There are some games that aren’t really about testing your reflexes, or your high scoring prowess, or any of the many other video game-related skills, but are more about offering up an experience. And boy is FAR: Lone Sails ever an experience. Originally released on PC a couple of years back, and on consoles in 2019, FAR: Lone Sails has you traversing across an apocalyptic wasteland in a massive rickety landship, stopping only to collect items or clear a path by light puzzle solving. Where are you going? Why are you going there? Where is everybody? Your guess is as good as mine.
FAR reminds me of something like Inside from Playdead. You kind of get thrust into this atmospheric world, are quickly introduced to whatever mechanics the game is built around, and then you’re off on your own to kind of figure the rest out as you go. There’s no dialogue, no text, no waypoints. Just you, a weird landship, and the urge to continue moving to the right at all costs. You’ll discover how to turn… stuff into energy that powers your ship, and before long you’ll equip the titular sails which can utilize the near-constant wind to thrust your ship forward.
Controlling the ship in FAR is actually one of the highlights. It feels like the sort of thing that Willy Wonka would drive, with buttons and levers throughout that you’ll need to micromanage a bit in order to continue moving forward and hopefully not burn your whole ship to the ground. It’s fun in a weird way, and as you progress you’ll learn new things that are possible with your ship that will help you get out of the various sticky situations you come across.
That sort of the driving force behind FAR. You just kind of want to see what’s next. The environment itself, along with the occasional music and the constant sound of the blowing wind, make you feel like you actually are exploring some strange, desolate land. What WAS that old decrepit building you just passed? Who used to live there? These types of questions pop up often while playing, and rarely do they have an answer beyond what your own imagination can come up with. But again, that’s what’s so fun about FAR: Lone Sails. Feeling the tremendous atmosphere of a world that feels like it actually (or at least used to) exist, and discovering the secrets and stories it holds.