Djinn on the Rocks

by Joshua Wilson profile

Fantasy
2021

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Number of Reviews: 4
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Never crashes ashore, May 31, 2021
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

Djinn on the Rocks (DotR) would be worth playing for the mechanic alone, and since it gets that and more right, it's well worth a play. I'm not surprised it was rated almost the same as Captain Cutter's Treasure (CCT) in the comp, as there's a lot to enjoy from both games. I find it that much more special that the two top games (by a good margin) were so different in tone and goals.

DotR simply lets you swap the locations of similar things. But they must be very similar. So you can, for instance, swap your location with the location of your annoying owner James, who won't leave you alone until you've made them rich. Things are divided by size, material (vegetable/animal/mineral) and composition, which is trickier to explain. But they must be an exact match. There's no penalty for SWAPping the wrong things, and in fact the game explains why, so trial and error goes smoothly.

These mechanics are good, but perhaps what really offers creativity is how the game notes your karma can go from -100 to +100. So you quickly see you have the choice to be mean or nice. And you have the choice to change your owner James for the better or worse. This means that during some play-throughs, some NPCs and objects may be useless. But they are still entertaining to deal with. The puppy in particular--animal cruelty is no laughing matter, but you can be heartless indeed to it, in an overdramatic "nobody could be that mean" sort of way.

So DotR has a lot of good, original laughs and a solid basic idea. It's quite worth a play. It balances CCT, the game that just edged it out, nicely: DotR has cool ideas and lets you be creative, and CCT has more of a story to unravel. It's very neat that two games that had to follow the jam's rules (start in a broom closet with a specific description) could branch so drastically and both work so well. It's the sort of thing that encourages me to be more creative.