After the success of Limbo, atmospheric platform games without dialogue have become almost a separate genre, in which few people perform successfully. The Okomotive team went a slightly different way: the essence was left about the same, only you need to travel in their games not on your own two feet, but on clunkers, which are supposedly collected from garbage. This is true for both FAR: Lone Sails and the new FAR: Changing Tides. The sequel has become noticeably larger and more ambitious than its predecessor, but remains the same soothing adventure about loneliness.
Completely alone in FAR: Changing Tides
If in the first part we traveled through the desert, then in the second we go to surf the sea. Raise the mast, secure it with a rope and turn the sails in different directions depending on the direction of the wind. Music reacts to these actions – it becomes louder, then it calms down. And if the mast touches something and “breaks”, run after the burner and repair it, just standing next to the desired object.
FAR: Changing Tides doesn’t punish mistakes – on the contrary, it expects you to do something wrong. With each obstacle overcome, there are more and more things that need to be monitored, because a ship originally equipped with only sails turns into a full-fledged vehicle over time. The stern module allows you to cling to objects on the bottom of the sea, with the acceleration module it is possible to maintain maximum speed for several seconds without overheating. Among the upgrades there is also an immersion module.
Therefore, the journey in the sequel is not limited to movement from left to right – you also have to visit the bottom of the sea – sometimes due to obstacles on the surface, sometimes due to weather conditions. Thunderstorms, for example, will quickly fold the mast. And if the wind starts to blow in the other direction, the sails will not help. Situations are different, and the presence of such a number of modules allowed the authors to come up with a sufficient number of interesting obstacles. So the timing compared to the first part has more than doubled.
But there is still no plot as such. We only know that we control a boy named To, who is looking for a new home in a flooded world. No dialogues, comments, and even inscriptions – just ruined buildings of civilization that either remained in the sea, or are visible in the background, abandoned and forgotten.
However, as in the first game, such understatement seems to be the right decision. Nothing distracts from the gameplay, from a simple journey into the unknown, during which you never know what awaits you next. Maybe I’ll have to leave the ship and swim in search of fuel – suitcases dumped by someone and sunken rubber ducks will do. Maybe you will need to solve a simple puzzle by interacting with blue-colored levers and buttons.
One of the main complaints about the first part was due to the fact that it lacked moments of calm, when you could just enjoy the beauties. The authors, apparently, took note of this and added episodes during which nothing happens for a long time – you just kindle a fire or turn the sails, not caring about anything else. In my opinion, such episodes are boring – if they last longer than 20 seconds, you want something to finally happen.
At the same time, this shortcoming does not spoil the impression as a whole, and FAR: Changing Tides does a great job of helping to forget about the real world for a while. It is impossible to lose here, there are no hopeless situations. If something is broken, it can be fixed immediately. If you swam further than necessary, just press a couple of buttons or levers and swim back. Even severe weather conditions do not scare you – you always remain calm and solve problems as they arise.
Sequels like this are rare, and it’s great to see a great FAR: Lone Sails idea taken off. And in almost every sense: both the duration has increased, and the number of mechanics has increased. Playing games is one of the best forms of escapism, and FAR: Changing Tides proves it.
Pluses: the enveloping atmosphere of the destroyed world; a variety of situations from which you have to extricate yourself in order to advance; the emergence of new opportunities allows you not to get bored; pleasant music.
Cons: quiet moments when there is almost nothing to do, boring.