The Djinni Chronicles

by J. D. Berry

Fantasy
2000

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Number of Reviews: 10
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Unique game - mediocre story, September 22, 2010
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

The Djinni chronicles is a story, or rather a series of linked stories, about humans summoning djinni in order to gain their heart's desires -- beauty, happiness for a loved one, victory over one's enemies, that kind of thing. The player is not put in charge of the humans, but in charge of the djinni.

This premise carries with it all the risk of being used simply to string a couple of not too logical puzzles together without having to worry about narrative continuity, but let there be rejoicing, for J. D. Berry has given us a far more interesting design. First, there is narrative continuity: the different fragments are sometimes strongly connected (when you play with the same character), and sometimes a bit more loosely, but they're all evidently part of the same narrative. Second, being a djinn comes with an interesting set of limitations and powers, the most important of which is the fact that you are confined to a rather small action radius, the size of which is based on the strength of your bond with the human you serve. And third, far from being will-less slaves to their summoners, the djinni actually have agendas of their own, which they must attempt to realise within the limitations set by their respective masters.

All this adds up to an odd and fascinating little game that is definitely worth playing.

One can always complain: once you have solved the puzzle of finding out what on earth is going on, the other puzzles aren't very good; the one long passage of poetry contained in the game is quite bad; and in the end, the larger narrative fell short of my expectations, or indeed any real memorability. That's a shame, because with a better narrative, this game could have been a small jewel. As it is, it's still a very fine imitation.