By: Jesse Villa
Playtime: 10 min
Our Darkest Thoughts is a Twine text adventure that deals with dark themes such as suicide and depression. You wake up with no recollection of who you are or how you got there, and next to you lies a corpse.
What I liked most about this piece was the premise. The amnesia trope is often used in games and can come off as cliche, however, the author managed to avoid this by threading its use into the overall themes of the piece. The author presented an interesting take on the afterlife and dipped their toes into the realm of suicide, an emotionally charged subject that is difficult to work with- or at least do justice.
The presentation was the default Twine layout and the addition of an ominous sound playing in the background helped strengthen the piece without being distracting. Text was parsed out and was not overwhelming. That said, the writing could do with some refinement. The tone and rhythm of the piece was thrown off by grammatical errors and clunky phrasing. In many ways, it felt like the story needed to be expanded upon and more concise at the same time.
The narrative is presented in a hub and spoke format, where each scene is a hub and the links, or choices, are the spokes. This is a good way to tell a story of this nature, but they missed the mark. Each link only provides sensory information, talking about how dark it is or how much pain they feel. While these are worthwhile pieces of information that speak to the larger narrative, they do not offer much depth. The dark subject matter could have been explored what brought about these dark thoughts and how they manifested with a narrow focus. These elements could have been sprinkled in during the spoke sections where flashbacks could be relived in whatever order the player chose until a cohesive story that shows the player what happened can come into focus. Even better using this format would allow players to make their own deductions, prompting them to continue playing.
Overall, this is a game that with a little refinement could be very interesting, but as it stands it barely scratches the surface of its main themes.