Circus Electrique PC Review

Circus Electrique is a niche within a niche, Final Fantasy combined with a management sim, it remains an incredibly unique title.

By JoshuaBurt, Posted 26 Sep 2022

Circus Electrique is a turn-based RPG mixed with a management sim with the sprinkle of a unique aesthetic surrounding it. Zen studios have sought to build a living, breathing world full of interesting characters and interesting world events. The game has many features to discuss as the game clearly has tried to mix and match a number of differing genres in the hope that they create a fun and interesting title. Starting with the gameplay for the title.

Circus Electrique's gameplay can be split into two parts, the management aspect, and the combat. To start with, we will focus on the 'meatiest' part of gameplay... The combat. Combat is seen as a 2d playing field where your selection of characters faces off against a variety of enemy types. The player has a base selection of around 4 classes. Clowns are your tank/healers (Your basic Cleric for anyone involved in D&D) Strongmen are your damage dealers. But as you progress further through the game, you get access to more classes that get a little wackier with illusionists and snake charmers.

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For those well versed in this type of combat from an RPG, Circus Electrique will be incredibly familiar to you, with the array of abilities in each class to the enemies and more. The gameplay can become stale rather quickly; obviously, turn-based naturally causes a slower and more methodical pace, but the game feels stagnant on occasions.

However, this stagnant feeling can make way for a fun and chaotic experience as enemies drag and move your characters out of their prime position, causing your entire battle plan to go up in smoke leading you to have to adapt to the situation at hand. I will say that the abilities of every character and class did in fact, feel incredibly unique and interesting and allowed for some fun and chaotic moments in the midst of combat. The fire spitter in particular was the most fun and in my opinion, had some of the best and most unique attacks in the game.

Moreover, as the game progresses and new classes are unlocked, the gameplay does open up and provides for more opportunities for experimentation in your style and choice of class. The illusionist in particular, shifted my style due to not only how useful their abilities are but also how incredibly cool they looked. Players will also engage on the embark menu, which I was quite disappointed with. The fact that the entire map is in essence, either combat or loot, combat or loot over and over again essentially provided an insane lack of variety and flavor.

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Now we can move on to the second aspect of gameplay. The management sim. This is significantly worse than the combat of the title. While I enjoy the diegetic hub menu that allows you to traverse through the circus and see actual tangible objects, that really enhances the experience. However, despite this, the management section of the title instead only serves to be incredibly tedious.

The management aspect of the title can be split into numerous sections. While players will be able to level up their various characters, recruit more, and then embark on adventures, what the major focus of this section of the game is the circus events.

In order to earn resources, players have to create and construct their own circus events, and these come in a variety of different styles and setups, but ultimately, the way it works is rather simple. Selects three of your characters and assign them to the correct 'node' as it were.

Circus Electrique, PC, Review, RPG, Turn-Based, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

The nodes that characters are suited best for are noted with arrows on their cards, which ultimately makes this entire system a little too simple and more micro-management esque than it needs to be. Players then adjust certain aspects of the event to gain certain bonuses. Ultimately, however, this aspect of the game feels very repetitive; with you having these events set up before almost every mission, eventually, you will become bored by this aspect of gameplay, and its monotony drags the whole experience down.

The best part of Circus Electrique, in my opinion, is twofold. The art and the music. Both of these things are incredible, and Circus Electrique takes good advantage of that. The music is whimsical and interesting and sounds exactly as one would imagine an alternate 1890s to sound like. Furthermore, the sound is also exceptional when it comes to effects. Whether it's a barbell smacking off an enemy or a ball being thrown, or fire being spat. Every sound in the game is exceptional and truly makes the game more fun and more engaging.

The art style is brilliant, and the almost over-the-top character design really adds to the world of this title, and the strange filters and colors really serve the player in showing that this isn't a direct comparison with our own world. Moreover, the visuals are also enhanced by the little details in the backgrounds. Marks on characters that really make the game world feel like it is living and breathing; the visuals are the best aspect of the title.

In addition to this, the game is equipped with a serviceable story; the dialogue is good with a few caveats. The title also contains a great many 'cutscenes' with a slightly shadowy background and characters talking amongst themselves, and while in many cases I found these cutscenes happened maybe a bit too much, they still were very fun and engaging and combined with the astonishing character portraits made the game more entertaining.

Circus Electrique, PC, Review, RPG, Turn-Based, Gameplay, Screenshots, NoobFeed

In addition to this Circus Electrique has a lot of depth. The world building in this alternate 1890s has a great amount of lore around it that really creates a feeling of a fully realized and 3-dimensional world. This enhances almost every aspect of the game and almost encourages you to wish to keep playing, despite certain drawbacks.

Overall, Circus Electrique is a decent RPG. While the combat won't blow you away, and the management simulation is rather poor. The stellar music and superb visuals will make you want to stay and live in that world for just a little longer. This, combined with the game's serviceable story and fantastic worldbuilding and you have a game that will soak up hours of time if you wish it to.

Joshua Burt (@JoshuaBurt123),
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher(s): Saber Interactive
Developer(s): Zen Studios
Genres: Turn-Based Strategy
Themes: Role-Playing, Adventure
Release Date: 2022-09-06

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