Capsule Review: The Temple of No

A short comedic Twine game that ostensibly has you play as an explorer seeking the eponymous temple but mostly just makes fun of Twine as a platform. Not in an affectionate or even fair way, but in a way that makes the creators seem willfully ignorant and uncreative. It’s a Twine game for people who don’t like Twine games and have no desire to broaden their horizons but would rather mock that which they do not understand.

It starts strong, with some nice little touches based on the choices you make and playful jokes that poke holes in the fourth wall and experiment with Twine’s capabilities while setting a mood for self-aware pulpy adventure. But it seems like the writer ran out of ideas and resorted to poking fun at Twine’s limitations - one throwaway gag suggests that it’s impossible to make games with “actual gameplay” in Twine and at a climactic moment the game interrupts itself to ask, “Have you ever played a good game made in twine? Like, one that’s actually good - not just ‘good for a twine game’?”

Well, yes, I have, and if Crows Crows Crows can’t find a way to make a good Twine game, that reflects on their capabilities more than those of the platform. For players who respect what text-based games are capable of and who appreciate the way Twine has helped democratize their development, The Temple of No’s smug I’m-too-good-for-this attitude overwhelms its humor - especially since it insults any player who was engaged by the game’s early playfulness and was enjoying it unironically. It also prompts the question of why Crows Crows Crows chose to develop and release a game on a platform for which they have no respect.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished the game. I played through again with different choices to make sure I hadn’t missed something and the game truly was what it appeared to be. I hadn’t and it was.

Docprof's Rating:

Zero Stars: Garbage. Flaws outweigh strengths to the point where I cannot possibly recommend the game to anyone.

You can get it or learn more here.