You’ve been there.
Their Angelical Understanding is an allegorical creation that blurs the line between poem and Twine. Porpentine, a master of the form, has crafted a fantastical experience about hurt and the ways we reconcile personal injustice.
There are many avenues a writer can travel when attempting to write in terms of allegory. Often times the attempt can come off as painfully obtuse and pretentious. Any reader of Porpentine is familiar with her particular brand of obscurity, the kind that pushes the player forward but doesn’t fall into confusion. While Their Angelical Understanding is never 100% clear, never comes out and tells you what is going on directly, that doesn’t mean that it leaves the reader in the dark. Porpentine is an intelligent and deft developer, and the story feels tightly controlled. Their Angelical Understanding is down a rabbit hole, but I trust this white rabbit.
There seems to be two stories at play. The foremost one is about an angel killer on a mission from a monastery, but there is a deeper story about abuse layered underneath fantastical images.While these two elements are anachronistic, their combination works. Some users may find the difference jarring, bouncing from an almost medieval quest to modern language and instances, but I found it worked with a feeling of displacement that was being experienced by both the character and the player.
Porpentine balances out quick hits of prose with atmospheric sound, altering the background color when the mood strikes. She utilizes all of the skills at her disposal to make Twine bend into an almost unrecognizable form — and it’s the better for it. Take the 30 minutes to an hour that it takes to experience the world Porpentine has created. Their Angelical Understanding is worthy of all of the accolades it has reaped, and at least another more.