This is a review for the IGMC 2018 Secret Santa event.
Full disclosure, I've never been a fan of point-and-click, interactive adventure games, so I'm probably not the target audience for this game. In any case, I played through the entire game once and achieved the true ending.
While it wasn't a critical issue, there were a fair number of glaring mapping/passability issues. To be fair, a lot of these might not have even been noticed in a normal RPG. However, given that the core of this game is to click on random stuff and talk to people, these bugs become magnified and detract from the overall polish and experience a lot more than they would've otherwise.
The use of dynamic lighting was advertised as a main feature of the game, but its implementation was not user-friendly. When the lighting changes at the 30-minute mark, the city map becomes nearly impossible to see. I had to adjust the brightness setting on my monitor to be able to see where to go.
The game's story was understandably limited in scope due to the restrictions of the jam, but the issue with Judged for Crime's narrative unfortunately extends beyond just its length. There are three main issues that could use some improvement:
1) Grammar and (writing) Style. In the same way that the mapping bugs are emphasized by the point-and-click aspect of the game, having poor grammar and writing in a text-centric game also severely hinders the experience.
2) Characterization (or lack thereof). The characters in the game are extremely flat. Between the grammar issues and the inconsistent character speech patterns, it was difficult to identify with and therefore invest in any of the characters. The worst offender(s) were probably the main character's parents; while reading their dialog during the visit in the dungeon, there was a moment when I seriously thought that this whole ordeal was some sort of exaggerated act that the parents were putting up to teach the MC some sort of lesson.
3) Logic. Every work of fiction asks its audience for the suspension of disbelief, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, Judged for Crime asks for more than that, it asks that logic and common sense be thrown out the window as well. This might okay if the game was highly abstract or fantastical and could be sustained on its own rules and systems. However, this game is neither a high-fantasy adventure nor a supernatrual horror, it is a mystery that asks the audience for logical thinking and deduction. Between the premise, the setting, and character dialog, there were just too many instances where behaviors of characters are unbelievable.
All in all, while the game had a beginning and an end, and there weren't any game-breaking bugs that I encountered in my playthrough, the experience felt lackluster and unpolished. There was definitely a lot of missed opportunities, especially considering that the game was published a full 6 days before the end of the competition (20% of the whole contest duration).