Platforms: PS4, XBOX1, Microsoft Windows, OS X
In FAR: Lone Sails, you play a small, red-clothed figure and when the game opens you’re standing next to a the grave of (presumably?) your father. You then decide to set out on an adventure in the “Okomotive”, a machine that’s part steam engine/part sailing ship across a desolate landscape to an unknown destination.
The gameplay revolves around keeping your ship moving forward by stoking the boiler with resources you find in your travels, keeping your speed up by hitting the accelerator, venting steam to give you a little speedboost and even sometimes settling back to relax, using your sails to proceed. Along the way you will encounter small puzzle sections requiring you to usually hit a series of buttons to remove the obstacle in your way and allow you to proceed, though occasionally you will need to use the abilities and tools within the ship itself. Most of these puzzles can be completed at your leisure though there are a couple of instances in the game where speed is entirely of the essence.
This is the debut game from Swiss Developer Okomotive and while not quite a “walking simulator” where the game is entirely focused on exploring a narrative and sharing the story with you, this is still one of those instances where it’s more about the journey than the destination. The world you inhabit is presented without comment or explanation and large sections of the game will require little in the way of interaction from you, giving the player ample time to enjoy the beautiful instrumental soundtrack (which I enjoyed so much I paid for the extra DLC and bought the soundtrack) and admire this near post-apocalyptic world with it worn out buildings and dried sea beds hinting at some previous calamity.
There’s no NPCs to interact with, no enemies to fight, there’s only you and your ship, and you’ll find yourself growing attached to it the more you spend time within it, the more you begin to master the rhythm of the various switches and buttons that need to be tended to. The ship becomes as much a character as the mute figure you control, your companion and shelter against the storms that show up from time to time. It breathes and hisses and growls, turbines whir, steam billows and sparks shoot into the darkness as you urge it to take you ever further into the wilderness.
I completed the game in around three hours, the short running time reflected in the low price, and it left me feeling satisfied by the end. I encountered no major technical glitches, though there are a couple of niggles. When I first started the game I was using keyboard and mouse to play but the tutorial prompts were all showing controller buttons instead. This was because it interpreted my Saitek joystick as being a controller and there is no way to change that within the game at the moment. You need to unplug any controllers if you want to use the keyboard/mouse.
There’s also no option at present to remap keys and while the ones they have chosen are serviceable, at present this is actually a game I would strongly recommend be played with a controller. It just feels far more natural. The developer has also advised through the Steam forums that they’re planning to put the ability to rebind keys in with the next patch for the game.
You will also occasionally run into issues where objects in the foreground obstruct things you’re trying to see or paths you’re trying to follow, but this is a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things. These two points aside, the game ran flawlessly and I encountered no crashes or issues with my save game. It’s lovely to see such a polished release on day one.
If you’re a fan of games such as What Remains of Edith Finch or Never Alone then I’d strongly recommend checking this one out, it’s worth your time.
FAR: Lone Sails is now available on multiple platforms.