The Sea Will Claim Everything

The Sea Will Claim Everything

released on Mar 24, 2016

The Sea Will Claim Everything

released on Mar 24, 2016

A point & click adventure in the Lands of Dream.

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finally we can all agree that giraffes were always real and the true holographic creatures are the scheming politicians hidden behind their illegally-logged wooden tables full of memorabilia of times long past where authorities and monarchies "made the world better" according to their crooked ideals and words.

'the sea will claim everything' is not even trying to hide the politics in its narrative, it is overtly leftist and revolutionaire. it is not trying to say that the only way forward is a specific leftist revolution, but it is saying that for us to get through the constant degradation of society and the world, we all need to unite and trust each other through kindness and collaboration. the final message is not one of certainty of victory against the system, but one of revolution against it, and hope that if we get through it, we can make a better world.

as for the game, it has very cute aesthetics and quirky and clever writing, the characters are more than just quest-givers and have fun personas, the gameplay is typical of a point & click so there's not much to add, i just wish it had more puzzles related to the UI and more interesting ways to complete quests instead of just finding ingredients, brewing potions and handing it over.

if you played disco elysium, this game will certainly be right up your alley. and remember, we are the sea. ✊

Oh gosh, this one really hit me.

Sort of a soft-isekai type story where you (yes, you, the player) are invited into a magical world by a wizard to help him fix his sentient house, but it quickly becomes apparent that your stay in this world will involve quite a bit of legwork, fetch quests, and inventory object puzzles. Standard adventure game stuff but on the way... I don't know, I just fell in love with this world.

The Fortunate Isles were such a beautiful setting full of a diverse array of colorful characters, and it was such a treat to explore it all. It helps that detail is poured into every corner of the screen- there's so much to click on with volumes of text as a reward, and I wasted so much time just clicking on every single flower and mushroom in the game just to get their little stories.
In addition, all of the characters have a lot to say and will even be updated with new dialogue as the story progresses so you have a reason to keep coming back to them even after their quests have been fulfilled, which made me feel connected with even the humblest of NPCs. Many of the stories that they tell are quite touching.

But as you get to know the Isles it quickly becomes very obvious what their real problem is, and the game gets rather "political" in a cool way. There's no ambiguity to what the creators are trying to say here about the importance of community and collective action but... well, number one I agree with them, but number two, I think that they should be commended for how well their themes arise organically from the storyline. You aren't explicitly handed an "overthrow the capitalist oligarchy" quest, but as you follow the threads of what you need and see how everything connects together it just kind of makes sense.

Even when the characters were almost literally preaching to me about politics, philosophy, economics, revolution, even gender identity, it didn't /feel/ like they were preaching because it just felt like the people I had gotten to know were offering their takes on "current events" and sharing a bit of wisdom with me. Genuinely left this game feeling inspired and a bit more enlightened!

The brilliant thing about it is that, despite the epic quest you go on to uncover ancient secrets and overthrow tyrannical governments, ultimately it's all in service of fixing that house, which feels just as important as the other stuff. You can't fix the Underhome without saving the Isles because the problems with the Isles ARE the problem with the Underhome, just like all of the people of the isles are one with each other, just like the sea connects them. Just like it connects us :)

(The only negative thing that I have to say is that the songs on the soundtrack, while pretty, are very short, and since I spent a lot of time sitting in the same locations reading text I heard them loop a LOT and it got kind of annoying. It was easy to mute them via a clever little interface, but still.)

One of the most interesting games I've ever played.
With a distinctly weird art style and thousands of text boxes, the pace of this game can feel weird and dreamlike at times. The meat of the game is speaking to characters and it can range from weird and frustrating to extremally interesting (namely the tree philosopher).
The biggest criticism I have is that the political ideology of the game is extremally on the nose and be off putting for those perhaps in opposition to a more liberal point of view. However, if given the chance the game can charm you like it did me into sticking it out to the end with an ultimately satisfying experience.
Very much recommended.

"I often think about that old metaphor, the one that says we are all islands on a wide sea. Especially these days, now that things are more difficult than before and the world appears to be harsher than we once imagined it to be. We are all like islands, the philosopher said. Perhaps it's true. Yet I cannot help but remember an older saying, scratched on a cave wall somewhere by a long-forgotten prophet: in the end, the sea will claim everything."

If you've read any of my recent reviews lately, you might be able to tell that I've sort of been in a pickle. I've felt a bit restless yet exhausted trying out different things only for nothing to seemingly stick; Deus Ex is always just a bit too much for my tired mind after a long day at work (and I suck at stealth), Skies of Arcadia looks and sounds so cool but right now it feels a bit too drawn-out for my fickle being, Muv-Luv is filled with these loud characters that seem to just act at their own whim, the older Ys games I've tried have been pretty fun but haven't lived up to Origin or Lacrimosa of Dana, and party game weekend was lightning in a bottle that quite frankly, I'm not sure I really ever want to go through or attempt to capture again. And it makes me wonder, where I went wrong to make gaming feel less like a hobby and more like a chore. But playing through Root Film recently got me thinking that maybe, I should just go back to the classics for a bit.

I don't usually take the time to replay older games I've enjoyed. My backlog is bursting with titles (and only gets larger when my friends dig up yet another dusty title that they played back in the day), and I'd like to think I'm past those days of mindlessly comboing CPUs in Rivals of Aether to instrumental music. And even if I were to revisit some favorites, point and clicks don't tend to fall on that list; they're great for a quick fix of adventure and simple puzzle solving, and you move on with your day, never to play it again because you've seen it all. That said, The Sea Will Claim Everything continues to stand out in my memory, so... why not revisit it to find out why?

This is probably one of the harder reviews that I have had to write; I can usually pin down exactly why I like or dislike certain games due to specific gameplay elements and features, and as such most of my reviews tend to be more mechanically focused. But how do you even begin describing a game like The Sea Will Claim Everything? It is about as barebones as a point and click adventure game can get. There's no dragging items to and from an inventory for interaction; the usual motley of "verbs" for interacting with objects have been replaced with 4 buttons describing the human senses. Most of the game involves clicking and reading text with no voice acting or animations, and many of the "puzzles" could be simplified as straight fetch quests. And finally, there really aren't any forced "gameplay" execution tests to be found here; what you see is what you get.

And yet, I am confident that this is still the most distinct point and click adventure game I've ever played. The game will outright start by telling you that time behaves differently in the Land of Dream; it warns you that if you try to interact with things at a similar pace to our world, you might find the whole experience outright unpleasant. So take your time and just soak in the moment, observing all you see and can click on. And it's absolutely worthwhile to do so; embedded in the game are tons of silly references, jokes, narratives, flights of fancy, and much more. The game walks this tightrope between being too other-worldly versus being too rooted in reality, but it just understands how to capture its wistfulness well without feeling too heavy. It's not afraid to break the fourth wall every now and then alongside its philosophical tangents, but it's also subtly daring in how it tightly constructs its surrealist world with so many varied and colorful locations and individuals. There's a lot to unpack from speaking with everyone in this evocative and unfamiliar world, and plenty of bright and whimsical moments to be found alongside the pangs of yesterday. And despite this world feeling so unknown, it's deeply humanizing in how it emphasizes connection and reminds us all that there is so much we share despite our differences. It's such a mood that I've never quite experienced to this extent in any point and click adventure game I've ever played, and maybe any video game I've played to this day.

Fun fact by the way, did you know that this is written by Jonas Kyratzes, one of the writers of the Talos Principle? Or that Chris Christodoulou, the composer of the Risk of Rain soundtracks, handled the music for this game? I only just found out about this now, but it's such an interesting collaboration between two greats that have handled such different works in video games. (Go check out Jonas Kyratzes' other works by the way, they're all just as strange and as fascinating as this one!)

So I'm left with not enough words and not enough time to really decipher exactly how to put it all down. The fanciful hand drawn graphics, the contemplative tinkering background tunes, the flurry of silly jokes and references scattered across the dreamy landscapes, and the messages sent and felt through the window; it all comes together almost seamlessly and I can't imagine how it would play out any other way. You just have to experience this for yourself to really capture an understanding for what makes this seemingly innocent title so powerful. It's fantastical yet familiar, simple yet layered, and nostalgic yet unafraid of the future. I think we could all learn something from The Sea Will Claim Everything, in that it never forgets to emphasize how important it is to enjoy the now and then; I sure know I won't be forgetting about this anytime soon.