J'dal is one of those games you seemingly may want to drop on your trash icon during the beginning. You have no real option to act besides some conversation with strange NPCs, explore some thingies, order a steak from a dumb waitress or read about a toilet door you never can open. This seems to be intended to introduce players to interactive fiction in a technically ragged and fairly linear way, giving some background, a little atmosphere, and the shape of the quest. Besides, the first steps don't seem to have any meaning.
But aside of those library messages often shown (sometimes not even this, but nothing), there was some mood that encouraged me to struggle through the game. Aside of the bad implementation I liked how the shabbiness of the tavern grew slowly through exploration and conversation in the intro part. There's a »fucking loogie« in the steak served by the dumb waitress and one of my favorite descriptions is the sink in our room 203 that I have to share with my dad: »It's kind of like a sink for pissing in. It's in an alcove but it still makes the whole room stink. Dad said that it probably drains straight down to the beer taps in the bar.« It's a really good descripton of the situation and in this way you steadily get an idea of where and who you are and what you have to do.
It's an easy quest, that dad describes pretty well: »We'll go down the old mine, get the artifact, get out, and get the money for it. Then we'll be set for a while.« So I'm not just a young black girl among white dad and two strange friends, but poor. Dad »adopted me from the street, you could say. Felt sorry for me or something.« I like this way of short and easy descriptions, giving some impressions around the story, and I like also such contrasts like young and old, black and white, that promises some impact within the story. There are some more potential contrasts later like dark and light or weak and strong, but they're not really part of the story and thus just nice. I was also pleased about some fantasy puzzles in the mine as opening the chain, fighting against the »beart« creature or the way to get the artifact, but they distressed me due to the bad implementation. At the end I had to consult the walkthrough and even that seems to be fragmentary.
In technical points, J'dal is a bad game, but with some narrative foundation to be a good one. The puzzles well-implemented would have the capability to be good and the story well-told, too. I can't really recommend the comp version of the game because I got tired of its flaws, but on the other hand, in parts it wasn't boring. In any case, the author seems to have the capability to write good stories.