As soon as I saw the first few strangely unique and beautiful screenshots of FAR: Lone Sails, I knew I had to play this game. I’m an admitted sucker for side-scrolling games, and the mix of that beloved genre with this beautiful art was too much for me to pass up. Did Far: Lone Sails satisfy my lust for scrolling right until the credits roll or did it blow a gasket and leave me stranded on the side of a desolate albeit beautiful road?
According to developer Okomotive and Mixtvision, FAR: Lone Sails is an atmospheric vehicle adventure game. It’s not necessarily going to test your hand-eye coordination or your button mashing skills. Instead, it focuses on providing an almost zen-like experience, where your only real job is keeping this strange vehicle rolling through this even stranger landscape.
You start out as this little character dressed in red. You scroll right through your old ravaged home until you arrive at this giant, steampunk-ish vehicle. It’s basically four stories high and there are buttons everywhere. There is no dialogue in the game and no instructions, so you’ll need to figure everything out on your own. That’s no big deal, however, because the game is fairly intuitive. Plus, figuring out the vehicle’s functions is part of the fun and the charm of FAR: Lone Sails.
As you roll along, you’ll need to collect trash, like strangely marked boxes, old chairs, discarded bells, etc. that your ship converts to energy. You place these items in one machine, push the button and it’s sucked up and siphoned into the engine as some green goo. With the engine meter full of green goo, you then race over and press the engine button, and the big beast starts to roll. This takes constant attention because the button will slowly release. You’ll need to push it back in to keep everything moving. Plus steam will build up, so you need to keep an eye on this meter and press another button to release the steam before something blows up. This is the crux of the game: keeping your vehicle moving, while simultaneously minding your various meters, putting out fires (literally) and solving any problems that pop up before something critical fails.
In addition to the engine button, the steam-release button, and the trash-to-energy button, you also have a button that will release an anchor and stop your big ship in its tracks. This one is important because besides managing the ship, you’ll also need to mind the way ahead. There are certain obstacles you’ll need to clear before you can carry on, and you don’t want to just bash into them. Plus, until you get the vacuum add-on, you’ll need to stop and jump out to collect energy/trash as you find it.
The vacuum add-on is cool and lets you keep rolling as you pick up valuable energy, but the first add-on you’ll find is probably the most important: the sail. You have a flag on the top of your ship, and when you notice it blowing forward, you can climb to the roof of your rolling behemoth and put up your sail. This obviously will help you save energy, but it will take damage in storms and if you smash it into the environment, so you’ll need to be ready to race to the top and bring it down at a moments notice.
Some damage is unavoidable, and this is where the next ship upgrade comes in: the firehose and workshop. When any of the ship’s modules starts on fire, you’ll need to race up, grab the firehose and drag it to the fire. Once the fire is out, you’ll need drag what looks like a welder to the affected area until that unit’s health meter rises to peak performance. Managing all of this while rolling through this desolate and dried up world is where the game shines. When you get it down, it’s an almost cathartic experience. In addition to vehicle managing, you’ll also be solving puzzles. At various points, you encounter roadblocks that require you to get out of your ship and solve some interesting environmental puzzles. They weren’t very difficult, but I still enjoyed solving them and exploring the world.
The game performed flawlessly on my OG PlayStation 4 and looked beautiful. The music really added to the melancholy and the ambience and helped create the relaxing experience of playing this game.
It’s not perfect, however. The puzzles were never that puzzling, and the game is short. Really short. I finished it less than three hours after I booted it up, and that included nearly an hour of messing around. There is a trophy for finishing it in less than 90 minutes and that would be very doable. In fact, I plan on doing that later today. On that note, It’s also unfortunate that it doesn’t have a platinum trophy, but the good news is that it’s one of those games that is fun and interesting enough to warrant replaying until all of those trophies are on your digital trophy shelf.
It might be a little pricey for the amount of content currently here, but I really loved my time with the game, and I’ll probably spend a little more time collecting all of the trophies the game has to offer. FAR: Lone Sails is beautiful to look at, fun to play, and strangely enough, comforting to experience.
FAR: Lone Sails PS4 Review
- Overall - Fantastic - 8.5/108.5/10
Far: Lone Sails is several things, including a vehicle adventure game, a vehicle managing sim and a post-apocalyptic puzzle game. It’s a strange mix, but it’s as fun to play as it is pretty to look at. Its definitely on the short side, but if you’re like me, it will be an experience that you won’t soon forget.
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Reviewed using base PS4.