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Sweet. Sticky. Surprisingly refreshing, March 16, 2023
Sweet. Sticky. Surprisingly refreshing.
This game is different from the ones I usually peruse. A Twine work with parser elements (typed commands transformed into clickable links), JELLY is a lively adventure-quest through the sweets-filled lands of Lonely Valley. The puzzles never felt too hard or finicky, which was a breath of fresh air from my usual experience (read: struggles) with puzzle games. The style of prose, again, diverts from the archaic, word-leaden types describing nature or manmade settings that I often enjoy, but was exactly what drew me into the text with this particular game. There were a lot of places you had to repeatedly visit throughout the game to get to the final objective — and because the writing was so good, it wasn't boring at all, having to do that. I happily reread most of the writing as I played and returned to each location, submerging myself over and over again in the sugary, gelatinous, and sometimes gory experiences of the young jelly.
A minor improvement perhaps might be the addition of a light mode version of the game. Though that's mostly just personal taste, given that I generally don't like dark themes very much. It also would've been nice to see more illustrations, mostly because the writing was so rich and evocative that I badly wanted some visual representations of what we were seeing. Furthermore, I wish that some of the storylines (there were several; adjacent, parallel, overlapping) were explored more; for example, (Spoiler - click to show)that of the brigadier general, the Captain - jealous brother and suitor, apparently, and the unnamed love interest they both fought over, or the one about the two *other* brothers, the merry droll-teller and the ginger-root man — why did they keep crystallizing?, for example, as well as some of the story concepts (Spoiler - click to show)— the monoliths, the channels/network, the tree, the constellations —; they seem to be a big part of the exciting lore of the place, and it would've been really nice to get a clearer picture of the history and entire canon of folklore we were exposed to of Lonely Valley. Oh well. For future games, maybe? ;)
But I can't complain. I loved this one a lot. Oh, how nice it was to be a red jelly, wandering through the wastes of an arcanic world!
Here, a song I had on in the background as I worked my way through JELLY: L'anima balla, by Olly, and which I found surprisingly, rather fitting both musically and lyrically for this interactive fiction!