River of Jig

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let-off-studios's picture

Review

River of Jig follows River of Jag, with what seems to be a much stronger sense of character and place. Interestingly enough, by being more specific the game makes me think more broadly about the world at large, and the point of view afforded space in this game.

Metaphor emerged for me in this game without warning, and that pleasant surprise was completely unexpected. Lots of parallels to someone being asked "How's it goin'?" can be seen here. I was happy to see the same contrasting-colour mechanic used in a more game-like way.

The player guides a birdlike creature around a fantastic, dichromatic landscape. I still can't figure out what it started as, but I assume it's a scanned photograph of some sort, like an extreme closeup of someone's eye perhaps. While the game was playing, I stepped away from the screen a few times to see if I could make more sense of it at a distance. No such luck. I couldn't increase the size of the viewing window so I couldn't see more at once. But whatever it is, I found it a creative idea to help the player develop more of the world of the game. At some points, it almost seemed like those landscapes found in classic ASCII-character games, and I immediately thought of some of the old-skool games like Alphaman.

everythingstaken always has super-cute, miniature characters with lots of expression in them even for being so small. Jig is no exception, with the player-as-seabird and darting "jesters" that sail across the screen.

I didn't know what I was doing until I accidentally bumped into a jester, and it disappeared. Then I thought to myself, "oh, I need to catch them all!" I started flying purposefully around the landscape, watching the bird and maybe its reflection float across the screen and flipping to the other side if I moved off the edge. Without sound cues I couldn't tell if I was tagging more of the jesters of the opposite colour. Coincidentally, I'm currently staying at a beach house and the sounds of seagulls calling outside was a fitting real-world soundscape for these moments.

Later, I changed my strategy. The jesters became harder to find after I tagged several. Instead of flying around, I instead stopped at a portion of the world that had a smattering of both blue and white, hoping to catch some flit of motion from a remaining jester. I felt like a bird of prey, conserving energy to simply find food enough to live another day.

Because jesters would disappear without any kind of sound signal, no matter what colour background I happened to be inhabiting, it was impossible for me to track when I actually tagged one. It was impossible for me to keep count, and to determine if I ever made it close to the twenty alluded to in the floating in-game text.

Did I catch them all? I don't know. Who ever knows? I think I understand now.

Thanks for making these two games for the Slice of Life event, everythingstaken! :D

PS: posted on my 40th birthday.

pensive-mosquitoes