I’m gonna be brutal here. I really enjoyed Far: Lone Sails, it amused me …it tickled the proverbial nip and charmed me from start to finish. But the more I think about it, the more I confuse myself with my own opinion of it.
Developer, Okomotive plug it on Steam with; “Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization. Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions. How far can you make it? What will you find?”
I’m just going to break that down for you. “Traverse a dried-out seabed littered with the remains of a decaying civilization” – The word “traverse” implies some thoughtful and challenging platforming (er..No) and the seabed is bloody loaded with stuff to pick up.
“Keep your unique vessel going, overcome numerous obstacles” – As I just mentioned, the seabed is crowded with junk, junk you can burn in your fusion reactor (it’s not really a fusion reactor, I just watched Back to the Future). My Vessel was chock full of stuff to burn; chairs, lamps, crates, suitcases …toilets – all fuel for the beast!
“Overcome numerous obstacles and withstand the hazardous weather conditions” – Some shallow physics-based puzzles which were really not puzzles at all. There’s only one way to go, towards the solution up ahead and as for weather conditions, Pah! A thunder/hail storm which isn’t able to entirely damage your Mad Max machine due to the over head cover available and there’s a Volcano eruption at the end which you have to run away from, except the required pace needed is that of geriatric Hamster towing a crate of avocado mash with pesto and bacon bits (I’m hungry again).
“How far can you make it? What will you find?” – All the bloody way, thanks. And I found bugger all too! Seriously, I read that quote as a challenge with a touch mystery tagged on. Gently caressing my ego like a Fabergé egg being pelted with feathers. The expedition lasted 90 minutes and all I found was stuff to burn. Gits!
All that said, It was still fun, enjoyable and relaxing. It begins at a grave, paying respects to a loved one apparently, although I saw it as you’ve just disposed of a problem …Mafia style – regardless, its unclear which holds truth (hoping the latter). From the grave you head home, through your home, out the other side, down the beach and into the “Vessel” – it appears I had already packed. Away we go. There are no loading screens, no menu at the start. Just a no-nonsense attitude which sets up the minimalistic and tutorial light nature of the experience to follow perfectly.
You play what looks like a cross between Tank Girl and a Kleptomania suffering Red Riding Hood. When entering structures or the sand barge the front face disappears, allowing you to see the interior easily. The vehicle is set up with a few modules from the offset – the engine, the fuel thingy and a firehose. You pick up a few more as you “explore”. Every module is activated by a big red button that you either jump into or push. When you get rolling, when you’ve “found” the sail and the suction tube and wheels with better traction you can really get some speed, this is the only time where that “difficulty” rears its lazy head. Managing your speed by releasing steam from the engine whilst also refuelling and stocking all the debris sucked up by the tube can get somewhat pressing.
On the whole it was all very easy, I’d be shocked if anyone ran out of fuel. Fixing parts with the repair torch and putting out fires didn’t happen often for me and the only proper puzzle that had me perplexed for over 10 minutes was at the end.
Now the sand trawler sim has won more awards than the average Sundance film, presumably for its visual styling and beautiful use of the 3D-2D engine. It may be set within the same universe as Gears of War because the dry desolate world is 50 shades of …contrasting blacks and whites, with the only spots of colour being red or orange. However, its stunning, its genuinely charming and I found myself taking 18 screenshots over the first playthrough.
I found myself chilling out. Comfortable with the trip across the sand wastes, playing entirely one-handed and just taking it all in. Until the ending showed up and left me annoyed, almost livid …Is that it? I genuinely wanted more muddy sand to roll across.
I wanted more puzzles. I wanted fewer resources. Alternate paths. Characters to meet and assist. I wanted a co-operative partner like Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. If any one these could be added then my estimation of the game would sky-rocket. Yet sadly, as it is Far: Lone Sails falls neatly into the “experience” category rather than into the “Game” category and all I can really hope for is some planned content further down the line but for now this is definitely a title more suited for the mobile market.
OVERALL: 6.4/10 AVERAGE
Written by Michael Jones
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Far: Lone Sails, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)