smeared on a wall
YOU DON’T BELONG HERE
Penalties is not a game of subtleties. It’s unfortunate, because it feels like the intention was to be a bit more nuanced than it appears. Penalties does not invite you to discover the truth behind its blood and destruction so much as it sticks your face in it like a punished cat.
Another writer on Storycade has covered a Twine by Soha El-Sabaawi, a story of personal trauma called reProgram. This is my first interaction with her work, aside from her enjoyable and informative Twitter account. Based on the writers “further readings” link, a section I suggest you invest time in reading, this is her first exploration into creating Twine. In some senses, this shows. Language is used with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, with occasional bursts of painfully flowery, near poetic passages that did not suit my personal tastes but might appeal to other readers.
I suggest you read the “further readings” section on Penalties, because it goes a long way to explain the purpose of the piece and was what encouraged me to give it another go. While the second play through progressed with a great deal more ease, Penalties still felt too short to ultimately convey the authors intentions (as I saw them); that you must believe the room can be escaped in order to do so.
Some of the visual effects of the Twine, the visceral red shaking letters that demand that you wake are some of the strongest points, especially in what is a first attempt at the medium and it overall does tempt me to read more of the writers pieces. Ultimately, Penalties reminds me of a student film: a scope too broad for the final product, a bit too flowery where it should be succinct and direct, but showcases true glimmers of talent.