can complete this game within an hour and a half and the achievements, as well as the game of course, is very easy. They try to tell so much story within that game length. Unless the game is at that price, I would avoid. 5/10 - AVERAGE!
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10 of 14 people (71%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
A very short but very interesting game
I cant spoil the end
but I seriously cried. 37 year old man here, cried
not that its real or what not but .. what could be, what should be, regrets etc

the game is about an hour long or less
dont expect puzzles or to much plot,
but this game is wonderful in its own right just it should be cheaper, the sale price is even overpriced,
id have gladly donated 5$ for the game to the devs but not to valve

awesome game, great premise.
Kal wipes tears from his eyes
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 13
Journal...how do I describe Journal.

Journal is a game that focuses on the story. The only keys you use are the right and left arrow buttons, and then the space bar. It's more than enough.

Journal...is something different.

When I first started playing the game after buying it on sale, I'll admit. I wasn't that impressed. I thought it was a bit odd, and I liked the art style. The story was simplistic and seemed to have no point. Then a window got broken. Then you find out YOU broke the window.

You make all sorts of descions in the game that all pertain some sort of importance, though some are miniscule and others are...game changing. Literally and metephorically. You change the course of the game with each move you make, and then you also change the story itself, to a point. At first it isn't all that interesting and honestly a bit confusing, but then things fall into place. it's like a puzzle and you have to put it together. Piece by piece, word by word. You'll have to stop a couple times to figure it all out, though it isn't an inconveinance. Little puppet show stories are between each...chapter? Page? In your journal that sort of help you understand, while also delivering a seperate lesson and helping piece things together.

The most remarkable thing about this game is the ending. The ending made me think, made me sit back and stare at the screen. At the last sentance for a good ten minutes, just wondering. Wondering, thinking. Appreciating. This game gets a whole lot of credit for its ending; you realize what the whole game was about, why you did what you did, what your motiviations and everything else were for your actions and the truth behind the puppet shows.

This game is more of an experience, and it's a real good one. I reccomend it to anyone who wants to be surprised and enlightened, and who doesn't mind contomplating things.

Amazing ending, art, and style. It all ties up and is just...beautiful. Buy it. They earned the money.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 3
What a beautiful way to share a profound life story. This game is definitely on the list of inspirations for my own game-making endeavours; it's given me quite a few ideas already! I found the art style and accompanying music very relaxing and refreshing, almost like being back to childhood itself. The cut-scenes were a brilliant idea. I wish I had paid more attention to the first few, had I known that they were actually very important to the story! There are many reflections to be taken away from this game, about games and storytelling itself, but also about struggles and challenges in life.

I'm so glad I came across this and will be recommending it to all my friends :)
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
I recommend this title but ONLY IF YOU READ MY WHOLE REVIEW.

The protaginist and story are unenjoyable until about 80% through the approximately one hour long story. The art style convinced me to buy this but it didn't look that good during the actual game. There are no rebindable keys or real options besides resolution and fullscreen.

With that being said, the remaining 20% of the game brings much needed character development to the protaginist as well as some of the other characters. The ending makes up for the beginning part of the game and is worth a purchase (unless you like angsty teenage drama, then you will like the whole thing).
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2 of 6 people (33%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
As a girl I was extremely irritated with the character's behaivor. She made irrational decisions which I somewhat understood through the ending, but the characters' actions were quite predictable. Overall, it was a decent one-time play kinda game. Good to kill an hour or two on a night alone or when you have extra time. I got it on sale for like 2 bucks which was worth it, but I wouldn't pay more than that. Grab it while it's on sale.

Rate 7.5/10 (Not the best but worth the play)
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 11
Bought it because I thought Kairo was a trip and wanted to see what else this team had made. This is only like kairo in that you move around the tiny town they put you in, in stages, over the course of several days.

No spoilers, but the story was better than expected with some twists thrown in. It is short, about 2 hours, but I got it on sale... best way to get it. 7/10

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0 of 2 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 11
A very immersive story. I cared about almost all of the characters and the art goes a long way. I would definitely recommend this as a good way to spend the better part of a sleepless night. Play when exhausted but restless.
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2.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
Ok, I cried near the end. 10/10 Money well spent for me.

A very simple (no puzzles, very little exploration) point & click game. One would buy this for the short story, not gameplay. Some people measure a game's dollar worth by the time it takes to complete but I measure them by how much I enjoyment I had and I enjoyed this.
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2.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 18
There isn't enough detail to make the characters feel alive. It's all very surface. Telling, not showing. For a narrative based game, that kind of thing is vital.
I don't have the same problem with the main character's moral choices other people have. I like that she wasn't perfect.

Overall, this game feels more like a piece of personal writing someone wrote as therapy, rather than something intended for public consumption. The carnival interludes are especially awkward.
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1.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 14
I found this game very boring and long. I enjoy most games that give the user an "experience", but this one was just too bad. I found that the story was poorly written and revealed to you in the worst ways. Everything was confusing.

The cutscenes dragged on, and on and on and it was just too boring. The ending was touching, a story of grief, but it doesn't make up for how boring and bad the game is. Since it was 2D, the way you progressed was really strange, sometimes counterproductive. Lots of backtracking, and little choice as to what you did as a character even if there were dialogue options.

I don't recommend this game.
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4.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 15
The game has an interesting art style & a decent story. There are a few times though where the choices you make are a bit ambiguos & sometimes I ended up randomly wandering around, going back to characters I had already talked with as there was no indication on what needed to be done next.

Control pad support is good (I don't have an xBox pad) & worked well until right near the end of the game but keyboard input still worked (as of 16 Nov). This is supposed to be fixed in the next update.
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2.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
This game has a charm all of it's own.

I enjoyed it, although I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who does not like "Walking Sims".

I found the Journal was in many ways like how we observe life and try and struggle to understand what it is all about, or maybe that is just me.


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8.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
This just might be the best game I've played in a long time.
- Story-rich growing up/coming of age pathos
- Moral decisions that effect the outcomes
- Good music that I can't get out of my head

I only wish it had been longer, as it leaves some questions unanswered.
But, that may just be another part of why it's so good.
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59 of 65 people (91%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 13
Sir Faulty's Scorecard

Personal Rating: "Worth purchasing during a sale"
Traditional Rating: 5.5 out of 10
Genre: Indie Adventure

A penny for your thoughts

I am not really sure what to make of indie darling Richard Perrin's (the maker of the wonderful puzzler Kairo) latest game - Journal. It's clear from the ending that it must have been a deeply personal project, but I am still not entirely convinced the adventure game medium was the best way to tell this tale. First things first - Journal is not much a game, but more an interactive choose-your-own adventure kind of experience. How you view this in relation to what you consider constitutes the act of gaming will greatly affect the way you will probably feel about the title. Most are probably going to be dismissive about it and that is perfectly fine since Journal exists in a tightly sealed niché vacuum. I am all for games expanding beyond the traditional shoot-to-kill or might-and-magic tropes that have become gaming's hobbyhorse of late but I am not convinced that Journal is going to be the one to breach those shores.

The game opens with an unnamed girl whose diary seems to have lost all its pages. Interrogating friends and family on the various topics that crop up or situations the young girl finds herself in will result in her journal once again fleshing itself out. These engagements will also start to give you some context into this young girls life. We soon learn that her parents are separated but we don't learn the truth behind this separation until the final stages of this brief adventure. The games central themes of loss and grief are slowly recorded within the journal but the problem here is that the journal, a central plot-device, is often left on the sidelines as we endure one too many angst-ridden teenage growing pain moments (the Diary of Adrian Mole this most certainly ain't).

Maybe I am just too old and I have forgotten what it must feel like to be a selfish teenager and all the drama that accompanies those evolving years, but I found I cared less and less about stolen snow globes, broken windows or cheating on math tests and even more so when I was trying to do good by helping a pair of school friends fall into love when beneath the surface of this action it did nothing but cut and scar my young protagonist's heart. There is a bigger theme at play here that eventually gives rise to the reasons why the young girl is behaving the way she is and I am not going to reveal it for those still interested in playing Journal. This late game reveal does try to ground the actions that preceded it, but in the end I found it didn't really move me.

There are some striking things to be found in Journal though. The carnival puppet show that moves each chapter along is engrossing and very well told, eventually tying into the games main story-line and one can't deny it does exude a certain British charm, even if that charm feels as though it has come direct to us from the 1950's. There is a human beating heart at the core of this game - it's just a pity that it's all so surface-level philosophy (ripped straight from psychology 101) than the actual tapping into of one of life's realities - that life can often be a tangled mess when concerned with the likes of human emotion. The game is accompanied by a lovely piano score that while often depressing to listen to suits the tone of the game quite well.

Journal asks that its user be a bit more introspective, but in the end the message it conveys is something one would more likely find written on a milk or cereal carton and that ultimately diminishes its power. Try it - if you dare to be different - but just don't expect your indie world to be spun off its axis.

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19 of 22 people (86%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
Journal comes with few interesting features like visualization and music, and rely heavily on storytelling aspect. However story isn't that gripping or intriguing from start till the end, even though final "twist" helps a bit.

I personally didn't enjoy this game as much as i would like to, but quality is present.

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16 of 20 people (80%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
As much as I really wanted this game, and even wanted to give it a good review I just can't. I am sitting here fresh after playing it, feeling terrible after the game. Most of the time I can review games with a better manner of my feelings. This game however even though it made me feel terrible, it was for all the wrong reasons.

You have absolutely no influence in this game what-so-ever. When I found out this girl was a bit of a trouble maker I thought I could just make the right choices and avoid it. To no avail though. And decisions were able to be made before you even knew what was going on. Like the broken window, your friend is upset because everyone thinks she did it, you tell her you know you didn't do it just to hear from someone else you were the one saying she did it.

You also steal from charity, but not by choice, and you're not even aware of it until your stopped by a police officer and your character admits she stole. Then you can't even take it back by first choice, you have to admit it to your mother. The character is very very selfish and by the end of it I just hated her, and this game. The circus "cut scenes" were completely comfusing and I feel so terrible because I wasted money on this. It had been in development for a long time, one would expect better gameplay from it.

I just cannot reccomend this game, because as much as I love games with stories, this just isn't a good one.
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12 of 14 people (86%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
A very short and linear story about a teenage girl navigating through griefs of adolescence, some of them more intimate than others. The style is an appealing novelty, and the writing itself is solid, with great moments of poignancy as the days progress and the world broadens for you, but these positives are quickly bogged down by clunky controls, glitchy area transitions, and general code/etc hiccups. Still, I recommend picking it up at a substantial discount for the experience.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
Journal is a very enjoyable inde adv game, It requires no real skill other than a willingness to explore the world and converse with the NPCs in it. Journal tells the story of an unnamed women, looking back on a difficult time in her child hood through her journal, which you are helping her write as you play. The unusual premise and the beautiful hand drawn children’s story book graphics are worth the price of admission alone. The story elements (divorce, death, friendship, coming of age) are never handled to deeply, but it was enough to cause me to think back on my life more than once as I played which is something very few video games have ever accomplished, its more like a good novel or movie in that way. The only game aspects are how you chose to answer questions (aggressive, guilty, positive, pessimistic), how much of the world you interact with, and how that changes your relationships along the way. None of this ever really changes the outcome, which will make sense once you play it and the story even addresses this at a point. If you enjoy adventure games and can have some empathy with a main character in fiction then you will enjoy Journal. Oh, and it plays great with a gamepad too.
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