‘The Sea Will Claim Everything’ Preview – Full Of Life
Once again we’re invited to step into the Lands of Dream; Kyratzes’ most wonderful imaginarium in which time runs at a slower pace and pastoral delights are aplenty. The Sea Will Claim Everything is our longest stay yet and it proves to be the most rich and engaging one with no loss of attention to detail.
You make the trip to the Fortunate Isles through your monitor – this being referred to as your Window with the mouse acting as your way of interacting with this otherwise far-off world. To start things off you’ll have to flip on the graphics switch if you wish to see anything through your Window. Then, providing the Biotalkatron is enabled and the smell of the day is most likely lavender – you’re good to go. It’s an effective technique and an especially good use of the UI, almost like a post-Brechtian way of using your real world situation and making it part of the game itself, crossing the fourth wall and then re-building the bridge between fiction and reality.
Unfortunately this absorption takes a little while to stick. As you enter the biomechanical Underhome, greeted by The Mysterious-Druid (that’s his full name) and his well-dressed transvestite robot helper EDDIE, you may feel a slight disconnection setting in beyond the astounding welcome. The problem being cited here is that the beginning of the game is slightly overwhelming due to the quirky dialogue, fictional locations and charming characters, of which you are unfamiliar at this point, being referred to as if you have a thorough understanding. Combine that with being trapped in the confines of the six story Underhome for the game’s initiation and The Sea Will Claim Everything doesn’t seem quite as inviting as it should be at the very start.
Do not let these initial impressions put you off the game though, for as soon as you bust out of the Underhome the whole game opens up and you’ll soon have many scenic locations to scout out and the many inhabitants to partake in a most interesting dialogue. As that’s just been brought up it seems sensible to make this clear right now – this is a game that requires a lot of reading on your part. This should be perceived as a good thing, it being tailored by Kyratzes, but there are those that will resist a game that presents its players with a novel’s worth of text and no voice over to alleviate the eyeballs. Though it should be said that the soundtrack really helps to stimulate the mind – going to the the Antigone Tavern on The Isle of the Sun is highly recommended for the music alone. Needless to say, divulging in more reading than is necessary, by way of clicking on objects in the many hand-drawn scenes and even the little gizmos tucked away in the UI, is rewarded as the game’s more playful lines reveal themselves with such springy incongruity. Prepare to discover bashful mushrooms, frog soap, flowers called Harry and pumpkins with no personality. Many chortles will be had.
It’s these extra quips that really attest to the amount of character that permeates through the whole game. This is point and click after all, so giving the player plenty of things to perform this action upon and safe in the knowledge that they’re bound to get a little grin from whatever descriptive sentence pops up is just so pleasing. The ability to cram in so much delight as the game does so easily would be handy right now as there is so much to talk about regarding The Sea Will Claim Everything. For instance, the encounter with Medusa as she copes with the stress of being a celebrity, Stavros the intellectual tree whose ideas are substantially enlightening, or Dr. Crustem who is the ninth generation in a lineage of mouldy toast. Kyratzes really nails the serious silliness that he pursues, using fantasy to cater to juvenile giggles as well as deeper discussions of adult topics within the same breath.
To avoid making the game sound disparate, you should know that there is most certainly a main narrative thread that will drive your interest. This starts off in the Underhome as you know, which has just been ransacked and now faces foreclosure. Your first tasks will concern restoring life back into the home’s mainframes and to do that you’ll need the help of the creatures that inhabit and maintain this fascinating structure. It is within the Underhome that you’ll also find the ability to conduct alchemical experiments in order to make a number of potions required to progress at times. Fortunately you have your Scroll of Recipes that will automatically jot down the necessary formulas for you once you find them. This part of the game is only minor but it adds something quite fresh to the overall experience. Though it would have been more convenient if the recipes were on show and the ingredients labelled in the alchemy screens.
To find the many items needed to make the potions you’ll need to do a fair amount of travelling around the Fortunate Isles. The game’s areas really begin to multiply when you break out of the Underhome and even further when you can set sail from the Isle of the Moon and visit the other two main Isles and the other surrounding areas. Said items are usually found growing naturally around these locales, so you can just pick them and utilize the extensive inventory system to then use, sniff, consume or let your mouse interact with them. Yes, you read that right. Pretty much everything you do in The Sea Will Claim Everything involves a trade of some kind though, so expect to hear plenty of needs and problems that you are forced to attend to in order to get what you want. These all soon rack up and you’ll find there’s a lot to do on your checklist, which in turn makes sure that you don’t feel like you’re spending your time going back and forth across the same areas.
That’s probably one of the game’s biggest feats actually – giving the player freedom to explore most of its locations early on (once they have a boat) and to complete the tasks in pretty much any order they can. There’s plenty of scope, quirkiness and detail to make your trip around the Fortunate Isles last plenty of hours and never a dull moment will be had. It’s a fairly demanding game for those not accustomed to a game with such sentiments – all the reading, movement through clicking on arrows and the game’s biggest charms being hidden away in subtle corners. Nonetheless, providing the player is willing to invest into this fantasy, the game gives a lot back in the form of humor, intelligent discourse and a world in which the little details matter.
There are some moments when you may think the game is spiralling into a list of fetch quests, but then you’ll be treated with an intellectual discussion and reminded that your ultimate quest is to save the people of these beautiful lands of the evil clutches of Lord Urizen. You do this with the game’s tantalizing title in your head all the time, reminding you that your efforts may all be in vain if one of nature’s biggest wonders, the sea, were to claim everything in the end.
You can find out more information about The Sea Will Claim Everything over on the official website.