Blue Lacuna — Ch. 3

Once again, assorted thoughts about Aaron Reed’s Blue Lacuna, spoiler-cut and with the RSS feed limited in order to avoid spoiling the unwary.

This time around I mostly have notes rather than coherent analysis: there’s a lot where I don’t know where it’s going yet.

Ready? Okay, here we go:

My PC is really buff. She seems to be able to climb things that Real Life Me would never dream of trying to climb. Alternatively, in real life I am a big wuss.

I don’t seem to have to eat. I appreciate that, though I’m not sure how realistic it is: I’ve been in alterna-world for days now, and doing some fairly athletic climbing and hiking. On the other hand, I’m allowed to try eating things, and maybe the handfuls of berries and the couple of mussels I ate out of curiosity really are enough to sate BuffPC.

I think I was mis-calling the trees windsong trees rather than windsigh. Whoops. Sorry about that.

It really helps to have the compass. While I approve of being able to GO TO locations that are far away, I find that it’s hard for me to construct a mental map unless I’m told the relations between places in explicit directions. Without the mental map, I feel lost and confused.

The sketch map is nice, but I only understand it once I’ve been to the relevant places.

Because I am dumb, and for the aforementioned reasons concerning the compass, it took me longer than it should have to realize that the volcano != the mountain.

This is feeling more and more and MORE like textRiven: gorgeous scenery, color-coded locks and machines, lots of neat flora and fauna, but minimal NPC interactions. Also the cable car. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Riven, but I wouldn’t mind a little more… hm. Plottiness? I get some plot events in the dreams and I have occasional enigmatic run-ins with Progue, but mostly I seem to be wandering the area looking for evidence of past events. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but neither is it quite what I expected from the description of the game.

Speaking of the cable car: riding around in it amused me. I like cable cars and ski lifts, but I have a sometimes hiking companion who gets rattled. My PC’s panic when the crate was going downhill was… entertainingly familiar.

Somehow or other Progue always seems to be above the ledge when I try to climb up from it, even if I thought I’d just seen him recently far away in another place. This means I cannot get up to the pyramid while the pipe leads there. I imagine this is intentional, but it’s also vexing.

In general, continue to be impressed with the solidity of the interaction. Just to see if it would work at one point I typed WAIT FOR EVENING. It did. Yay!

The puzzle getting the crystal egg to work was a little strange because I wasn’t quite sure what target number I was going for, but ultimately I guess that’s reasonable: neither did Progue know.

I seem to be semi-stuck, for the moment: I’m not sure what I should be working on, in waking life, and my most recent dream showed me Phoebe and Lethe deciding to go exploring, but didn’t give me a lot of new ideas based on that encounter. Hrm.

I wish I were allowed to try to solve the cryptogram of the writing directly. I can’t find the left ear anywhere.

8 thoughts on “Blue Lacuna — Ch. 3

  1. Chapter 3 lasted _forever_ for me, and I still have no idea what actually triggered the end of it. Also, I never saw chapter 4 because it took me straight on to chapter 5.

  2. On further poking around, Ch. 3 ended when I had a pivotal confrontation with Progue, based on things I had learned from the dreams. He then told me to go away and talk to him later.

    Is that something that happened to you?

  3. Nope! In fact I didn’t get to talk to him at all during chapter 3; he spent the whole of it running away from me. I even tried camping out at the foot of his cliff for an entire day, but he didn’t come down.

    Chapter 3 just… ended for me. I’d finished all the dream sequences, and solved all the puzzles except one that really required the other ear, due to its not being something work-out-able and there not being enough known letters to read the instructions (being a little vague here to avoid spoilers as I’m not sure how far through you are). So I was just wandering around aimlessly poking things, and then suddenly I was on chapter 5. I suspect it might have been the drama manager figuring out that I was bored, but I’m not sure what it had been waiting for me to figure out, since once it had let me progress to finding the ear it was all quite straighforward, and having got to the end I’m pretty sure that it was the ear bottlenecking me.

    It sounds like you and I ended chapter 2 differently, which might have something to do with it. It ended for me when I insisted on climbing up past the ledge, fell and knocked myself out, and was carried to the cabin by Progue (who was muttering something like “oh, she really is real after all” – I guess him realising this is the “end chapter 2” trigger?). I couldn’t climb anything substantial after that, because my leg was damaged, though I could still get into the treehouse.

  4. (minor spoilers relating to the game’s overall structure and themes)

    I just finished the game on puzzle mode, and I’m still sorting out how I feel about it. I was really into the story when I started, but I eventually lost interest and got a lot more satisfaction from solving the puzzles. I think part of the problem is that Progue and the Island kind of wear out their welcome after a while, but I ended up liking that setting a lot more than the others you eventually get to.

    Overall, the “Love vs Art” theme seems like it disappears for most of the game and then comes back in a ham-fisted way at the end. I get that the author is TRYING to tie the microcosm of one person’s choices to the macrocosm of the entire galaxy’s fate, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s a very ambitious attempt, but he doesn’t quite pull it off.

  5. It sounds like you and I ended chapter 2 differently, which might have something to do with it. It ended for me when I insisted on climbing up past the ledge, fell and knocked myself out, and was carried to the cabin by Progue (who was muttering something like “oh, she really is real after all” – I guess him realising this is the “end chapter 2″ trigger?).

    Whoa. Progue realized I was real when he saw that I’d opened the door to the caldera, and my leg is still intact (thank goodness).

  6. To me this seems like a game that got lost somewhere on its way to telling a story. I think these multiple possibilities that we’re all finding may seem good, but I’m finding this a little disheartening. I don’t find anything cohesive about this at all. There’s bits of substance that are sort of jammed in between the “style.” I know people keep saying this is an ambitious attempt. But attempt at what? That’s what I’m not getting. What am I missing here?

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