Recommendations for Twine for kids

Teaching a one week summer course in Twine (Harlowe) for 5th to 8th graders. I am familiar with a lot of Inform games for kids, but very little in Twine (and what I have seen for kids are often short demo games written by other educators, or written by other beginning students) I’ll taking any general recommendations.

I’m also looking for a few more specialized recommendation to align with my daily writing objectives.

  1. something to introduce that platform on day 1
  2. an example of exceptional descriptive writing
  3. an example of exceptional dialogue/character development
  4. an example of writing, graphics, and sound all working together exceptionally well to create a specific mood
  5. an example to use on the last day that demonstrates an exceptionally well designed narrative structure. (We will be talking about story arc, and common branching patterns in IF

The Good Ghost is a very sweet, short game that could serve as a good introduction:

The game The Missing Ring is a mystery game with a 15 year old protagonist who’s trying to find her grandmother’s missing ring. It’s well written, has some good drama but would probably be PG, and is in the top 30 most popular Twine games:

Beautiful Dreamer has exceptionally descriptive writing. It has the same kind of tone as Howl’s Moving Castle, and is about a kid who can’t sleep at night:

A Long Way to the Nearest Star is longer and starts with some mild profanity but has exceptional dialogue and is also pretty descriptive:

While not made for kids specifically, Escape the Crazy Place was started by a middle school kid (I think) and then built on by about a dozen authors and is pretty funny:

Hana Feels has excellent writing and graphics, and is a game funded by the Scotland Government that was intended to discuss self-harm:

For descriptiveness, My Father’s Long Long Legs is amazing, but of course terrifying. It uses writing, graphics and sound exceptionally well:

Secret Agent Cinder has some awesome graphics the kids might appreciate:

For structure, you could try Free Bird, a game that uses only nouns and adjectives, making for a minimalistic game with a rich structure based on rescuing birds trapped in a room:

There aren’t a lot of Twine games with sound and graphics working effectively that aren’t horror games. Besides Long Long Legs, I can think of Babyface as another such horror game:

You will Select a Decision is hilarious but contains at least one stray F word, otherwise being generally appropriate for kids. It has a traditional CYOA branching structure:


I have a few short ones made in Twine (but not necessary Harlowe), I remember from the top of my head that should be suitable for kids.
Most of these are playable in 5-15min

Frog (play as a frog spawn until you leave the pond)
SPACE FROG! (a short space adventure as a frog, with cute pixel gifs)
Milk Quest! (I think should be ok?)
My Mail Carrier is Always on the Phone (might be for the older crowd, focus on the graphics~!)
ᕁ᙮ᕁᕽᕽ CozmoPets ᕽᕽᕁ᙮ᕁ (Pokemon meets Tamagochi - might be most suited for the older grade)
500 Word Hotel Escape (if you want to show a short puzzle)
Cat vs Villain (play as a “villain” to defeat the cat)

Otolith by LemonPoppyseedGames this one is also cute!


Perhaps a little young but this is a very cute kid-friendly game with a touch of unsettlingness, and a decent amount of branching.


Thanks all for some great suggestions. I had played “Long Way to the Nearest Star” previously and had forgotten about it, but it was one of my favorites. I had also forgotten “my father’s long, long legs”, but will include that in my resources for the class.

“The Missing Ring”, and “The Good Ghost” and “Babyface” are completely new to me, and I loved all of them.

“Congee” by Becci is another game I just went back to (after writing a review several years ago). It does some nice things with graphics and sound to create a mood, but is not horror.

“Chuk and the Arena” is another charming and ambitious adventure game, suitable for kids. (this one I beta tested)


I taught my class last week. Six kids met three and a half hours each morning Monday-Friday. This was part of a summer elective program offered through the school. Ages varied from fifth grade to eighth grade. All of them really enjoyed playing “The Missing Ring” by Felicity Drake, then studying its structure to write their own games. Several of the kids liked the two horror games (Father’s Long Legs, and Babyface) but one was bothered by the ambiguous endings. (I explained that ambiguous endings are often a feature of horror fiction, the uncertainty about the outcome contributing to the unease of the story.) Some of them tried the longer games I recommended (Chuk and the Arena, Long Way to the Nearest Star) but thought they were “too difficult”. They kept going back to “The Missing Ring”, and many of them modeled their own games after the structure they had seen in that one.

None of the kids had prior programming experience (except maybe a little bit of Scratch) but they picked up the basic (macro)[hook] syntax of Harlowe pretty quickly, and by the end of the week a couple of them were experimenting with syntax to insert audio into their games. Several days we took a break in the middle of the class block to go walking on trails around the school and did some writing en plein air.

On the last day, we played all of the games the kids had written on the classroom overhead projector. I felt like the class was a success.


Hello! I just wanted to say that it really made my day to hear that the kids enjoyed playing “The Missing Ring.” Thanks so much for the update! It sounds like you did a great job with the class.