You can play Secret Place here

Turn down the lights, turn up the Barry White, light those candles and scatter those rose petals. This time the Twine review gets… erotique. Secret World is an attempt at interactive erotica, a concept that both intrigued me and put me off all at once. I’m not a big fan of erotica in general and I’ve never played any of the dating or sex sims/visual novels that a lot of people enjoy. So be gentle, it’s my first time.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Its presentation is simple and uncluttered, which allowed me to concentrate on what was being said and, like good burlesque, left more to the imagination. It understands that the mind of the player will fill in the blanks far more satisfactorily than the game could ever. The prose veered toward the purple – needlessly lyrical and florid – but, given that consensual sex is one of the most purple situations one can find oneself in, my inner editor was willing to let it slide. In fact I derived quite a bit of pleasure from basking in the ridiculous luxury of the language – and that’s the sort of thing erotica’s all about right? In fact, the writing is so lyrical that it’s almost poetry… and I think I’m cool with an interactive sexy poem.

The interactive elements have also been dealt with quite well: hyperlinks capitalise when you hover over them, providing a sense of urgency to the proceedings and every branch of the story adds something to the experience. I played through a couple of times to thoroughly explore the options, although it can hardly be described as a story with multiple paths or endings. However, the various options coloured the whole narrative in interesting ways depending on what you discover and when. Due to this the tone of each playthrough felt very different and a lot of the new discoveries had me revisiting previous sections to read them again in the new context.

As with most games like this, to reveal some of the things I’ve found will detract from your playthroughs, so I’m going to leave the actual exploration of the narrative to you, needless to say Secret Place manages to pare down the busy work of exploration while still keeping its essence and rewarding nature. That’s an impressive piece of narrative gymnastics on its own.

The one major issue I had with the game was the spelling errors. There were far too many and, considering that words is all the game used to communicate itself to the player, one would have been far too many. Each time an error popped up I was pulled right out of the story, just as if I’d encountered a glitch or a bug. Fortunately these are far much more easily fixed than most bugs, so as a bit of advice to the developer: get the text edited and you’ll render this criticism redundant in half an hour.

Despite this I still heartily recommend Secret Place regardless of whether or not you particularly partake in erotica. Personally it didn’t exactly rev my erotic engine, but I greatly enjoyed the obvious skill behind the narrative construction. Absolutely anyone can enjoy a story well told.

Score: A thorough rubbing to the inner thigh/Kenneth Williams’ face.

Do you have a Twine game you want me to review? Email me at benm[at]indiehaven[dot]com.

About The Author

Contributor

Ben is pretty damned nerdy. If he isn't playing video games, then he's probably rolling some dice to hit goblins and thugs or designing, running and crewing a host of LARP systems. He lives in Brighton, because it's nice there. You can follow him on twitter @benrlmeredith

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