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Video Game / Broken Puppet

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Broken Puppet was created as the final project of a student team of seven for their Master's Degree in Videogames Development at Pompeu Fabra University. It is a Dark Fantasy Puzzle Platformer which unique gameplay mechanic is the use of thread to manipulate the environment and kill the occasional opponent. It was completed for PC in 2015 and made available for free download here.

Katherine, the protagonist, is the star of the puppet theater, drawing in crowds of adoring fans. But time catches up with her and when she's worn, she's cast into the basement and replaced by a new singer. But unlike the other puppets who get dumped, Katherine's ego is strong. She breaks the strings that once controlled her and refashions them into a makeshift weapon. Her goal is simple: regain her place in the spotlights.


Broken Puppet provides examples of:

  • Clock Tower: The final puzzle before the boss room is a large clock; not so much a tower, but Katherine still has to reach an opening into it that is located higher than she can jump.
  • Creepy Doll: The game thrives on this trope. There's not one design that's not creepy. And that's to say nothing of all the dismembered doll parts lying around.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Katherine destroys the other puppets by ripping them apart at the joints with her threads. The substitute gets the Literally Shattered Lives variant, being broken up in far more pieces than any other.
  • The Diva: Katherine and her substitute are both this and with only one stage that means one of them has to go. Preferably dead or completely broken.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The premise of the game, with Katherine being the dog. She used to be the star of the theater, but was unceremoniously dumped and replaced when age got to her. Expectedly, she doesn't take kindly to it. Unexpectedly, she has the means to get back up and bite.
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  • Enfant Terrible: The humongous monstrosity that serves as the game's one boss is, in fact, a puppet baby. He has a baby-like face, a pacifier hanging from his neck, a diaper-like construction below his waist, and a stuffed bunny head on his shoulder (though fairly speaking he also has a gramophone on his back). It would also explain why the substitute is horrified when he gets injured...
  • Everything Fades: Defeated enemies disappear instantly. That is, when a body part is ripped off, it happens in slow motion for about two seconds for a good view on the damage. When that's over, the remains vanish quickly.
  • Evil Redhead: Goes hand-in-hand with Fiery Redhead for both Katherine and her substitute. Both are out for themselves and will gleefully harm if that proves necessary.
  • Handicapped Badass: Aside from Katherine's general detoriated state, she has an obvious leg brace on the left side. And still she tears through any other puppet that seeks to stop her.
  • Human Resources: It is the one thing in the entire game that gives Katherine pause, if only for a moment. Just before leaving the abyss, a part below the theater even more abandoned than the basement, she enters the furnace, where the remains of her discarded wooden coworkers are used to fuel the theater. This shocks her, but ultimately she lets it be to return to the stage the theater affords her.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Not killed yet, but the substitute ends up taunting and insulting Katherine. To shut her up, Katherine gets one needle on her and one on the ceiling, ripping her from the stage. This previously killed other puppets, but the substitute is a little sturdier. However, it does mean she spends the boss fight "hanging around", able to do little more than shout threats to Katherine and instructions to her minion.
  • Knows the Ropes: Katherine's sole weapon is thread and needles. The thread is made from her old strings and the needles she collected in the basement. For the most part, she wields it as a tool to manipulate the environment. This is accomplished by throwing one needle to an object to be manipulated and another to an anchor point (or vice versa, or both; the game only does not allow two anchor points to be selected for one set of needles). The two needles are connected by the thread, which Katherine can make pull tight. The more threads (up to four) and the longer the threads, the more power behind the pull. When it comes to combat, Katherine uses the same strategy to pull body parts off or out of her opponents.
  • Interactive Narrator: Played with. The narrator seems like the normal kind until Katherine and the substitute face off, when the substitute tells him to shut up. This leaves implications for his influence on Katherine's journey...
  • Madness Makeover: Katherine's dishelved looks are a result of time and rough handling when she was banished. She doesn't bother fixing herself up when she decides to fight back, thinking no less of herself in terms of stage-readiness. Not even when she gets her wish does she bother with a fix. Her Slasher Smile is her own addition.
  • No Name Given: Everyone but Katherine goes without name, though the two common enemies do get descriptions ("soldier" and "seamstress"). Katherine's substitute is the most notable to go nameless.
  • Pet the Dog: The humongous monstrosity the substitute sics on Katherine may seem like a mere means to an end, but once you start ripping off its arms, the substitute begs Katherine not to hurt him.
  • Sanity Slippage: At first, Katherine is "just" vengeful and only wants to get rid of the substitute. Then she reaches her dressing room and finds nothing that indicates it ever was hers remains: it's now the substitute's. Then she comes across the soldiers, guardians of the theater and therefore now Katherine's enemies. She destroys them. Then she comes across the seamstresses, the ever diligent workers. She destroys them too and indicates by noting that "[she] could get used to this" that she's taken a bloodthirsty liking to her newfound power.
  • Shear Menace: The seamstresses are armed with scissors and also use them to cut the threads Katherine intends to undo them with if she is not fast enough.
  • Shows Damage: Only truly goes for the boss as he's the only non-insta kill. Dynamite damage doesn't show, but ripping his arms off does. As does ripping his heart out for the short time it takes.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: The puppets are too dense to float, so they walk even if there is water.