FAR: Lone Sails is a side-scrolling vehicular adventure puzzler that is full of harrowing beauty and driven by a curiously vague plot. Originally released on PC in 2018, created by our friends at Okomotive and published by Mixtvision, this memorable journey now comes to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
We begin with our protagonist standing over a grave, splendidly attired in red with a cold and desolate landscape all around them. Straight away this sharp contrast between our hero and the surrounding world makes them feel at odd’s with the very world they inhabit, lost and truly alone. From here you will board your rig and set off on an adventure across the barren ruins of what looks like a once thriving and inventive civilisation. Okomotive opted to forgo the regular wasteland tropes of monsters, bondage-clad bandits and Tina Turner in favour of simple yet effective survival and exploration mechanic. What stood out immediately aside from the beautifully designed world and intuitive gameplay was the sheer lack of narrative or plot points, yet the premise felt natural right from the off, keep heading forward.
Your trusty rig is where you will spend the larger portion of the game. Micromanaging its functions from maintaining momentum, applying breaks when needed (granted this wasn’t my strong point), keeping the engine fuelled up etc. Refuelling and gathering resources will keep you busy as you chug through the countryside. Like another wasteland hero, our little red friend has the least fuel-efficient vehicle imaginable so the early parts of the game will consist of keeping an eye out for fuel items to keep the tank topped up. This comes completely naturally and has been designed to be a simple process thanks in part to the noir style colour scheme, everything you need to use inside the rig is highlighted in a vibrant red and it took all of 2 minutes to test each switch and understand its function as the journey began.
At regular intervals in gameplay, we were forced to stop at outposts and factories, and it was at these sections where the idea of what is going on in this world started to form. Looking across at the wrecks of huge ships, now mere rusted husks on the rocks, the silhouette of sprawling city skylines stretching into the bleak distance like the skeletal remains of an old world. Imagination is the order of the day here and we were discussing our theories for what might be happening as each new location unfolded.
Departing the rig in these locations we were treated to some good old-fashioned platforming puzzling to remove any obstacles blocking the path as well as install new upgrades. A welding torch to handle repairs, a larger fuel tank and a nifty set of sails which can be used to either glide along smoothly when the wind is in your favour, allowing for a brief reprieve from engine management, or combine the power of wind with engine power to really get some speed up.
Although the game may be devoid of traditional combat you are regularly under threat from the elements themselves, taking a pounding from hellacious hail and treacherous tornados become a frantic scene as you fight to keep the rig moving. Maintaining power, loading the fuel and releasing the steam gauge that explodes if the pressure gets too great becomes a juggling act, especially if fires break out or components need to be welded. Day and night cycles also feature, the nights turn ultra dark adding tension as you navigate the land ahead with just the lights on your rig to illuminate a few feet in front of you.
FAR delivers its gameplay mechanics at a steady pace ensuring you have enough time to get the hang of each one. This ensures you always have something to be getting on with but doesn’t grind you so much that you can’t admire the beautifully designed landscapes you are travelling through. These landscapes, much like the outposts, are really what tell the story (so to speak) for this adventure, although not a single word is spoken nor a piece of lore text provided, you are left to piece together your own idea of what may have happened which was refreshing and surprisingly engaging.
From the minute I started to play FAR: Lone Sails I was hooked, drawn in by simple but addictive gameplay and a world that genuinely intrigued me and kept me engaged throughout the roughly 2-hour adventure. Coupled with a melancholy music score this is one of those titles that just hits all the right notes and stays with you, some of the mechanics could do with a slight bit of refining but as the first title from Okomotive, this is a class act that’s certainly worth your time.
TBG Score: 9/10
PlayStation 4 Essentials:
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 02/04/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Vehicular Adventure
Download link: PSN