Jin Conception Review: A Great looking adventure that doesn’t quite hit the mark

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Indie games often take inspiration or pay homage to classics of the past, this can help generate extra hype for these unknown titles. Jin Wave Studio’s new game Jin Conception caused quite a stir, with its visual style which is definitely a shout out to Chrono Trigger.

However, Jin Conception is looking to be more than just its cool Super Nintendo visuals. In fact, Jin Conception's main selling point is that it's a social deduction fantasy thriller combined with JPRG elements.

Jin Conception’s story wastes no time in throwing you right into the action, players will start as a party of three as they explore Final Layer, a brutal dungeon filled with enemies.

Jin Conception is a single-player game where you have to figure out who is a friend and who is a foe
(Image: Jin Wave Studio)

There isn’t much information as to what’s actually going on, but after exploring the dungeon for some time players will find themselves being destroyed by a fearsome boss. After the opening act, you wake up as Levi the protagonist and have to start exploring the vast world.

However, this is where Jin Conception’s story begins to fall short as there is little direction as to what to do next, after a lot of exploring and chatting to all the NPCs players will eventually arrive at the Fairy Village and gain their first party member.

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The story somewhat begins to unfold after this, with Levi meeting a host of characters as you try to deduce what really happened in Final Layer. The plot and pacing of Jin Conception can be confusing but isn’t terrible, the problem lies in its execution which ends up being a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Luckily there is a story summary function that will help players to understand what's actually going on.

Unfortunately, it doesn't deliver the complex narratives promised as a Social Deduction JRPG
(Image: Jin Wave Studio)

Jin Conception looks amazing with its bright 16-bit visual style that is clearly paying homage to the JRPG classics such as Chrono Trigger and the Romancing SaGa games. Character models are great with intricate detail being paid to each of the main characters.

The enemies and bosses sport fun quirky designs too. Each location is visually pleasing with every new area oozing so much distinct personality. The brazen attack animations are great to see in action, giving each character that extra bit of originality.

Jin Conception wears it's 16-bit influences on its' sleeve
(Image: Jin Wave Studio)

Jin Conception is a stellar looking 16-bit game, with it being clear that a lot of work has been put into its overall design.

The soundtrack is a great addition, with each retro-sounding theme adding an extra layer of depth to each location. These sweet melodies are one of the highlights of the game.

Jin Conception’s gameplay is a mix of combat, exploration and social deduction which comes later in the game. Combat takes a lot of inspiration from Chrono Trigger with each turn-based battle being in real-time.

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Players will have to act fast as enemies can attack at any moment and they are really strong.

Like with most JRPG players will be able to execute normal attacks and special Jin abilities. Combat was a gruelling experience with my two options being die or avoid the enemy at the start, as your party does barely any damage to foes even after equipping the stronger items.

The battle system tries to be Chrono Trigger but it comes off as a bad middle ground between turn-based and active-turn based.
(Image: Jin Wave Studio)

When players eventually find their stride in battle they will be able to use various strategies due to each of the characters' different abilities. Characters in your party will even be able to combine attacks to cause some serious damage.

However, I feel that Jin Conception is a massive hill to climb that players may be too frustrated to attempt due to the lack of direction and powerful enemies from the get-go.

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Also, the lack of information with the controls is really frustrating too as players aren’t told some of the basic battle controls till later in the game. It would’ve been great to know how to flee a fight from the start, not a couple of hours in.

Exploration is an interesting one as I feel the game purposely hides everything from you in an attempt to get players to explore every nook and cranny.

However this becomes frustrating as even when you are presented clues, players will still find themselves stuck.

The game often doesn't give you much of an idea of what to do besides vague mentions of locations
(Image: Jin Wave Studio)

The first Water dungeon where the heroes are tasked with finding the book of truth. It's fairly straightforward until the final point where players will struggle to activate the dungeon boss.

Exploration does eventually get better as players progress in the game with NPCs and story elements improving.

The big selling point of Jin Conception is that it's a social deduction game much like Among Us. This is based on a voting system where players can vote for who they believe is a friend or foe in their party during the game, this not only affects the overall outcome but other aspects in the game too, so as to not give away spoilers I’ll leave it there.

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Verdict

Jin Conception is a great concept but the initial gameplay may scare gamers off. Nonetheless, players who stick to it will be rewarded with a long adventure that spans around 20 hours to complete.

There are some very nice ideas presented here but not all of them hit the mark, with a few bugs that also hindered my experience. However, for all its flaws Jin Conception isn’t a bad game, with the visuals and music being great throughout with some of the game’s mechanics improving as you progress.

Jin Conception is out now and is available for £11.39 on Stream and £10.82 Nintendo Switch

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