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J'dal

by Ryan Kinsman

Fantasy
2012

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Number of Ratings: 16
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A DnD-influenced short game about fantasy racism, August 1, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game is a bit shaky but has a great storyline about fantasy racism. The main character is dark-skinned, female, and can see in the dark, and everyone hates them.

This game was startling in its originality. It was also fairly buggy, with big typos that were missed.

It contains some combat and puzzles, with the interactivity at times just too underimplemented.

Contains some strong profanity.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Ambitious mini dungeoncrawl., July 18, 2016
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: IFComp 2012, Inform, fantasy
(I originally published this review on 14 October 2012 as part of my blog of IFComp 2012. This was the 18th of 26 games I reviewed.)

J'dal, heroine of this adventure, is a dark skinned girl in a whitey D&D world. She brings moxy, wide-ranging resourcefulness and mad vision skilz to the four person team consisting of herself, her adoptive dad, Roderick the thug and Stolas the mage. You control J'dal, who narrates in the first person, as she and her mates venture into a mine looking for a magical artifact.

The content of this game is pretty ambitious, more ambitious than its author had realised, I suspect. It requires solid implementation of four characters who can work as a team or independently. The characters are supposed to be conversant on various topics and capable of responding to J'dal's suggestions/orders. They need to have their own skill sets and inventories but be able to share equipment when necessary. To get all of these features running smoothly across a whole adventure would be no minor feat, and Ryan Kinsman has done well to mobilise them in the first place, but they're mobilised only at a basic level and in a correspondingly small adventure. There are significant programming gaps throughout J'dal, and I found it to be a tough game in spite of its smallness, mostly due to the narrow range of ideas and commands which are catered for. The game that is could use a lot more work, but it's still likeable.

The characters are of above average feistiness, and they swear a lot and their team dynamic is clear, so that the strongest impression the game left on me was of their overall liveliness and interpersonal kvetchings. But there are a lot of game features that don't work as advertised: keywords that don't respond, limited conversation topics, not much puzzle clueing, inventory and scenery bugs. The dialogue typesetting is crowded and when characters follow you from room to room, the following usually goes unannounced. As a result, I mostly stuck to the walkthrough after a certain point, and the linearity of the game meant that this was easy to do.

There's a good practical feel to the adventures the characters have in J'dal, and the game's got ambition and spirit. This all bodes well for the next game from this author, but J'dal remains kind of rough.

- Sobol (Russia), October 11, 2015

- cabalia (Ohio), March 5, 2015

- Hannes, November 16, 2013

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- Edward Lacey (Oxford, England), March 20, 2013

- iranon727, December 4, 2012

- The Xenographer, November 29, 2012

- Nusco (Bologna, Italy), November 20, 2012

- liz73 (Cornwall, New York), November 16, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), November 16, 2012

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), November 16, 2012

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 16, 2012

- Squinky (Canada), November 16, 2012

- ifwizz (Berlin, Germany), October 9, 2012


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