Jacqueline, Jungle Queen! is a comedy parser-IF game with light puzzles. I played it to completion.
This is a game that starts out with some tropes about jungle idols and credulous jungle inhabitants that feel like they’re headed somewhere problematic. Happily, I guess, these mostly then fade into the background: the main story of this game doesn’t involve any other humans, other than via logbooks and diary reports, and we don’t encounter any caricatured indigenous peoples.
Instead, Jacqueline is riffing freely on pirate stories, on Indiana Jones, and on the fact that monkeys are funny. The result is a medium-sized, accessible puzzle game. Some other reviewers have reported bugs or parsing problems; it’s possible that the author had updated the game before I played, or that I simply got lucky, but the only bug I encountered was a weird error message when I tried to read a certain French book more than once. Otherwise, the game played pretty smoothly for me, and offered what is probably the best experience I’ve yet had with Quest. The automatic mapping and highlighted compass features were handy, and so was the inventory window.
The design shows solid puzzle-craft. The protagonist encounters several magic idols that endow her with various abilities, and this provides a thematic consistency to the solutions. Each time she gains new skills, the puzzle sequence requires you to use those abilities right away in some easy fashion, and then later to use them on something a bit less obvious. These puzzles never become terribly hard, but they remain lively and varied. There are areas of the map that you need to solve one puzzle to enter and another puzzle to leave — a classic but still useful maneuver. In one especially nice twist, a particular object is both a blocker for one puzzle and the solution to another.
As for the story, it’s pretty goofy, but I enjoyed the narrative voice. This was one of the more straight-up fun games in the competition for me, and that’s saying something given that I played it right at the end, in a bit of a state of comp-exhaustion.
I assume the deal with the French monkeys is that they used the idol and got the capacities for speech and for building things. Tiny Monkey Paris is adorable.
Other reviews: Jason Dyer.