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 (111 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
67 of 76 people (88%) 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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38 of 46 people (83%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 11
I can appreciate games with more focus on storytelling rather than gameplay, but 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 the carnival interludes (that serves as a backstory), 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. It's a love it or hate it game but one with no incentives to play it through the second time.

5/10 - AVERAGE!
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26 of 30 people (87%) 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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21 of 24 people (88%) 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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22 of 27 people (81%) 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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15 of 19 people (79%) 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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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 11
I honestly don't know how I feel about this game!
It's kinda hard to explain.
It's not what I expected.
This is not a game but a very short story being told.
Your choices make no difference whatsoever to the outcome.
Still I liked the end, didn't see it coming.
Loved the artstyle and the shadow theater between chapters.
I only recommend it for 75% off. Not worth the full price.
Also recommend you watch videos before purchasing it. This is a love it or hate it game. (or maybe you will be confused like me!)
Didn't hate the game so that it would make me give thumbs down. But didn't love it either.

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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
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 but from the player's perspective, there's little to no fallout from her actions. For instance, at some point during the game (minor spoiler) she totally messes up her relationship with someone she's close to and NOTHING HAPPENS. There's a brief moment of "oh, that's a darn shame. I probably should have acted differently there, huh?" I don't think the character is ever mentioned again. It's really frustrating.

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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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 12
This game was a little too confusing for my taste. I didn't know what was going on most of the time, and then shit started to hit the fan. I wanted to end the game to judge the whole story, but it just didn't add up for me. The twist was just so random and didn't have anything to do with the rest of it. Not to me, anyway.
I personally didn't like the artstyle or the shadow theater part, but some people might love it. The characters felt shallow and I found it really hard to choose the right dialouge option. The voiceacting was nice though.
I have definitely played worse games, but I didn't enjoy it that much to be honest. 4/10, Catherine needs a beating.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 1
Very hard decision, But 51% of me would not recommend this game.

I don’t want to spoil the game, but for me, at the start, it's normal to get confused in games or stories, "it'll make sense later on, don't worry!"(What I said to myself). But in the middle to the near end, I was still confused about the divorce, in fact, it was only until the middle-end I found out it was a divorce(I was that confused) and had to infer to figure out that the protagonist’s mum cheated on her father with John(I think that was his name, but he was a farmer guy).But maybe that’s just the 12ive perspective. Speaking about that, when you had to make the decisions, I had to search up some of the words so i knew i was making the right decisions: /.I had especially been confused with the about the carnival cut scenes. At first, I thought they were like her dreams(since the cut scenes would start when she came home and a new day would start after them) and then I thought of them having a meaning into what you would choose, like you had to learn a lessons from the cut scenes to be successful in the game. I turns out *Minor SPOILER* that it wasn’t something random, but it was to intensify the happy place the carnival was before the closing. But what i hated the most about this game, was the fact that it was intentionally un-organised. The creator told you a major event at the very end of the game, to show you how cowardly she/he was, and how she didn’t want to face it, and ran away from her past. This part made me think and say to myself "This game was telling everyone how depressed she was, as she lived a life of a girl who chose so many wrong mistakes in her early life and causing various problems, but most importantly, showing everyone how she ran away from everything. But at least the moral was to not end up like her, so selfish and heartless."

On the bright side, this game had an art style that I wish more games were like, which lead me to why i bought the game. I also liked the idea of the creator making us the troublesome protagonist, because was it not only unique, but interesting in a way that it would make us feel irritated and regrettable in the decisions that we were forced to play with, so we could see the creator view in wishing we would regret the actions done.

Overall, I think this game would be a nice game for people who want to play a different game, a game where you will lose, possibly feel heart-stuck(if your a softie like me) and have most of the storyline make sense at the very, bitter, end. By this game in like the Christmas/summer sales if you are up for the experience.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 24

Ratio Score Converted Score
Gameplay and Performance Score 10% 81/100 8.1%
Graphics and Sound Score 25% 73/100 18.25%
Story and Dialogue Score 65% 41/100 26.65%
Overall Score 100% 52/100 52%

Journal is a 1 pass game where you wouldn't repeat. It was like a food freebie in the supermarket where you found the taste unique but never really bought the sauce that made it.

The story telling in journal is direct and focused. As a result of the writer not putting any filler crap just to make the game longer, other characters weren't fleshed out more that the ending where you talk to all of them had a weak impact.

The only reason I'm only recommending this game because it is unique and is a must play to experience it, since it's only 2 hours. Any longer than 5 hours, I wouldn't recommend this game.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 13
This is different from everything I have ever played. In spite of being short, I was fascinated by the story and what an ending! This is a game you either love or hate. it really depends on whoever play it. I liked this game. Short & sweet, good piano music, good atmosphere, good voices and dialogue. It's basically an interactive story.

If you like new gaming experiences, you must try this out! Nice dialogues!

Game: 7.5/10
Graphic: 8.5/10

100% Achievement : Easy | Medium | Hard | Very Hard
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3 of 4 people (75%) 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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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 10
I was not much into this game, though I enjoyed it well enough to complete it. Cute little game, but not really worth the few hours I spent on it.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 4
A very fascinating game that puts that shows you how games can be made to create a deep story narrative. It's an example of video games being an art form to teach a narrative. It focuses on the story of a school girl who is going through her own issues, but going any deeper will be spoiling it.

You go around solving the interesting mystery of your missing journal pages and though it seems you don't have too much of a issue, for some reason I felt a real disconnect with the character. I'm not sure if it's just I can't connect well with the narrative or characters, but later on I started to feel a real connection and got to understand her and what she was going through.

Again I won't spoil it, but it's a experience you can only have by playing it yourself.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 24
If you're looking for a chill experience while being bundled up in your bed, this game might just do the trick. It takes aproximately 2 hours, and it's a quite interesting experience. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, but I would recommend it to ME so I guess that's what this is all about in the end, right?

The graphics are enjoyable, I loved how everything remembered me somehow of the little town I grew up in. You start by being a quite forgetful young lady, in highschool, not knowing what she said a few days back and most of the times being an annoying little brat. I didn't like the main character specifically, but it turns out she was actually having a lot of STUFF going on. While you talk to your friends and family, things seem to unravel and you get some clues that there may be more to this story. You hear that something's wrong, but WHAT is it?

There is actually a story-within-a-story too, as between chapters you get small bits of the life in a carnival, that will tie all the loose ends in the final chapter.

The music is pretty enjoyable, and the whole game has an "old" feeling to it, like something happened in those days you weren't born, but you see on postcards in your parent's keepsake drawer.

The only thing I would've wanted is more voice-overs, as only the girl's monologue is actually spoken, the rest is written.

This game does go into that niche, weird, hipster game zone, maybe more than other indie games. But I really enjoyed it, and I hope you will too. P.S. I wouldn't pay 10 euros for it, but 5 and less are an ok price.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 17
Worth playing through, it can give a deeper meaning of the game's intention.

When it comes to game controllers, it is straight forward with arrow keys and
space bar to talk to anyone. Simple game that puts all the focus on tellig the story.

It is worth enduring the dull controllers till the end.
Great ending.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 16
Interesting concept and story. If you like visual novels and story-driven (as in, you're not keen on the puzzles) adventure games, this is for you. The biggest down side it is a lack of polish.

Pros: Good writing. The storybook, child-like art is really nice. Original concept, not something seen in games much.

Cons: The pointless 3d UI, it's glitchy and adds nothing. The interaction is clunky. Not as polished as it could be.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
5.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 25
I recommend the game.
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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 19
A simple little story that you could call it as "interactive fiction". Following the story of a young girl and her quest to fill the pages of her journal, it is well written and has a very charming appeal in the design and flow of the game. The only objection I'd have would be that its a bit too short, yet it's very nice and I'd recommend that you'd give it a go just as a reprieve from the monster slaying and portal jumping .
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