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Doppeljobs

by Lei

Weird
2020

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(1)
4 star:
(9)
3 star:
(8)
2 star:
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Number of Ratings: 19
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1-19 of 19


- lavieenmeow, December 16, 2020

- ShaniT8 (UK), December 13, 2020

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A perfect impersonation of a very good game, December 6, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020
The “fantasy monster gets a job” genre is a fun one – the first example that comes to mind is Dungeon Detective and its sequel (you’re a gnoll and you fight crime!) but I know there are many others – because there’s a lot of comedy baked into the premise of an otherworldly being, sometimes with magical powers, grinding up against the quotidian reality of working for a paycheck. Dopplejobs very much delivers on this, but also offers a setting with some intriguing mysteries, while striking a nice balance with its choices – there are a lot of them, and they feel (and are) very impactful to the success or failure of your various contracts, but the game isn’t overly punitive so most sets of choices will still get you to a satisfying ending.

Let’s get the downsides out of the way early: there are some typos and the writing is a little bit awkward in places, though it’s not 100% clear to me that these are unintentional – there are many places where articles are dropped, for example, as well as some ungainly use of prepositions and syntax, which could reflect an author whose primary language isn’t English, but could also be an attempt to reflect the overenthusiastic, off-kilter (at least by human standards) character of the eponymous doppelganger. There are also some bugs in the code related to your finances – the framing challenge of the game is earning enough “quartz” to pay back your business’s startup loan, and you get varying amounts of it depending on how well you perform in each of your jobs, as well as having the opportunity to plow some of the proceeds into more advertising, a swankier office, or just going on a spree. However, the math often didn’t add up: I’d have 350 quartz, earn 300 more, and be left with 550, or spend 50 when I have 1050 accumulated, after which I still had 1050.

These niggles don’t undermine the experience all that much, though. As mentioned, the infelicities in the prose ultimately have a kind of addle-pated charm that seems very much in keeping with who the doppelganger is. And despite the loan-centric framing, it didn’t seem like the amount of money you have at the end really has that much impact on where the story ends.

So there’s not much holding back the considerable upsides, which are that this is a fun world to inhabit with lots and lots of reactivity. Each of the jobs you take on – your business is to impersonate humans who want to duck out of some embarrassing or annoying experience you’ll go through in their stead – is quite varied, and offers ample opportunities to stick to the remit, try to cause chaos, or poke into the secrets of the city where you work (this isn’t the real world, and its snake-centric superstitions and bizarre infrastructure make it a pleasure to explore). Your choices not only impact client satisfaction – and therefore how much you get paid – but also help define your character. Since doppelgangers take on some of the traits of those they impersonate, if you behave in an especially curious, or introverted, or patient manner, you’ll inherit some of that in the remaining go-rounds.

The jokes are often quite funny – if you underinvest in advertising, a client might say that the reason they sought you out is that they “appreciated the fact that the slogan was small and the office hard to find. It proves you’re discreet.” Or, when contemplating doing something about that: “when it comes to advertisement, you feel like you are a pretty good singer. You could compose a catchy song advertising your business. Something like: ‘Doppel doppel it’s all proper fa la la la la!’” Again: slightly demented, but very fun.

DJ is well-paced, too – each job has some meat to it, but is fairly zippy, and the post-job opportunity to spend some money offers a nice punctuation of each phase. This, combined with the 20ish minute playtime made me eager to jump back in and replay after I’d finished first time – and sure enough, while you appear to always get the same jobs in the same order, there are a lot of variations possible depending on what you decide to do, and the game is fairly forgiving such that even choices that seem suboptimal don’t take that much of a toll.

This is especially nice because I think on my first play-through, I was overly cautious – I was very fixated in paying back my loan, and the way the job payoffs work you always feel like you’re on the knife-edge to be able to do that by the end. So I passed up a lot of choices that seemed riskier, including opting out of the final bonus job since I was just over the 1000 quartz threshold and didn’t want to mess things up. I had much more fun on subsequent go-throughs, when I didn’t feel so much tension: DJ is at its best when it’s letting you try new things, look under rocks for what might be there, and role-play a well-meaning monster whose instincts for human behavior are not all there.

- E.K., December 5, 2020

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), December 4, 2020

- necromancer, December 4, 2020

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Unique and soundly developed world, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ifcomp 2020
The story in this choice IF is mostly linear, with only minor details determining which of the endings you eventually receive. As such, it’s not terribly exciting in terms of interactivity. On the other hand, it is really well written; the main character and the world described are both quite unique and soundly developed. The abilities and operations of the protagonist are particularly interesting and could actually be an excellent starting point for developing great and fun puzzles. I would certainly love to play a five hour parser game based on Doppeljobs.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Focused, consistent, and entertaining, November 30, 2020
Dopplejobs was a delight. It’s told from the perspective of a doppelganger who endures situations that clients would rather avoid. Humans and doppelgangers don’t have much experience with each other, so it’s a journey of discovery for everyone involved.

The fantasy world of Doppeljobs is inhabited by stone goats and serviced by sandpipes, which encouraged me to match the story's tone of excited curiosity. Choices are smoothly integrated with the narrative: you're thrown into unfamiliar circumstances and asked to decide what your client would do.

Are there things you don't know? Has important information been left out? The City of Sand is part of a magical foreign world, so you're never sure what will happen.

Things are complicated by the fact that some of your choices might mean that your clients make lasting impressions on you. (The narrator chirps, "Surely, this will affect neither your business nor your life in any way whatsoever!")

The tone of this story fits the perspective of a naïve magical creature trying to survive as an entrepreneur in the City of Sand — it's exactly the kind of blank-slate optimism that you would expect from an entity that knows nothing about humanity.

- Spike, November 30, 2020

- Wanderlust, November 28, 2020

- Marc-André Goyette, November 15, 2020

- Zape, November 2, 2020

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Infectious!, October 29, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
While the concept of being a doppelganger for hire is brilliant, what really excited me to play and keep playing this game was the sheer enthusiasm of our protagonist. It's hard not to be infected by their joy for their work and their optimism that their career will take off. Because of this, I made the effort to find every line I text I could even if I sensed it wouldn't change the plot or lead to a different ending.

In fact, I was ready to give this five stars until I couldn't reach one of the four endings as the game kept crashing for me while at the recital heading for ending four. The walkthrough was not helpful in avoiding this bug.

If there is a sequel I will be first in line to play as I'm still rooting hard for our rising doppelganger star!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Strange, well-written story with multiple endings, October 29, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: Less than 1 hour
This piece is choice-based and fairly short. You play as a doppelganger, a being from the Reverse Kingdom (I'm interested) living in the human world who has the ability to take on the physical appearance of anyone. You use your skill to complete mundane or uncomfortable tasks for your clients for a fee. But each transformation doesn't quite fade in the way that you advertise, something lingers. And ancient mysteries lurk below your city.

The game is pretty straight-forward, allowing simple choices after a few short paragraphs of text. Some choices simply allow you to gather more details about the world or your task at hand, and others allow you to steer the story. Your stated goal over the course of the game is to earn enough money to pay back a debt you owe to the bank. Your decisions affect how happy your clients are after you complete each task and thus how much you are paid. After one playthrough the game will tell you which of four possible endings you achieved. On my trip through the story, nothing particularly crazy happened, but I was focused on the goal of pleasing my clients in order to pay back my debt. I feel that more interesting outcomes are hiding behind some of the paths not taken. So even though the route I took was not particularly interesting, I think I will eventually come back to this game for another play or two to see if I can uncover those mysteries. Additionally, I felt the game was well-written and just off-normal enough to really help you embody the outsider nature of the main character. Worth your time.

- Sobol (Russia), October 25, 2020

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A hardboiled story set in a fantasy sand world, October 20, 2020
by Enrique Henestroza Anguiano (Oakland, California)
Doppeljobs follows a newly trained doppelgänger who’s trying to make ends meet while avoiding (or seeking) a mysterious sand deity.

I loved the strong, catchy writing and subtle world building within the pulpy genre, as well as the neat framing device where some choices are surrounded by arcane symbols that map to an alternate serpent-related goal—which might turn out badly! There’s great flow to the game, with nice interactivity in each job episode, likely thanks in part to it being written in Inkle.

One thing I would have liked to see is more variety on replay, since the game teases four endings (I found two) yet many things appear to remain constant on subsequent play throughs, like the same sequence of clients and many choices appearing to play out in similar ways.

- jvg, October 20, 2020

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An Ink game where you are a doppelganger with business needs, October 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
This is a weird game but I'm into it. You play as a doppelganger in a bizarre magical world powered by technology and fantasy. I suspect there are deeper secrets to the game, but I enjoyed my ending (1/4, Humanologist).

Gameplay consists of getting several cases in a row. In each case, you can choose what to talk to your client about, then you become them, then you have several choices on how to carry out your tasks. You get paid different amounts of money depending on your performance. You can then invest that in various things.

I liked this quite a bit, although it's different from most games I like. Every year, I come up with theories on what does well in the comp and what doesn't, and this year my theory is that choice games that give you a lot of freedom of action (like a world model you can move in or completely different paths of characterization with tradeoffs like choice of games) do better than those without. On the other hand, longer games tend to do better, and while this is long, it's not huge like some of the games in the comp. So I predict this will do well, probably in the teens. But my predictions are always really wrong each year, so who knows?

+Polish: The game worked smoothly.
+Descriptiveness: I liked the worldbuilding.
+Interactivity: I felt like I could choose my characterization.
+Emotional impact: I really immersed myself in the character.
+Would I play again? I plan on it!

- Virix, October 3, 2020


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