Title: FAR: Lone Sails
Genre: Adventure, Platformer, Simulation, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 18/08/19
Price: £13.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
A whoosh as fuel is sucked into the tank. A gentle blue glow emanates from the engine as a small girl in a big red coat heads over to the accelerator. She puts all her weight against the large red button, pushing and pushing until… A satisfying click locks it in place, and the land-ship begins its trundling journey.
A dial is flashing, she jumps to hit another button that releases steam build-ups. There is a reassuring hiss and the upside-down boat keel gathers yet more speed. More fuel in the tank. Whoosh. She heaves her weight into the accelerator. Click. Let off steam. Hiss.
The grim post-apocalyptic future is beautiful. The sun sets over ruined oil rigs and giant cliffs, rain and storms batter towering wind turbines as they pass. The fleeting glimpses of whatever civilisation came before are empty, ghostly, silent.
The land-ship is none of those things, however. It has giant moving pistons and a glowing blue fuel tank. It makes steampunk whirs and chugs and it hisses angrily when the steam build-up escapes. Every button-press has the satisfying click of a mechanical keyboard, every sail springs into place with a gentle rumble. The sounds of the land-ship are the sounds of life in this wasteland. Whoosh, click, hiss.
The land-ship settles into its mechanical rhythm, steampunk sounds of pistons and cogs somehow marrying the post-apocalyptic landscape they travel through. Get into the cycle, take care of the moving parts so they don’t degrade and it’ll be smooth sailing. Although, it rarely is. Whoosh. Click. Hiss.
The game’s beautiful score lilts into view. Beats punctuated by pistons chugging and cogs whirring. No-one speaks, there are few other sounds. Whoosh, click, hiss.
Until, suddenly, thunderstorm! Quick – bring the sails down before – too late. They’re ruined. Fixing them is a quick job with an on-board blowtorch, but suddenly the land-ship’s rhythm is ruined. The tank is looking empty, the accelerator needs another push. As it grinds to a halt in the middle of a dried-up sea, the future looks bleak. Until the sails are fixed, the pistons ache back into life, and rhythm is restored. The familiar whoosh. The satisfying click. The relieving hiss.
Swiss developers Okomotive had a vision for the game and made sure they perfectly realised that vision. Every puzzle works in tandem with the core mechanics, every movement is matched and built on by the music. From the tiniest details to the biggest set pieces, every element has been carefully thought about and perfectly integrated. Every whoosh, every click, every hiss.
And Okomotive found the perfect home for their game when they ported it to Nintendo Switch. A home console reimagined for portable play gives off the same energy as an upside-down boat keel repurposed and resurrected into a steampunk Frankenstein of a vehicle, useful once more after the seas have dried up. Whoosh – the joy-cons slide off. Click – the Switch slots into its dock. Hiss – the gentle rumble as you load up a new game.
Four or five hours of silence-not-silence, of button after button, takes you from the start to the finish of FAR: Lone Sails. And, when you finish, you know little more than when you started. But you also know everything more. You haven’t read anything, nobody has said a word, but you can *feel* what’s happened. You’re guessing, but with feeling.
Exploring the post-apocalypse has never felt so satisfying. Finding the rhythm, repairing the land-ship, solving unique puzzles, is all a joy amongst constant whooshes, clicks and hisses.
The atmosphere is still, except for you. Nothing makes a sound, except for you. The apocalypse is empty, except for you.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase FAR: Lone Sails from the Nintendo eShop on the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/FAR-Lone-Sails-1614981.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.