The Sea will Claim Everything

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Jonas & Verena Kyratzes

Released:  June 2012

PC Requirements:  

Microsoft Windows (or Linux + WINE, though thatís not been extensively tested)

170MB of disk space

512MB of RAM

a screen/graphics card capable of 768 vertical resolution or more

a mouse or similar rodent

thatís it, really

this is just taking up space

oh, a screen is also useful

no authenticators required

 

 

 

 

by flotsam

 

If you have been to the Lands of Dream before, you know it is more than it appears. You may or may not have been back, the Lands perhaps not being what you were looking for, but you will likely remember your visit.

He doesnít know it, but Mr. Kyratzes and I go way back. Or forward. I came across him post-apocalyptically, looking for hope in a desert garden. Then I got lost in his museum, a place both artful and arty, and a little too much of both.

I next met an acquaintance, the impeccably named Raven Locks Smith, who showed me the Mountains of Oddness and introduced me to the Lands of Dream. ďA land of unbelief and fearĒ, to quote Mr. Blake.

The Mountains moved me, so I went back and met Harold the talking picture frame and excellent dude. Harold uses a window into his world to get you to help him locate Old Man Bill, so as restore order and calm the pets.

That same window is used here, except the view is different.

In The Sea Will Claim Everything, you look out on, or rather into, Underhome, ancestral dwelling of the Mysterious-Druid clan. You meet The, and learn that the house has been ransacked by government debt collectors seeking a debt that is not owed. Worse still, the ransacking has disrupted the very fabric of Underhome, and repairs are essential.

It will take some time, and some back and forth within the house. The biotalkatron is enabled and the wall of text is active, so conversing with the other occupants can and must occur. The healing canít be completed yet, but do enough and the Fortunate Isles await.

What happened to Underhome is writ large across the Isles. Impoverishment is everywhere, gripped by the unseen iron hand of Lord Urizen. You can help, in small ways and large, and little things become large when out of reach. Helping becomes an end in itself.

Described simplistically, The Sea Will Claim Everything is a first person point and click fairy tale, where fantastical beings and magical happenings abound. Everything is read, with no spoken word, your reading accompanied by a series of musical scores but limited other sounds. There are no animations, each screen being static and set, with a childlike graphical style. You fetch a lot, read a lot more, and make potions. Potion making is clunky and frustrating, navigation sometimes confusing.

But you canít describe this game that way.

Google Mr. Kyratzes and you will see what moves and motivates him. All those things are contained in the Lands of Dream, reflected, exposed, and explored. Google Urizen to learn a bit more. Art without teeth is something he feels strongly about, and so the Sea bites back, and only occasionally does it do so too obviously.

The naÔve graphic style provides the perfect counterpoint to the issues within. They arenít simple, being all those things that bedevil our world. It becomes clear as you go that the window is in fact a mirror.

Nor are they straightforward, and their solution isnít necessarily a resolution. What does a mouse do with a cheese that is too expensive to produce?

Yet it remains a tale, one that is silly and funny and un-funny and sad and hopeful and lots of other things as well. Forget if you like the layers and the meanings, and enjoy a rich and engrossing fantasy, one with elegant characters inhabiting a world for which you come to care. Whatever else the genre might aspire to, the best of its inhabitants have story and heart.

You can plough through this experience in perhaps 6 to 8 hours, but I doubt you would have clicked on everything. The complexity of the construct is revealed if you do so. Check out the red things, and the mushrooms and the Bob fans. Not all of it is deep, but all of it adds something to the mix. Even the names of the saved games.

Finally, in such a silent world the music will stand out. Different pieces play in different places, and poignant is probably the most apt description. Plingpling Fairydust was probably my favourite, although the somewhat medieval Menuet evoked all that it should. You can listen to all of them at the home of the composer, one Chris Christodoulou.

There are apparently two stories about what the Lands of Dream mean, and itís the second one that is true. I donít dispute the latter, but there will be as many meanings as there are players.

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB

B+

The Sea Will Claim Everything can be purchased via download at the Lands of Dream website.

 

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