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Publisher: MacPlay    Genre: Simulation
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 233 MHz    RAM: 64 MB    Hard Disk: 50 MB    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Jinni Zeala
September 6, 2002 | Chris Barylick

The joy of the game isn’t in the graphics or sound, it’s in the simplicity. Sit down, start the game and work to keep the ball alive at any cost. Complete little segments like knocking certain targets down or hitting the right ramp several times in a row to collect items and work towards larger bonuses, the game almost playing itself with the only intricacy coming from working to aim the shots if there’s a specific goal in mind. The physics engine also matches the feel of arcade pinball, with the appropriate delay between when a key is pressed and when a flipper swings, Jinni Zeala even seeming to measure the keystroke for minor flipper swings that help to keep a falling ball alive (such as when you end up ‘juggling” the bal between two flippers to get it solidly to one side and keep the ball in play). Little things like this bridge the difference between the arcade analog and your Mac’s digital experience, making it that much more fun.

Economy-Priced Oasis
Unfortunately, there are a few wrinkles left to iron out. Mac users will find themselves tripping over are the menus, which seem linked to the escape key for navigation. A point and click interface wouldn’t have been that much more work and could be that much more accessible. Customization also seems weak as players can only choose from a few video options such as whether or not to use full animations, the choice to change screen resolutions not being found within the program. Sound options are limited to whether the sound is on or off, the lack of customization hurting the game. Even if the game is a true rarity among the Macintosh platform’s games, LittleWing needed to realize that it would have been a wise idea to go along with Macintosh interface conventions, the PC-esque means of finding your way around and starting the game with the escape key throwing a rod into an otherwise mundane process.

Finally, the scenery needs to change a bit, players having an option as to what the board looks like. Even a choice of schemes would work, as no game can compensate for the player looking at the same thing over and over again.

The Seventh Veil and the Bar Tab
LittleWing has produced a great game, the perfect tool for killing about 15-30 minutes of free time and something that has a more than welcome place in my OS X Dock from here on out. This would have been a legendary piece of shareware, but the price, quality and lack of customization make for an awkward piece of MacPlay-produced commercial software. Even if this is the case, Jinni Zeala works out perfectly and could be the perfect title for yourself, the family or the “anti-gamer” friend of yours whom you can never seem to find a title they’ll like. Easy hardware requirements of a 266 MHz G3 processor, 32 MB of RAM and Mac OS 8.6 or above make the game all that much easier to run and enjoy, the final icing on the cake arriving in the form of the game not demanding its CD-ROM be present in the drive to run. Click the Dock item or the alias and you’re good to go. It’s that simple.

I may not remember much from the 80’s, Transformers and Voltron viciously assaulting my frontal lobe and leaving only nightmarish shreds of a mouthless Hello Kitty behind. But I do remember the joy of pinball and am quite happy to say it just might have returned to the Mac.

Jinni Zeala
Developer: LittleWing
Publisher: MacPlay
Download Jinni Zeala Demo


Archives  Reviews  Jinni Zeala