Jonas Kyratzes’s new game, The Sea Will Claim Everything, is now on sale as an individual product. This is an amazing work, and you should get it the next time you have $10 to spend on a game.
The Sea is an endearing, meticulous, deeply personal, casually political game that’s part of Jonas’s Land of Dream series (see previous posts). The art is pretty children’s book pastels, done by Verena Kyratzes, and it lends a particular poignancy and eeriness to the wistful story being told. An island nation is being assaulted by Lord Urizen and his debt crisis, and the biotech dwelling of Underhome is facing foreclosure… even though everyone’s sure that they never even took out a mortgage.
This is a game about books and interfaces. It’s tactile. You see the world through a Window, one which has knobs and buttons clearly visible. The save slots are named strange things. There is a mouse as an inventory verb. The people of this world see you as a floating window, and it’s never clear where the interface abstractions begin or end.
Gameplay is fairly standard point-and-click puzzle solving in the vein of Dare to Dream (or Myst with dialogue), and it automatically handles using relevant inventory items. The puzzles are rather easy, as much of the game is about the experience: clicking on literally hundreds of books, not because you have to but because you’re interested in the clever titles; pushing the button that lets you see each collected inventory item in black and white; or learning about the habits of mushrooms.
It also does one of the things I love in games. It performs a little act of misdirection, making you think that the game will have a certain scope. Then, when you think you’re almost done, it reveals that the little area you’ve been exploring is just a small part of a much huger world and you have so much further to go.
The Sea is intensely personal. It was made by three people, and I suspect every single copy purchased will be important to the Kyratzes, especially with their recent troubles. Get it, play it, and tell your friends how cool it is.