Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes is a surreal choice-based experience. I played it to several conclusions, though I am certain I did not fully explore the possibility space.
It would be pointless to try to say what this is about, I think. The game keeps bringing you questions, some of them in the form of recognizable object manipulation, some other things, but the connection between one piece and the next is not always evident. There is a whole Donne poem in this piece; also a mostly nonsense bureaucratic form; also some text that looks like it’s broken code but that I think is meant to be seen by the player, as a way of surfacing the malleability of the text itself. There is very little sense of agency either diegetic or extradiegetic: the goals aren’t clear, the likely results of actions aren’t obvious, and it’s uncertain how to guarantee that you will experience the whole story.
At one point the game says
…and I found this “nothing to do but wait” to be good advice. I liked my later playthroughs better than my first, because initially I was trying to reach a level of understanding that would let me drive the story; later I just let it go by while I looked around.
I am not sure I understood enough to say a great deal more than that: I’m not quite certain what the author was aiming for thematically.
I liked the copper snake, and the bag that contained ashes or sand, and the rats disconcerted by gravitation.