The Temple of No – Review
Have you ever been on Twitter and seen a tweet about how everyone on a studio’s mailing list is going to get a free game? No? Well, that’s okay because the studio Crows Crows Crows made their game The Temple of No free for everyone else too. Which is nice, because it seems less like a game and more like an advertisement for the open source tool Twine and I would have regretted paying anything for it.
The game showcases Twine’s ability to incorporate images and audio, using a brief story, which can be played as one of three characters. You have a woman, a bloke and a frog to choose from. All of them are missing an eye. The difference between the three is negligible. Trust me, one play-through suffices. However, if you’re going to play it I recommend being a frog because we can be human in most games.
The character proceeds to travel to the temple in search of treasure, along the way thinking about the futility of life. And a more light-hearted note, singing. And, yes, the game encourages the players to sing a song, which includes the lyrics, “This game is really, really fun to play, Twine games can be fun”. Sure… maybe they could be, but I really did not appreciate being railroaded in this text-based adventure. To be honest, even the laugh-worthy game references and somewhat endearing art style were overshadowed by its obnoxious lack of decision making. Taking away such a vital aspect of the genre made The Temple of No a no-go for me.
To avoid spoiling the less than ten minutes of gameplay, I’ll stop there. Crows Crows Crows is a relatively new studio directed by William Pugh, the designer behind The Stanly Parable. Their debut game was Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, which is currently available free on Steam. These short titles seem more like practice projects for this team. They strike me as “we can do this” memos where they test their ability to use the software they have at hand. This time, it seemed less about “we can do this with Twine” and more like “Twine lets us do this so we decided to give it a try.” And while I have nothing against experimenting with new software I do not feel as though labeling such an advertisement as a free “game” helps Crows Crows Crows establish a solid image as a game developer.