Anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the indie game scene this year is stupid. There: I said it. Don’t get me wrong: Dad of War and Far Cry 5 and all the other AAA games slated for this year have been exciting and definitely worth playing, but the sheer wealth of smaller games coming this way and that in 2018 has been thrilling to see.
The latest game in my “holy crap the indie scene is spectacular” sweepstakes is Far: Lone Sails. Developed by Okomotive and published by Mixtvision in May of this year, Far is the tale of a kid and the steam-driven train-mobile that he loves. The simplest way to describe the game is that it’s something of a combination of Subset’s FTL and Playdead’s Inside. You roll through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, diligently driving a steampunk locomotive while occasionally hopping out to solve puzzles and clear roadblocks.
There’s a level of fun simplicity to the puzzles, and the mechanics for operating your vehicle require a sort of steady diligence that keeps you busy without leaving you frustrated or flustered. The landscapes you cruise through are beautiful and varied. You’ll find yourself speeding through deserts, urban wastelands, snow, and ash on your way to a final destination: whatever that destination happens to be.
This is accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack that sets the mood perfectly. Everything about the atmosphere that Okomotive have created with Far fits together wonderfully. If I had anything to complain about with Far: Lone Sails, it would have to do with the game’s length. I finished it out in a couple of hours, and while there are some achievements to unlock that require multiple playthroughs, there wasn’t a ton in the way of replay value for any but the most hardcore of fans.
On the other hand, I’m not sure how much of a complain that is. As I said: the puzzles are fun, and I rarely found myself altogether too stuck on them, and the process of driving your train requires a constant eye, if not a slavish, mechanical devotion. But maybe 2 hours is just the right amount of time for a game like this one. If there had been a lot of other mechanics or just things to do in Far, another few hours might have been acceptable. The game is $15, and ultimately it’s really up to you as to whether or not that price tag is fair.
I didn’t regret my time with Far in the least, however. It’s a fun, exciting game set in a lush, melancholy world. If you’re intrigued by the idea of powering a train through an apocalyptic steampunk world, though, you’ll definitely need to at least give this one a look.