Just finished playing Jonas Kyratzes’s short graphic adventure The Infinite Ocean. The current version available for download is actually a complete rewrite (done by programmer Kevin Clancy) of the original release, which helped fix all the bugs and improved some minor details as well. Freelance composer and sound effects designer Adam DiTroia provided the haunting music which excellently sets the overall tone of the game.
Similar to his older piece Last Rose in a Desert Garden (which he has just recently re-released), Kyratzes expounds further on his pacifist views in the game, making effective use of the artificial intelligence concept in conveying his philosophy and commentary on current moral attitudes. The game creates a deep emotional impact not unlike the one provided by LRiaDG. This time, however, he has taken on a more hopeful and positive stance.
TIO‘s story-telling follows a rather linear track, though there are some objects (the “wall messages”) that goad you indirectly in continuing on with the game. Kyratzes has made the game a bit more interactive than its predecessor; however, it would be difficult to describe more without spoiling the story. One thing is for sure, though: according to him (see this article), everything in the game does have significance and that the story is definitely not open-ended.
Probably the only thing I’m not that keen on with the game is its heavy reliance on “code” puzzles (for lack of a better term). Almost every part of the story relied on that single type of puzzle, even as it was interspersed with other object puzzles. It could possibly be acceptable because of the setting’s bleakness; however, certain objects such as the computer screens (and the AI!) show the advancement of science, and I doubt if they’d have still relied on so many pieces of numeric passwords.
In my opinion, The Infinite Ocean marks Kyratzes’s growth more in story-telling than in game design. I would suggest making longer adventures, but for now, the adventures’ current sizes fit me to a tee. I heartily recommend the game to anyone willing to take on a Myst-like adventure game, and one that has a well thought-out plot.