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Far Changing Tides: Review

Far: Changing tides is a game that, in all honesty, is hard to truly review. This is down to several factors, but perhaps the most important is that there isn’t a game here as you would know it. While there are puzzles to complete on occasion and the odd bit of platforming, these aren’t the main focus.

Far: Changing tides is developers Okomotive’s spiritual sequel to 2018’s Far: Lone Sails and follows a similar structure to that game. There are some differences, Lone Sails had the player travel across a deserted wasteland in a car-like machine. Changing tides, however, has the player take control of a boat to travel across the map. However, the basic premise is still the same. The player needs to move continuously to the right but will be hampered by the occasional puzzle or blockage.

That’s… all there is to it when it comes to gameplay, but oddly that works in its favour. While there isn’t much to engage with or anything more complex than some pushing puzzles, it’s all well designed and that fantastic mix of challenging without being infuriating. This helps the game continue at a steady pace and the running of the boat, a mix of wind direction and steam power, help to make sure there is always something to do. The player is also given a continuous stream of upgrades for their ship and each one fundamentally changes how the boat works and what the player can do.

These small bits of gameplay are what will take up the majority of the players five hour journey to find a new home. This journey is the only plot element that is handed to players. Players begin the game in the ruins of a city as a small child gathers what they need to travel onwards. There are the occasional art pieces and environments that give some hint of the history of the world, but it's all very subtle. However, rather than hampering the experience, it makes a kind of sense. You play as a small child in a destroyed world, of course, you have no idea what happened.

The environments and music are both beautiful, especially some of the sequences underwater. It all helps to give a meditative quality to the experience but still retain a small measure of threat. The world you are travelling through is in a constant state of flux so danger can be around every corner.

However, this is where the weakness of the game comes into play. You see, there is always the feeling like something is coming, some threat or attack, but it never does. There is always the feeling of some greater truth to the events but there is no real payoff. While the puzzles help pass the time there is nothing particularly novel about them. This is more a fault of the aesthetic than a design issue. Far: Changing Tides looks visually similar to games like Inside, where there is a constant threat but here there is none.

Overall Far: Changing tides is by no means a bad game, there is plenty here to enjoy. However, if you are looking for something more…well video-gamey then look somewhere else. If you want something that lets you while away a few hours without being too taxed and are trying to get over the terror of your most recent Subnautica excursion then give it a whirl.

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