SPY INTRIGUE is a Twine game about someone who enters a futuristic spy school and goes on missions. This is a terrible way to describe the actual feeling of playing.
First, to clarify, “Not Finished” is not because I got frustrated or something like that: SPY INTRIGUE is a very long game. After more than two hours I was — I’m guessing a bit here — only halfway. I would have kept going, but the game crashed upon trying to pick the 3rd mission (“SyntaxError: Unexpected EOF”).
I should also get out the way that everything (with an interesting exception) is in ALL CAPS like the clip above. The general effect is not like an angry internet commenter but more like an ancient TRS-80 game or perhaps an essay by FILM CRIT HULK. I’m not sure if the net result was good or bad, but it did allow for some interesting effects where the text read more like poetry than prose.
However, the game also freely mixes high poetry with random humor. The player is the only spy at the school because all of them died of “spy mumps” causing their heads to explode. Instant oatmeal is used as a weapon (OATMEAL TIME OATMEAL TIME OATMEAL TIME OATMEAL TIME). The main character’s attitude is of a stoner out of their depth (who is it one point subjected to actual drugs).
At some points the humor and poetry happen at the same time. The protaganist flies to the second mission on a rocket, and midway thinks they are going to die and goes into a beautiful monologue about the first dog in space … whose name they don’t remember, so they call him “Skywalker”.
So far with all this, SPY INTRIGUE would be a fun and goofy and mostly puzzleless romp, but then the deaths elevate things to the next level. Whenever the character dies the game switches to “no caps” mode and gives a short story:
I am unclear if the stories are meant to be out of the life of a single person or multiple people. The very first one (in a ridiculous whismy part of the main portion of the game) involves a haunting suicide.
The effect was to have me actively searching for ways to die; in a weird bit of gameplay finesse I would backtrack from successfully passed obstacles in an attempt to fail them so I could read another death story.
All this means there’s a meta-level I haven’t worked out yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all a dream in the mind of an old man who only exists as part of a virtual reality simulation. Due to the length I would recommend SPY INTRIGUE for after the competition; rushing doesn’t do it justice.