When I first played FAR Lone Sails I felt sad. Sad that not enough people were talking about what should be one of the best indie games of all time. Here’s a game that brings in tightly designed mechanics, an emotive story, and a flawed-yet-apt concept that reminds us of how creative puzzle games can become.
Despite the lack of buzz I saw on my social feeds, I was happy to see a sequel was coming in the form of FAR Changing Tides. One of the best indie games of all time gets a follow-up? Count me in!
FAR Changing Tides is set in a forgotten land in which you play as a boy setting out on a voyage to find a new home. Much like the first game, you head this journey using a ship you must operate and maintain on your own, keeping up your speed and pushing past any obstacle that appears in your way.
THE PERFECT SEQUEL?
If you’re familiar with FAR Lone Sails, the previous game in the FAR universe, the changes made into the sequel are minimal. While there are obvious improvements made across the board, the game is intended as a companion piece to the one that came before rather than a straight-up sequel.
If you’re a newcomer to the game though, the short of it is: you must pilot a ship across this strange landscape, controlling every function the ship needs to move forward. Pour fuel into the engine, ensure it doesn’t overheat, and switch to full sails once the wind picks up. Changing Tides is a game that keeps you constantly moving, responding to whatever caution is currently occurring within the ship.
And at times, that can become intense. A thunderstorm hits your ship and suddenly you need to rush around fixing everything. Or if the wind picks up in the opposite direction, you’re suddenly stuffing more fuel into the engine to push through it. Both FAR games are the closest to a Howl’s Moving Castle game I’ve ever played, minus the hot gothic boyfriend vibes.
I’M GIVING HER EVERYTHING SHE’S GOT, CAPTAIN!
The biggest change in FAR Changing Tides is the ship is now a sea vessel. No longer a land vehicle, this adds more verticality to the way you progress through the game. If you hit an obstacle such as an iceberg or buoy, you can simply head downwards underwater. With more puzzles this time around, the way it integrates water into the gameplay loop helps it have a separate identity from the first game.
At around 4-5 hours of playtime, FAR Changing Tides isn’t necessarily a slower or longer game than its predecessor. There’s certainly a chunkier amount of content here, but it also stretches further in the variety of each sequence. For anyone who’s played Lone Sails, it’s worth the payoff to see Changing Tides through to completion (I screamed at the ending). Meanwhile, new players should really go back and treat them both as one experience to see through together.
All-in-all, FAR Changing Tides does all the right things you want from a sequel. It makes visible improvements over the first game, while also not overshadowing what that game did brilliantly. On the other hand, those who couldn’t get on with the original’s micromanagement aspects won’t find it to be anymore lenient.
A copy of FAR Changing Tides on PC was provided by Heaven Media PR for review purposes.
Tested on a PC featuring:
Ryzen 7 3700X Processor
Corsair Vengeance 16GB RAM
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Video Card
Feature Image Credit: Frontier Foundry