Irregular as my sessions have been lately, it seems like every one of them needs to begin with a few moments spent reorienting myself not just to the controls and what I was doing in my last play session, but just where the heck everything IS on the map.
|Plenty of ice to be found up north.|
There was a good deal of note-scouring and map-examining as I made my rounds of the planet once more to gather my supplies, and I was reminded again of just how enjoyable meandering around in Martian Dreams is. It's a small game world by modern comparisons, to be sure, but I think less is more in some instances - I always had a goal to progress toward, whether that was Bill and Jane's or the power station, and it never felt too far away, like I'd be spending most of my time trying to just deal with everything the game might throw at me in-between points A and B. So too was I not horribly distracted by a dozen other points of interest along the way to either sidetrack me from my immediate goal or to get filed away against dozens of other things to explore later. It strikes a nice balance, enough nooks and crannies to poke into if one wants to, but not so much that it starts to overwhelm the rest of the experience. Fast travel does alleviate some of this potential tedium and/or pacing problems in modern games, but that presents other sorts of issues - there's something very satisfying about how tight the game world of Martian Dreams is.
|Time to find out how green my thumb is.|
|I'd be more inclined to put the "flesh" in quotes...|
Once I had the body itself, though, I was off to the races again, and hoo boy was it hard to stop afterward. Having grown the body in Hellas, it was just a short jaunt to the Dream Machine to tell Prektesh the new body was ready for him. As the designated leader of the Hellas community, he took the responsibility of attempting the transfer himself. He would prepare himself to transfer his consciousness into the new body - all I need to was place the sapling into the machine and throw the switch. Back in the real world, I did exactly that, and after a few moments, our efforts were rewarded - Prektesh stirred in his new body, hale and hearty, and all seemed well for both him and the Martians as a whole.
|I do like the altered portrait for the ailing Prektesh.|
So saying, Prektesh breathed (photosynthesized?) his last.
We spent a moment in mourning for his brave actions, and hoped what we had learned in the process would be enough to ensure they had not been in vain.
The trek to Elysium was swift thanks to the transport tubes, and Tekapesh finally relented upon seeing the fruition of our efforts to grow another Martian body. He conceded access to the Elysium Dream Machine, and agreed to give the Earthlings their bodies back - though with a warning not to make them wait too long for an alternative.
|It's a nice touch that dream-me has the same inventory |
as real-me here.
Reminding myself this was indeed only a dream, hoping I wouldn't be proven wrong in mere moments, I looked them over, and found myself with a grand total of $60. (Only one thing to do if they're all dead, go through their pockets and look for loose change...)
Leaving the room led me to a horse auction, with three up for sale, one of which was a familiar (if equine) face, Smith the talking horse! Considering how unhelpful his clues had been in the past, however, I opted instead to bid on an ornery gray horse that seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about something. Winning the auction revealed why - he was no horse, but Wyatt Earp! So freed from his dream, I moved on to the next one.
|I hope he doesn't ask me to whitewash a fence next.|
Melies was next, through an obelisk depicting one of his more famous pictures. He was trapped in a room with the walls closing in on him, and it took some clever maneuvering to make my way to a can of oil to de-rust the hinges on the door out - remembering I could move diagonally went a long way toward a successful excursion!
It was brief, though, so it wasn't long before I moved on to the last dream, that of Lowell. And oh, what a dream it was.
|Even dreams may hold some truth to them...|
I navigated past the asteroid belt to Jupiter, using the bow to keep the red spot from moving to where it would cause some serious trouble, past Saturn (littered in farming tools), and found Lowell on Uranus. He needed help in getting past the monster on Neptune and finding Pluto beyond, so off I went to shoot it down with my (or rather Cupid's) bow, then sought out a direction to go with a telescope. Southwest seemed promising from what I saw, and sure enough, there was an icy spot where Lowell presumed it might be. After using the mirror to signal him with my findings, he too was released from his dream.
|Earthlings saved... but still more to do.|
We'll see how the rest of the game pans out!