Game Review: Minor Arcana (2020, Jack Sanderson Thwaite)


This game is an entrant in 2020 Interactive Fiction Competition.  All of the entries can be found here.

Minor Arcana is probably not the first game to center around Tarot cards but it is probably the first one to actually be written from the point of view of the cards themselves.  You are the cards and, as you wait to reveal your next fortune, you think about your past and maybe your future.  Who created you?  Who gave you power and why?  Are you going to help the people who seek your insight or are you going to destroy them?  Are you a force of chaos or a force of peace?  These are the decisions that you, as the player, can make as you point and click your way through the story.

Like a lot of works done with Twine, Minor Arcana is more of a short story than a game.  While it’s true that you control several elements of the story and that your decisions will determine the type of story that’s told, it would be a mistake for anyone to play Minor Arcana thinking that it’s going to be a traditional IF game where you solve puzzles and examine rooms and decide whether to move north, west, or, if you’re really lucky, northeast.  Instead, Modern Arcana is more of a well-written mood piece, designed to make the player meditate on issues of fate, fortune, and the future.

Minor Arcana can be played here.