Far: Lone Sails is a completely original IP from Development Studio Okomotive and Publisher Mixtvision, that is best described as an Indie Vehicle Adventure Game with creative puzzle-elements.
The mechanical workings of the game are very tight and very smart. This is the first game in which I have ever piloted a sort of Land-ship machine, but the design is really intuitive and you learn the ins and outs of running your ship early on. The challenge lies in running your ship efficiently as you traverse the wasteland, and simply keeping the ship running is a complex and entertaining set of tasks.
Many of the puzzles presented are primarily complex obstacles, but they all have a single solution that was always fun to figure out. The pacing of the puzzles was solid, and my only gripe (if that’s even applicable in this case) was that they scaled up so quickly in terms of complexity, and I was only left wanting more. I hope they do a longer sequel, because I would be excited to see what other puzzle-related tricks the Developers gave up their sleeves.
That being said, what I grew to love the most about Far was the way in which the dense atmosphere and setting allowed my imagination to make inferences about the story, which I realized partway through the game was actually a projection of my own thoughts and feelings onto the game.
Much like the softly-defined image on an Expressionist’s canvas, experiencing the atmospheric visuals and audio of Far allowed my imagination to fill in the blanks about a story that may or may not be intended - But this is the conceit of all expressionist work: It challenges many people to explore their own thoughts and feelings by not explicitly giving a whole story away.
One example of this occurring in my playthrough happened early on. The game began for me with a subdued ambience as I explored my character’s home. Having recently become a Dad for the first time in real life, the discovery of an empty stroller in the basement of the home in the game stirred some feelings in me that have cropped up since my daughter was born - Without going into detail, it really grabbed me and made me feel something very early on. I was hooked.
In this way, Far elevates its experience in a way that the triple-A games just can’t and won’t do. Inference and projection are tools that the storytellers from Okomotive have employed to create an experience that will take on a slightly different life with each player.
I noticed the stroller in the basement and my imagination began filling in inferred details of the character and story early on; however, other players might not even notice it at all, as it’s simply a minute detail (from an artistic standpoint).
I expect this would be a different experience for me in two or five or ten years, because my playthrough at that time will be informed by my experiences of that time. I’m looking forward to playing again when that time comes, and I couldn’t recommend this more.
If I have this game a score, it would be 9/10. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I highly recommend going in on Far as your next Indie gaming experience!