It begins with becoming alone.
You play as the only speck of colour in a bleak world of grey. Someone close to you has passed on and you become alone in the world. FAR: Lone Sails is almost exactly what you’d expect from the title but it is in no way dull. There is no dialogue, there is no need for one. The game beautifully blends soundscape, landscape and your imagination. That’s all it needs.
You leave your home and move into a land ship, that you have to manage with button presses that you make the character physically do, from pushing to accelerate to knocking your head against the break button. Here is where a linear adventure game fiddles with management. You power your ship with anything you can muster, be it trash or luggage, burned into “energy” (read: fuel). The fuel usage then causes steam to build up (and possibly cause the ship to explode?), and another jump-push of a button will release the build up. As the game progresses, you will gain more upgrades to the ship that you’ll also need to manage.
While FAR is pretty much a linear game, you’ll find that there is always something to do and the game never lets you be idle for too long. There are also little puzzles along the way, to be done every time you hit a roadblock though they are far from perfect and there is definitely no hand-holding. I will refrain from spoiling anything, but just know that there is no “wrong answer”, only ways forward.
As you move further along, the landscape changes. From the bleakness comes a natural beauty, which has the effect of making you forget that you’re actually alone in this virtual world. There’s a sort-of Journey feel to the game, with a lot of ‘just taking it in’ moments. I recommend that you prepare your fingers, you’ll be taking a lot of screenshots. I’ve personally have one scene as my background wallpaper and I don’t see me changing it anytime soon.
If I wasn’t already aware that Okomotive was a Swiss team, the sound design would have given it away. To me, at least. It’s not the stereotypical “Swiss” music with yodelling and mountain horns, but it is something that sparked nostalgia in me in ways that I can’t describe, reminding me of Switzerland (and making me miss it heaps). It is definitely an OST I would like to keep on hand.
This is definitely one game to play when you just need to chill out and enjoy some brilliant game design. I highly recommend playing the game with a controller.