The Temple of No: Review

I have written about William Pugh’s work before; the Stanley Parable co-developer and Crows Crows Crows founder pointedly strikes again with a short Twine game that is as much a series of snide remarks about indie games as it is one of them.

This is not the first short and free game from Pugh, nor the first to break all kinds of meta-ness walls in captivating ways, which makes you wonder what ungodly concoction of wit and satire will be unleashed upon the Earth once Crows Crows Crows releases a full-length title.

The Temple of No, although not being explicitly about the gaming world, brings to mind the brilliant The Writer Will Do Something by Matthew Seiji Burns, another Twine game in which you embody a head writer stuck in the hellhole of a corporate meeting, tasked to come up with the story for a new installment in a well-established franchise, while the other department heads slowly realize what a train wreck their project is turning out to be.

The Temple of No, however, centers not on the messiness of the gaming industry, but on the clichés surrounding indie games, especially the text-based Twine specimens that seem to briefly pop in and out of the general discourse in game journalism.

There’s a jab at the most talked-about twine of all time, Depression Quest, there’s that snide remark about everyone and their mothers talking about how the intro sequence to Firewatch was made with this engine and a mention of the ‘Pacific Northwest hipster’ female character stereotype that has emerged within both indie and mainstream titles over the past few years.

In short, definitely worth the ten minutes it takes to complete it (try and count how many times the game apologizes for being a mere twine)!