When I had the chance to see FAR: Solo Sails before it came out, I for sure thought it was going to be a huge deal. For me it was similar to games like Limbo Where Inside, but based on vehicles and with more promising than dark themes. I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on it FAR: changing tidesand I must say: I’m really happy to have had the chance to play there.
FAR: changing tides is a side-scrolling adventure game. It’s presented with a very minimal story – in fact, there’s no in-game dialogue, its entire narrative being revealed through backgrounds and environmental cues. You play as a nameless boy who must escape an apocalyptic event that has caused surrounding towns to flood. As a boy, you can pick up items, jump, push levers and more as you explore Changing tides’ aquatic environments. But just like its predecessor, most of the game takes place in a vehicle – this time a real boat instead of The lonely sails land vessel.
This vehicle is your primary means of transportation, your home, the main location of the game, and much like a character itself. The ship in Changing tides is a large multi-piece ship, much like the Land Ship in Lone Sails. Likewise, you’ll need to refuel it, raise and lower its sails, and repair any damage it takes. Just like in Lone Sailsin FAR: changing tides you don’t really have control over where the ship goes – it constantly moves to the right. You can, however, slow it down and even reverse to pick up items you may have passed through, like debris that can be burned in the furnace to create steam to propel the ship. Eventually, however, you gain vertical control over your ship, as part of the ship upgrades you learn throughout the game.
FAR: changing tides has a brilliant game design. Each puzzle you solve is actually a lesson in how to play the game. Each upgrade you get for your ship requires you to first use the mechanism you acquire before you even install it on the ship. Even at the start of your journey, you are not immediately admitted to your large, multi-room ship. Instead, you are eased into it, lest you feel overwhelmed. For this reason, despite being a game about driving a vehicle, operating this vehicle never feels overwhelming, thanks to the brilliant way developer Okomotive presents each new element.
Not only is FAR: changing tides brilliantly designed, it is also beautiful and immersive. I appreciated the moments of serene navigation in Lone Sailsand Changing tides features a fair amount of similar travel moments. However, FAR: changing tidesSails require constant handling to catch the wind better, which means you have to constantly fiddle with the controls. During these long moments of travel in Lone Sails I used the time to organize my fuel and other supplies. In Changing tides I have to stay at the helm if I want to maximize my speed. That said, you will still have the ability to fold up these sails and dive: FAR: changing tides optionally allows you to turn your boat into a submarine. Although diving is primarily used to get around obstacles, I would have liked to see a little more gameplay involved with diving, instead of using it primarily as a means of getting under obstacles.
Although there are certainly lost opportunities with the Changing tides’ submersible sections, its biggest disappointment is its lack of emotional impact for me. FAR: Solo Sails was an emotional journey – a journey that beat and tested not only the Earthship, but also the player, while ending on a hopeful note. FAR: changing tides feels mechanical and a bit soulless, like it’s a mandatory undertaking – something to fill in the blanks before a possible sequel. Globally, Changing tides lacked the buildup and climax that Lone Sails had.
Always, FAR: changing tides is a good sequel to FAR: Solo Sails. This sets the stage for a possible trilogy, and while there’s nothing concrete (which I’ve heard), I’m anticipating a third game to complete this possible trilogy in the making. Despite my few complaints with Changing tides, I’m excited to see where a third game would take the series – and there’s certainly room to add co-op. A FAR cooperative play would be amazing. Here’s to hoping.
A Steam key was provided to us for this review.