Every now and again, throughout our video gaming lives, we come across titles that produce such an emotive response, that they stay with us forever. It can be through sadness, excitement, difficulty and even memorable moments of gaming glory. It can even be an eclectic list of games, as for me, some of my most memorable games have been from Epic to Gunship 2000 and Wing Commander III & IV to Star Wars Battlefront’s X-Wing VR experience. A list that I look back on with rose-tinted glasses, or VR goggles. However, there’s now a new game that has just been added to this list, and it comes in the form of Mixtvision and Oktomotive’s FAR: Lone Sails as it journeys towards a release on the Nintendo Switch.
This side-scrolling adventure follows the trials and tribulations of a young girl who travels across a desolate wasteland in her utterly charming, steam-punk vehicle. There’s no tutorial or guide to ease you into its gameplay, it’s a premise that you need to learn for yourself, from activating the functions of your land-based craft to working out the solutions to a series of puzzles in order to advance. However, there’s never anything here too complicated or difficult to work out. It all adds to produce a charm to the game; something that this particular title contains a lot of, from the little girl and her inflated rain-coat to the functionality of keeping your craft running.
The majority of the landscapes upon which you traverse are presented in a monochrome-style aesthetic, with only a few items highlighted in colour, such as our protagonist’s coat and the see-through vial of the vehicle’s fuel-tank; as well as the ever-important red glow of important buttons. This gives an effective portrayal of the bleakness that surrounds the reasons for your journey. There’s no story of sorts here though, although there is a theme that runs along through everything that you do. However, the magic of this particularly title, is that you can make of the story however way you wish. Is it about a young girl who is running from something, or is it that you are searching for something? Whatever it is, it’s completely up to you to decide. What it is, however, is a journey. One that produces an emotive response from whoever is playing it.
Your main objective is to reach wherever it is you are heading towards. In order to do this, you need to maintain the running of your craft through a series of scenarios. You must take responsibility for re-fuelling your craft, keeping it pushing forward and releasing its build up of steam. Along the way, you come across a variety of containers, from small cubes to larger barrels. These in turn supply the fuel that is needed, with the smaller cubes giving half a tank and the barrels supplying a full-tank. You can even hang up reserves on a series of hooks within the interior of your craft to keep you stocked up. However, there’s usually a plentiful supply to keep you going forward.
Along the way, certain obstructions stop you from progressing, bringing your craft to a halt. These areas usually signify some sort of puzzle that needs to be solved in order to advance; usually in the form of some light platforming, exploration and pressing a sequence of buttons. By solving these areas, you can usually acquire extra parts for your vehicle, ranging from sails that can used to propel your forwards when the wind blows to a hoover-styled attachment that sucks up fuel reserves as you travel over them. With these extra components, comes extra responsibility; from welding broken parts to extinguishing fires should they break out. Again, these are rarely too difficult to solve, but do serve as a nice change of pace.
The magic of this game lies in its ability to constantly wow you, or set you in awe of what the game holds for you next, or what you may next come across. These can range from the unexpected occurrences within your vehicle to the breathtaking sights that decorate the landscapes; some of which can also present environmental hazards that you need to escape or shelter from. Its in these elements of the game that keeps you pushing forward and playing, as everything here is beautifully presented. The whole aesthetic of the game is finely detailed, from the wasted landscapes to the weather and cycles between day and night.
Throughout your journey, you can adjust your camera to zoom in and out of whatever task or environment you find yourself in. This allows you to pan ahead to see what may be coming up as you scale the landscape in your craft, or take a closer look around you as you jump from station-to-station within your vehicle or traverse the platforms of a number of derelict stations that holds some form of secret to reveal. Throughout your time with the game, there’s always something going on or something new to look at. However, it runs at a such a smooth and manageable pace, that you easily have plenty of time to get to grips with all of its mechanics and take in the wonders of the sights that appear around you. The journey you undertake contains an overwhelming sense of pleasure, not in what you come across, but in how it plays in general.
On average, the game has an overall playtime of around three hours. In terms of video gaming, its a relatively short experience. However, its a few hours that are simply unforgettable and in all honesty, a simple joy to work through. In fact, my time with the game was so unforgettable, that I simply jumped back in for a second tour once the end credits rolled up. This is also a game that has journeyed a release on various other platforms before this release, casting its sails on the PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. However, this is a game that feels more at home on the Switch, suiting its architecture perfectly, especially with its portable nature and impressive visuals whilst in handheld mode.
Overall, FAR: Lone Sails embarks on a beautiful journey with its release upon the Nintendo Switch. It may be short in length, but its content and overall playability makes this a worthy investment. It’s simply beautiful and breath-taking, with clear, concise graphics that inspire awe to a very playable setting that evokes all manner of emotion from the player. All of its executions are simple to learn, as are its puzzles which aren’t too difficult to work out and from a technical viewpoint, runs sublimely on Ninty’s machine, whether it’s docked or in handheld mode. This is a game that is more about the journey than the story and for that alone, makes this a very unforgettable experience and will most definitely be a trip that I’ll be taking time and time again.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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FAR: Lone Sails Nintendo Switch Video Game Review
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 10/10
Sound - 10/10
Replay Value - 10/10
User Review( votes)
FAR: Lone Sails journeys towards a beautiful destination with a charming and emotive tale that stays with you long after it has finished.