By Ronald Gordon
Many of us want to travel far and explore the world. When I can, I enjoy getting out of the city during vacations, and I always come back feeling good that I actually went somewhere different. But vacations are rarer than ever nowadays. So it’s time to ask the question, why not go on a journey in your own home?
Far: Lone Sails is an axploration Adventure game developed by Okomotive and published by Mixtvision. In Far, you play as a cute little adventurer who decides to take a vessel, which is also called the Okomotive, on a journey through the world. However, as with everything in life, this journey isn’t easy, and you’ll come across many trials and tribulations along the way.
In the game, you find that most of the world has been dried out and decimated by several terrifying natural disasters. The ground is starch white from dehydration, most of the plants are dead, and many of the buildings have been damaged by rain and hail. You leave home and decide to take your Okomotive out on one final ride to see if you can find any other people. Your journey starts as you pump fuel into the Okomotive’s tank and head out to explore.
But the world doesn’t seem to want you to explore it. You’ll soon come across dangerous hail storms that threaten your vessel, large lakes that you have to cross, and even a giant tornado. During all this, you must maintain your ship’s fuel levels, make sure that the steam the engine produces doesn’t build up too much, and monitor the condition of all of your vessel’s components to make sure it’s working well. This was challenging, because in order to start the engine, you need to press a button in front of it. And this button isn’t normal – it gradually pushes itself back out to its starting position, and the engine shuts off. Normally, this wouldn’t be so bad, but if you’re trying to maintain a constant progress, then a button releasing itself is going to be a bit frustrating.
Irritating button aside, Far: Lone Sails has managed to drive its way into my heart with all of the captivating parts that come with it. The artwork is unique and almost makes me feel as though I’m watching a moving painting. One example is the sail module, acquired early in the game, which features three large sails that look as though they’re worn out and old. To me, they look as if they are composed of what seems to be an assortment of paint strokes with no border around them, like a piece of art. The music in the game fits the tone for such a journey, easily switching between calm, when I was riding through the wasteland with ease, and suspenseful, when most of my ship’s components were damaged and on fire due to a vicious lightning bolt.
Far: Lone Sails small, cute protagonist is reminiscent of Media Molecule’s “Little Big Planet” series, which makes me love the game even more. Ever since I started playing games, the idea of controlling a small character who explores a big world makes me excited to see what that world had in store. Even though the game is a bit short, it’s definitely worth the ride. I’d suggest it to people who enjoy managing systems and who value a journey with a hopeful ending for a better tomorrow. In fact, that optimistic finale makes the gameplay in Far: Lone Sails into a trip that everyone should embark upon.
Freshman intern Ronald Gordon is creating the City Tech College chapter of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.