March 1, 2022
FAR: Changing Tides provides you with a unique friendship. What starts off as a journey into the unknown becomes a poignant pairing of boy and machine. This ship you begin to slowly build on ends up a part of you. Every danger you encounter, or obstacle you face, you do it together. Not only is it a beautiful yet baron landscape, the world you sail in features a soundtrack that captures the sentimentality of the journey.
FAR: Changing Tides: A wonderful sense of freedom
Comparisons to Inside and Little Nightmares are going to be made. The left to right puzzle structure; the artistic style; even the gameplay. However, it has a much different tone and plenty of moving parts. There is a sense of freedom to FAR: Changing Tides. You spend a fair amount of time sailing across the waters. Between getting out your ship and solving puzzles, you’ll drift on the waves while keeping it moving. This will range from lifting the sails to filling the furnace with anything that burns.
The ability to go underwater will help you get through certain barricades. One upgrade to your boat lets you speed off for a certain amount of time, but it’ll demand your full attention. It’s not stressful to keep your boat moving. Every new mechanic is given enough time for you to familiarise yourself with it. There’s also a decent amount of time before each puzzle, so you get to soak in the visuals and wonderful music.
When it comes to the puzzles, none are particularly difficult. If you’re familiar with the principle of Occam’s razor, it’s good to approach FAR: Changing Tides with a certain simplicity. In one puzzle, I tried to stack a bunch of suitcases and crates (both used to fuel your ship) to jump over a carriage on a rail track. I couldn’t work it out at all. However, all I needed to do was use these items to throw into a carriage’s furnace – one that I’d already used. It was right in front of me. From then on, I looked for the simplest solution and made sure I applied logic to each one. Okomotive want to challenge you, but they also want you to take everything in and enjoy the stunning nature of the adventure.
Much of the gameplay revolves around keeping your ship moving. A radar sits slap bang in the central chamber. Every now and again, a blue light glows indicating nearby fuel. You can hop out your ship at any time and go for a swim. You end up unlocking a crane that will haul huge crates filled with stuff to throw in your furnace. The same hook can be used to lift debris underwater that may uncover a switch for a large door blocking your path. Every mechanic has equal importance throughout. Each device within the ship is straightforward enough to use, but they all work in harmony.
FAR: Changing Tides: A gorgeous journey across the waves
It’s a beautiful thing sailing through peaceful waters while making sure it runs smoothly. Occasionally, things go south. It won’t be just the puzzles that hinder your journey. Storms may cause you to rethink your approach to getting to wherever it is you’re going. Although there are dangers along the way, FAR: Changing Tides is a memorable and delightful game. That sense of freedom mentioned earlier never feels as good as when you’re sailing across thrashing waves at great speed. That bond grows stronger every time you throw fuel into the furnace or swim among large whales underneath the surface.
FAR: Changing Tides is about overcoming the odds. It never punishes you, but it doesn’t let you off the hook, either. When you master the various ways you’re ship can be used, there’s no feeling like it. The puzzles are challenging enough, but never seem complex. I fell in love with it almost instantly. It feels so natural to play, even if jumping can sometimes feel a bit loose. Regardless of this tiny flaw, the journey which sees you grow as a sailor and a human being is one I won’t forget in a hurry.
Great mechanics that work in sync
Jumping feels a bit loose
FAR: Changing Tides is a beautiful game with a stunning soundtrack that puts you in control of a ship you'll build a fantastic bond with.