The most interesting feature of FAR Lone Sails was the fact that we are moving something that appears to be a literal land ship across vast distances, with no real clue as to where the journey could potentially end. FAR Changing Tides expands upon the idea, while moving us away from land and taking us on a journey across wide bodies of water.
The demo for FAR Changing Tides did not waste time putting us back in control of another large vessel. This time around, we have traded in our wheels for a large ship with multiple adjustable sails. And as usual, we don’t have a clue as to where we are going. Just that we need to get somewhere.
The first task was raising the mast and hoisting the sails. The game makes the simple act of hooking up a cable look far more grander than it actually is, but FAR is all about the emotional connection and visual presentation. In many aspects, it is like a 2.5D version of Journey – slow to build up but once it gets going, you are hooked all the way to the end.
From earliest possible point in the demo, FAR Changing Tides makes it real clear that it is more active than the previous game. And is it evident through the adjustable sails. More than just for catching the wind, the sails need constant looking after as they are more than likely to get snagged on the sides of buildings. I must admit, the first time I got hit, I totally misjudged the distance from the building. Then again, it’s hard to gauge distance when you only really see one side. Regardless, damaged sails do slow progress.
The demo threw its first puzzle at me when I came across an abandoned lumber mill. I needed to get the slide out of the way for my ship, and thankfully the puzzle solving has reminded relatively the same since the last game. A bit of platforming and button pushing and it was done. As an added bonus, I even picked up a repair kit for mending my ripped sails.
Music is very important in FAR. You can go for long stretches at a time, and not have anything to do other than to sit tight, admire the background, and probably adjust the sails from time to time. The music ties everything together, I suppose. The maintenance, the shifting backgrounds, it all comes together in a way that’s really hard to into words.
The final leg of the demo sees me operating a locomotive to make progress. I needed to move a shipping container, and I figured if I explored enough, I’ll find a way to make that happen. And that’s where the train comes in. Through the puzzle, the game introduces power and pressure. Much like the last game, I needed to find stuff to burn for the engine. It’s more than just wooden boxes here though. It looks like you can feed anything that burns to the engine. A nice touch.
By puzzle’s end, I got a new engine and paddles to push anything out of the way.
And that’s it for the demo. I’d say it did a very good job of setting up the things we can expect when the full game comes out. It didn’t go so far as to delve into diving, but at least the demo allowed me to swim around and have a feel for underwater events.
FAR Changing Tides is looking like it will widen the experience established by its predecessor, FAR Lone Sails. Look forward to it when the game comes out on March 1st, 2022.
For more information on the game, check the game’s Steam page.