The Sea Will Claim Everything – Review

The Sea Will Claim Everything

developed by Jonas Kyratzes

Back in the day…
Do you remember when you were young, or more specifically, do you remember the games you played when you were young?  Remember how they captured your imagination,  curiosity, and your undivided attention?  That’s interactive fantasy at it’s best.  The feeling of exploring a world that isn’t quite real, coupled with your mind’s ability to somehow get lost in it, and how the rest of the real world becomes blocked out or closed off whenever you play games like that.  I’m mostly talking about adventure games, but the feeling could be applied to any richly detailed game world.  The combination of being young, open minded, and imaginative, made games such as these feel like places one could actually visit…  and as a young person, in my mind, I did visit those places – even if it was only a dream.

The Sea Will Claim Everything, or TSWCE, is very much a game like the ones I just tried describing to you.  It’s an adventure game, but more importantly, it’s an imaginative world begging to be discovered, explored, and even saved.  It’s a game brimming with charm and a witty sense of humor that will surely put a smile on you, and your inner child.  Meanwhile, it’s subtle, yet darker undertones will compel you to see this quest through.  In fact, much like any good book I’ve read, I found myself engrossed to the point where all of my attention and focus lay in the game’s story, it’s world, and the characters.

I sometimes like to refer to other games as examples of what a game might be like.  In the case of The Sea Will Claim Everything, I think I could best describe it as a collection of classic fantasy based text-adventure games combined with early first-person graphical adventure games such as Shadowgate and Companions of Xanth, which are then mixed in a magical blender built by Terry Pratchett.  Younger audiences might not get all of those references.  Google, while helpful for finding and reading about those references, can only give you a glimpse into the magic that gamers around my age were able to experience back when adventure games were in their heyday.

If you’ve never felt this way while playing an adventure game, or if it’s been a while since you have, then I urge you to buy The Sea Will Claim Everything, not only for the nostalgia, but for the feel-good gameplay and the dream-like creativity and imagination it is composed of.

Story:
To try and explain the story behind The Sea Will Claim Everything could possibly ruin it.  All you need to know is that you have arrived on the Fortunate Isles –

where the sinister Lord Urizen is using the debt crisis to impose his will on the people, and where the ancient biotechnological dwelling called Underhome is facing foreclosure. Your help is needed. Are you ready for a journey?

Alright, so I cheated a bit and borrowed a direct quote from the game description.  Honestly, I can’t explain the games story any better.  You are encouraged to explore this world of adventure for yourself, because giving away too much would just do a disservice to the creativity behind the game and it’s wonderful world.  From it’s pop culture humor to it’s internet memes and references, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the world you discover.

Gameplay:
Everything’s a pixel hunt.  Seriously.  There are adventure games out there that try to trick gamers into missing items or objects by sneakily hiding them among game scenery or in the background.  Not so with TSWCE.  Here you are cordially invited to point and click on everything, to your hearts content.  Whether they be pieces of scenery, characters, or even parts of the user interface, you’ll want to click on everything.  That doesn’t mean that you absolutely HAVE to click on everything, it just means that you should.

Now, there is a story, so to progress in the game means that you’ll have to solve some problems, puzzles, and complete a few quests.  Along the way you’ll have to speak to characters in order to find out what the problems are and how to solve them.  None of these are hard to accomplish, but you’ll want to think outside the box while thinking within the game world you are exploring, otherwise the problems and puzzles at times might seem a little obtuse – only if you’re unfamiliar with classic adventure games though.  For the most part these situations can be handled with common sense and rationale.

The exploration and discovery provide it’s own rewards within The Sea Will Claim Everything.  How much you enjoy those rewards will be largely based on how much imagination you have and how much you enjoy good-natured silliness.  If you’re a gamer who enjoys spending the majority of their time frowning and pouting then you should stay clear of this particular title as the smiles are quite infectious and contagious.

As you might be able to tell, this adventure game is mostly a point-and-click affair.  Simply move the cursor around the screen, click, and explore.  When the cursor turns into a hand icon that means you can manipulate or examine it.  By examining objects you’ll usually be treated to humorous description of that item.   Manipulating objects works similarly though it usually results in having an affect on your environment or by adding an item to your inventory.  Finally, you’ll want to speak with everyone, or perhaps I should say everything!  Even some objects have a voice in TSWCE and it’s important to converse with all of it’s inhabitants if you want to advance.

Graphics and Sound:
All of those descriptions I gave regarding classic style and gameplay apply to The Sea Will Claim Everything even in it’s graphics.  The art looks like it could have been done in MS Paint.  That’s part of its charm.  It’s oldschool, but it’s oh-so-cool as well.  The art provides a colorful backdrop for the world.  The imagination and creativity stands out strongly in TSWCE simply because it’s a game that the developer wanted it to be, rather than some other game that he wanted it to look like.

Sometimes graphics look great because of how bright, shiny, and highly detailed they are.  Other times, graphics are great because of the sense of wonder they emit unto the gamer.  Graphics don’t have to be flashy, and they don’t even have to be sharp or intricately detailed to be good.  They just have to work well at describing visually what the game designers mind was trying to convey, and if done right, the players imagination will take over to do the rest of the work.  It’s in this way that the graphics in The Sea Will Claim Everything succeed very well.

The sound and music are great as well.  Clicking around each environment not only provides amusing descriptions but will sometimes be accompanied by strange or humorous sounds.  Interacting with the user interface also provides players with a sense of functioning levers and buttons as the sounds of clicking, switching, and whirring, enhance the affects of every curious little object found on screen.  The music is also quite good.  It does loop quite a bit as you explore individual locations but the soundtrack is so nice that you probably won’t mind.  The soundtrack, composed by Chris Christodoulou, is available at bandcamp and I highly recommend you buy it if you enjoy the game, or at least sample the soundtrack, because the music is mostly soft, harmonic, and moody.

Conclusion:
The Sea Will Claim Everything is one of those memorable games you don’t come by very often anymore.  It’s an instant classic.  It reminds me very much of those classically style first-person point-and-click adventure games such as Shadowgate, Deja Vu, Uninvited, Companions of Xanth, and Deathgate.  At the same time it feels nothing like those games.  The experience, by comparison, feels somewhat organic – no pun intended.  The world of TSWCE feels alive, and that’s because it very much is.

You’re sure to get warm fuzzies from TSWCE and (depending on your age) the nostalgia it brings with it.  I dare you doubters to try The Sea Will Claim Everything, and then try not to crack a smile or a hundred while playing.  There’s plenty of fun and humor to be had for gamers of all ages whether they’re generation Then, X, or Next.

As of this writing, you can only buy The Sea Will Claim Everything through the Adventure Themed ‘Bundle in a Box‘ indie game bundle so head over there now and pay what you want for a collection of great adventure games which includes this fantastic title.  Once the game has officially released on a site of it’s own I’ll include a link to it as well.

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