It’s been a while since my Act 2 post, for which I apologize—I got too sucked into actually catching up to write about catching up, I guess. Anyway, if you’re here I’m guessing you’ve read all of Act 2, and you’re ready to start Act 3. That means spoilers for Act 2 are fair game after the jump. Shall we?
Act 3 continues our adventures with John, Dave, and Rose, while also introducing the final member of our main party: gardenGnostic a.k.a. Jade Harley.
Jade lives by herself on a tropical island with her weirdly superpowered dog Becquerel (Bec for short) and her dead taxidermied grandfather. Jade seems oddly aware of the mechanics of the game for all that she’s never played it. Through her we’re introduced to the idea of dream selves, alternate versions of the Sburb players who live on planets orbiting Skaia and awake when the player’s real self is asleep (Jade’s dream self lives on Prospit, a connected planet-and-moon). She also seems to know about a lot of stuff before it happens. Jade’s a lot of fun and a lot mysterious—some of the twists in her history still remain unrevealed in Act 6—and despite her innocent-seeming speech patterns, she is a badass with basically any sort of firearm.
John doesn’t have a lot of screentime this time around. Mainly we see him alchemize a ton of increasingly ridiculous stuff, culminating in a giant hammer and a laptop shaped like Bill Cosby, and then head off toward his gate. Elsewhere, John’s dad has somehow managed to get into the game as well, although not as a server or client player. Dad scuffles with a hateful and non-human character named Jack Noir, and is briefly imprisoned.
Dave spends this act first fighting his Bro for his Bro’s copy of Sburb (Dave’s own copy fell out his window) and then bringing Rose into the game as her server player.
Rose has to deal with all the shit that John has already dealt with—meteors (which light the forest around her house on fire) and prototyping her sprite (which she does with her dead cat Jaspers, creating Jaspersprite) among other things—and enters the game with seconds to spare. We also learn more about her house, her past, and her relationship with her mom.
We’re also introduced to the Peregrine Mendicant and the Aimless Renegade, more non-human characters from the future of the kids’ world who appear similar to the Wayward Vagabond. Like WV, these two mess around with futuristic-looking tech and attempt to influence the four kids with varying levels of success.
This Act, far more so than the ones before it, really raises the stakes for the characters and sets up for what’s to come. Coming out of it, we have a better understanding of the Sburb game’s mechanics and the backgrounds/situations of all the main four human characters. It also starts to get more complicated time-and-space-wise than previous Acts, possibly because Jade is such an anomaly compared to the other kids.