Progression

by Alex Kriss profile

Fantasy
2014

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
hard to understand, September 1, 2014

The game starts out with you and your brother Erasmus descending into a dungeon.
While you descend you can steer the game by focusing on different aspects of your environment.
The whole experience thereby gets a bit like dream, you don't feel fully in control and it is hard to predict the outcome of your actions.

The game consists of two small puzzles, which are pretty easy to solve.
To find out what the game really is about is more difficult and in my opinion the main puzzle of the game.
Therefore the "die-and-read-again-from-the-beginning" mechanic, which is applied, makes sense to me, since you can reflect several times about what the game tries to tell you.
And some things only start to make sense after several iterations.
Unfortunately I for myself could not find a really satisfying and coherent answer and I would appreciate if the game could be a bit more explicit about it.

Perhaps another reviewer would be so kind to comment on this and give me a few hints. This is what I found out and how I interpret the game (only open the spoiler if you have really finished the game):
(Spoiler - click to show)
First there is the skull.
Monks use skulls to remember things.
So the first challenge, the fight against the shadows, lies in remembering the past together with your brother.

The tapestry symbolizes this memory and shows the past.
We learn that the mother of Erasmus and Karl got depressed.
The two boys got support through their father, their "spiritual mentor".
Their actions are described as "dubious".
It seems to me that the second challenge is to burn the memories and leave the past behind.

In the diary "Orlechs" are described in the same way as our "spiritual mentor".
This gets reinforced by the hint that the diary is like bedtime story.
I thereby deduced that our father is the "Orlech", the evil creature of this dungeon.
I interpret the rest of the text in the following way:
Orlechs are creatures, which have given up on self-improvement and self-actualization.
They are the broad mass and want others to become like they are.

Karl now has to face again a shadow.
I guess that since his mother was "cast into a bottomless pit" the shadow symbolizes depression.
He can only overcome it with his gained experience, which enables him to get the weapons to fight it.

After that he faces the Sphinx, which seems to be his mother, as one latter learns (?).
I have no idea why he has to fight her.

Then the player can decide.
Either he forgives his brother and father and leaves the dungeon or he can kill them and stay at the bottom of the pit.
I am not sure what forgiving in this case means.
The game hints several times that Karl is hungry, which even leads to him devouring his own brother.
I guess from cold the reaction of Erasmus when Karl confesses that he "loved him" that he forgives them their lack of affection towards him.
So the message seems to be:
If Karl cannot forgive, he has lives an unfulfilling depressed life.
If he forgives them, he can neither rescue his brother nor his father, but he gets at least the chance to reach self-actualization in his live.

Karl is now able to answer the riddle of the sphinx.
The father is the Orlech and its at the bottom of the dungeon.
After this things start getting really weird.
It seems like that realizing this enables him to break free and leave the past behind.

But why?
During the game I did not get the impression that Erasmus was better off than Karl.
Most of the time he was sick and in a worse condition than Karl.
And he always thought that they were in dungeon to collect a treasure.
Now suddenly he writes: "Sorry for all the confusion. When you're ready to leave, just press the big red button. —Erasmus", as though he mastered all the challenges before Karl and tried to help him and knew more than him.
For me this does not fit together.

I also don't understand the role of Karl's mother in all this.
She fell into depression and left Karl and Erasmus alone.
Why don't I have to face her?
Why does she play no role in all this.

Have I missunderstood something completely?
Interpreted too much?
Got it all wrong from the beginning?


All in all the game is well written, it was an enjoyable experience to play and above all it makes you think.
And that is all I ask from a work of IF or fiction in general.
Some things unfortunately don't make 100% sense to me, but here probably the mistake is mine.
So I can recommend it to others to give it a try.