The upcoming apocalypse has been depicted in some ways throughout the gaming business. In simply the final month alone, we have now gotten the traditional zombie infestation selection and the much less conventional killer robotic selection. Whereas these adventures are free to indicate the tip as they see match, what they usually miss is that the tip of days would seemingly produce many moments of solitude as properly. That’s one thing indie developer Okomotive nailed with their first effort, FAR: Lone Sails, and one thing they wish to construct from with the sequel, FAR: Altering Tides.
Calling FAR: Altering Tides a full-fledged sequel is a little bit of a misdirect. If something, it may very well be known as a companion piece to the 2018 unique. Whereas that journey put you behind the wheel of a land-based car, the sequel takes place nearly fully on the excessive seas. Your nautical vessel shares similarities to the one from the primary title — there’s a sail to experience the wind with, and a furnace that can be utilized to burn scrap to energy the ship’s paddles. Moreover, you’re free to depart the ship at any time when you must. This may very well be to gather supplies, resolve puzzles, or simply to discover.
When your journey first begins, you don’t even have entry to the watercraft. You’ll first want to achieve it, which is finished via some easy platforming. Alongside the best way, you’ll have to do some swimming as properly, and fortunately, you aren’t restricted by an oxygen meter of some variety. If you wish to chill beneath the floor for a few minutes, be happy to take action. The truth that you aren’t restricted by an oxygen tank is one thing I drastically appreciated — regardless of the gloomy setting, the title isn’t designed to explicitly stress you out in any method. Forcing you to protect air or restrict how deep you could possibly go would have added an pointless degree of frustration to the journey.
Upon reaching the ship and fixing it up with a restore software you come throughout, you may formally set off in your journey. While you first hit the water, you may solely transfer ahead because of your ship’s sails. Earlier than lengthy, you may catch the wind and transfer alongside at a gingerly tempo. There’s a course of to getting all this arrange, although. You’ll have to set the mast up, then latch the sail onto a hook, then lastly alter the sail to the correct place. It’s not as difficult as setting all of this up in actual life, however I respect that it’s not only a one-button course of.
As you progress via Altering Tides, you’ll achieve entry to numerous upgrades for the ship. An important — and fortunately earliest — one you come throughout is the engine room improve. This allows you to start the method of turning scrap you discover in your journey into treasured gasoline on your car. As with organising the sail, you must put the trouble into totally using this characteristic. That you must load the scrap into the furnace, mild the fuse and get it began through the use of a pump-based machine (I’m not an engineer, so don’t count on me to nail the lingo). That is triggered by leaping up and down on a panel close to the furnace itself. When you do get a flame going, you must fastidiously monitor it. In the event you don’t hold pumping it up, the flame will die out. Nevertheless, in the event you pump it up an excessive amount of, the engine will overheat, and you have to to chill it off utilizing a close-by hose. Once more, it’s not tremendous sophisticated, however the course of is concerned sufficient to all the time hold you in your toes.
The opposite upgrades you come throughout aren’t as essential, however in addition they serve a goal. One enables you to purposefully flood the ship, permitting you to navigate underwater. One other attaches a crane to the again, which can be utilized to open new areas or choose up giant items of particles. Using the various sides of the ship is vital to finishing your journey. On the entire, the sport does a wonderful job of spacing out the enhancements over the course of the marketing campaign. You’ve loads of time to get used to utilizing each earlier than you will need to discover ways to use it along with a more moderen improve.
Each improve you unlock helps feed into FAR: Altering Tides‘ puzzle-solving gameplay loop. At frequent factors all through your journey, you’ll come to an space that’s blocked in a roundabout way. Sometimes, it’s a bit of particles that’s too giant to simply be pushed apart by your ship. In these moments, you have to to depart the confines of the craft to determine the way to get previous this barrier. Okomotive doesn’t supply any type of hind or UI so that you can observe, so that you’re by yourself in these moments. Fortunately, the puzzles by no means get too tough to unravel or require an unfair quantity of precision to finish. There have been moments the place I needed to take a step again and take into consideration what wanted to be completed, however nothing that triggered me an excessive amount of of a headache.
What I admired most about the whole expertise is how enjoyable it may be. Certain, there are occasions the place you must repair your ship, however you even have loads of moments to simply watch the world go by, sitting on the entrance of the boat as you ponder how the in-game world got here to the sorry state it’s in. The story is imprecise to the purpose of non-existence, so learning the setting is the one technique to achieve perception into what occurred off-screen. That being mentioned, the shortage of a extra cohesive narrative is my one actual challenge with the whole affair. I perceive desirous to be imprecise and letting the participant work out what occurred on their very own, however just a bit extra readability would have been good.
Sparse as it could be, FAR: Altering Tides’ visible design is excellent. Crumbled buildings and wrecked ships go a great distance in direction of ensuring you understand simply how far gone the world is. The title shines brightest, although, throughout sure setpiece moments. A raging storm highlights the beautiful water physics, whereas a show of illuminated jellyfish provides a jolt of colour to the in any other case muted palette of the sport. The haunting soundtrack helps set the temper throughout these varied moments as properly. Quiet and contemplative for probably the most half however rising in tempo in the course of the extra action-packed sections.
Meditative and slow-paced, FAR: Altering Tides shouldn’t be for everybody. It by no means poses a lot of a problem, and the imprecise story might be nearly fully ignored. Nevertheless, the title’s glorious world design and zen-like gameplay saved me engaged, and the breezy size (sub-10 hours) meant it didn’t overstay its welcome. I do know we’re at the moment being hit with heavy hitters left and proper, however in the event you’re within the temper for one thing somewhat completely different, Okomotive’s sophomore outing is price searching for out.
This overview was based mostly on the PlayStation 5 model of the title. A duplicate was supplied by Frontier Developments.