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Unfinished? I wonder..., May 3, 2015
At two points in this game, out-of-world text assures the player that a full version will be released, because what we have here is only one episode pulled from a larger story without context. The game was originally released as an IntroComp entry, so all right. But no full version ever appeared afterward.
I assume that the author was in earnest about wanting to release a full version, and yet I can't be sure, because this game succeeds right now in its unfinished state. It drips with atmospheric jungle menace, briefly sketches characters who are already involved in an ongoing espionage plot, allows something nasty to scuttle into the picture, and ends on a cliffhanger.
Despite this cliffhanger, the player has a mission and is able to complete that mission. There aren't any unsolved puzzles left dangling. Which means that as a bite-sized puzzle game, it works.
What does remain unresolved is everything else. Potentials extend in every direction, inviting questions about the setting, the characters, the social climate, the native fauna, etc. Since these points remain unresolved, they feel alive, on-edge, as though anything could happen, and then the text runs out.
Comics are mentioned a few times throughout the game. The player-character muses that the environment resembles a certain comic book, comics are mounted on various walls alongside paintings, and, at one point, three comics are spread out across a desk to examine. They're the serialized pulp variety. And that's just what this game feels like to me: an installment in a pulpy magazine.
I'm reminded of Edward Gorey's The Bleeding Trunk, which takes the same fragmented format and begins with the recap: "As the last chapter ended, Violet was being chased through the sewers by an alligator dispatched by Kafatasi..." In Gorey's book, there never was a "last chapter," there never will be a "next chapter," and we never learn anything about Violet or Kafatasi or why an alligator should have been dispatched. Considering the adventure setting in Hey, Jingo!, a more apt comparison might be something like the episode "Escape from the House of Mummies Part II" from The Venture Bros. There never was an "Escape from the House of Mummies Part I."
Fragments like these have a strange value all their own, and whether Hey, Jingo! is fragmented on purpose or by mistake, it still has such a value. It will not satisfy anyone looking for a game with a complete beginning/middle/end, but if you're in the mood for an episode, then this is a very good one.