Coming from the developer who brought us Half-Minute Hero in 2009, Jikandia: The Timeless Land is a spiritual successor that borrows the 2D style and ideas of the original title while giving us a new experience. Jikandia is a 2D action-RPG, with platforming and dungeon-crawling being main focus. You select either a male or a female character at the beginning of the game, who can equip a wide variety of weapons as well as bring two party members along to any of Jikandia’s dungeons.
Jikandia begins with a group of students in a subway car, which gets sucked into a portal to Jikandia, a land where time has long since stopped moving forward. A being called the Time Lord has forced time to move again, and it’s up to them to put a stop to his plans. The cast is varied and colorful, like a spunky girl who knows the name of one too many Lovecraftian cosmic entities, a cowardly younger brother with no spine to speak of and a bullied girl who somehow befriended a dragon in all but a few minutes. The interactions between the students are humorous and quirky, with any combination of party members you bring to each locale interacting with each other regardless of where you go.
Exploring Jikandia is done via dungeons, in which explore randomly generated rooms, each with a timer before you’re forced to move to the next room. Jikandia’s gameplay is unique in that the player is able to set how long he wants to spend in each of the game’s dungeons. One can spend 3 to 30 minutes inside a dungeon, with a boss fight always being in the next room once the timer reaches 1:30 mark. The longer you spend, the more you can prepare for the dungeon’s boss fight by collecting stat-boosting items, as well as increasing the odds of getting better treasure. It’s more than possible to clear each dungeon and rush through the game, but the later bosses can become much harder to beat before time runs out without proper equipment and stats gained.
That said, there really is nothing stopping you from beating the game in less than an hour. While there’s plenty of equipment to collect and some humorous events to see by replaying dungeons and playing for longer than 5 minutes, playing through similar looking rooms in a dungeon for 30 minutes can get really tiring and uninteresting by the third or fourth go, especially when upon reaching a point where no dungeon offers a challenge. Jikandia works best when played in small 3-5 minute sessions, spacing out the repetition over time rather than doing it all at once.
While the style of the game is, like Half-Minute Hero before it, tailored for fans of the traditional 2D look, they could have spared some expense into having the great dialogue actually be readable. The text auto-scrolls without button press, and actually pressing a button moves the line being said to the next one, making it likely that you’ll often skip some lines of text while simply trying to get it all to come up at once. To make matters worse, dialogue often pops up while dungeon crawling, making it hard to read and pay attention to any enemies that’ll attack, as well as the timer for long to stick to a floor. There’s an NPC that’ll let you re-read any dialogue in the game, but the same problem with the text auto-scrolling, slowly at that, makes it frustrating to sit through and read.
All in all, Jikandia is a good RPG for those looking to play something for small sessions over a long time, without rushing through it. There are tons of items to collect and events to see, but playing it for too long can quite easily make you get tired of the quickly noticeable repetition.