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
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
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
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
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz
Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB
The Sea Will Claim Everything