FAR: Lone Sails is the debut title from the Swiss developer Okomotive. Its one of those Indie games that feature beautiful environments, a great soundtrack and an intriguing premise. Some might call them “walking simulators” but FAR: Lone Sails is so much more than that. You as a player only have one objective – getting on board of your four-wheeled transport and heading out. Where to? That remains to be seen. Time to find out if the game is worth your hard-earned money.
Set in an unspecified post-apocalyptic world, the game follows an unnamed protagonist with a red raincoat that seems one size too big. Having just buried someone close to them, the player character embarks on a journey through a fascinating and desolate wasteland using a giant train-sailboat hybrid. The main peculiarity of the game is it’s total absence of dialogue, and any real narrative. There is not even a proper tutorial, with the exception of a couple of on-screen controls in the first few moments of the game.
Typically, video games that are set in post-apocalyptic realities usually focus on the concept of survival, such as creating weapons, fighting hostile individuals, and eating maggots satisfy your hunger. FAR: Lone Sails tries a different approach. Instead, you drive your vehicle through eerie (and sometimes disturbing) environments, trying find… something. As a concept for a video game it may seem quite boring, but FAR: Lone Sails is a game that is committed to keeping the player busy – from maintaining your locomotive in tip-top shape, to searching for fuel and solving an occasional puzzle. Put those three aspects together, alongside the games fantastic soundtrack, and you will see what makes FAR: Lone Sails so special
You must keep your ship maintained at all times if you want to keep moving forward.
As far as gameplay goes, it’s relatively simple – you only ever go to the right side of the screen, retrieving objects like wooden crates, chairs and books, that are then converted into fuel, which keeps your transport going. Speaking of, during the game the player will be able to upgrade their colossal vehicle with a variety of features to better deal with the harsh environments of the wasteland.
Periodically, the the player’s journey will interrupted by obstacles, which will often force you to stop and get out of your vehicle to pull a lever or clear out an obstruction. The player’s transport is controlled and managed by pressing buttons assigned to each individual mechanism. You refuel your ship, press buttons to keep the engine powered, manage sails and make repairs in case of fires. It might seem monotone, but the game constantly throws new stuff at the player to keep them from becoming bored. Throughout your journey you won’t be fighting any real enemies – instead you will have face the wrath of Mother Nature, which is a nice change of pace from all the shooter games that have come out lately.
The puzzles, while simple, offer a moderate challenge and break up the driving segments quite nicely.
Let me get one thing straight – the game is beautiful. The graphics style that the developers have adopted is very pretty, and you can’t help but look at the incredibly detailed background while your vehicle is on the move. It’s clear that the developers have put a lot of work into their debut title. The game runs smoothly, and throughout my playtime I didn’t encounter any bugs or drops in FPS, which, to be honest, should be a norm in today’s Indie games.
The soundtrack works very well as background music as you manage your ship, and further strengthens the atmosphere of the game. If your ship runs out of fuel, the music comes to a halt, and once the colossal vehicle starts up once again, so does the music, making for some epic moments.
Nature is the antagonist of the game.
Like all similar games, FAR: Lone Sails won’t be a 10+ hour journey. The game can be completed in a mere three hours, with the majority of that time spent quietly sailing from one puzzle to another The game does feature achievements, and if you are a completionist, you probably will have to go through the game a second time, but other than that, replayability is minimal.
The environments in the game are all very varied.
While the game is on the short side, it still remains a wonderful visual experience, overflowing with artistic charm. Fans of games like LIMBO and INSIDE should definitely try this one out, especially if it’s on sale. You can buy FAR: Lone Sails here.