Far: Lone Sails review
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Far: Lone Sails review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on October 22nd, 2020
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: SHROUDED SAILING
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Far: Lone Sails is a meditative expedition of maintenance across a frozen wasteland.

Developer: Mixtvision Mediengesellschaft mbH

Price: $3.99
Version: 1.2
App Reviewed on: iPad Pro

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Far: Lone Sails is a mysterious narrative adventure game where you pilot a strange vehicle across a desolate environment, searching for answers along the way. Initially released for consoles and PC back in 2018, the game has made its way to iOS, where it mostly plays great. Aside with some lighting issues Far: Lone Sails is worth picking up and playing on mobile if you haven't already experienced it somewhere else.

Solo sailing

It's totally fair to compare Far: Lone Sails to games like Inside or Journey, in that this game starts with virtually no proper introduction and asks players to put together a narrative based on your experience of traveling across a mysterious environment. Far is a bit different though in the sense that you aren't just piloting a character, but also a machine that seems designed for long-distance travel.

Your vehicle has wheels, a sail, an engine, exhaust, and furnace that you are responsible for managing across this journey. There are also times where you encounter things that may block your ability to simply continue driving forward, and you have to go out into the wasteland and solve light puzzles to make a path forward.

Mechanical meditation

Far: Lone Sails has a pretty simple control scheme that uses virtual buttons that work easily enough. There are no complicated inputs in the game, but you do have to physically move your character into buttons to activate parts of your vehicle. Everything from throttle control to putting up your sails involves running or jumping into a button of some kind, but almost none of it requires so much management that you'll be scrambling back and forth between buttons.

In fact, my experience with Far: Lone Sails was quite relaxing in that the game has long stretches where you are simply coasting along and performing routine maintenence tasks. Along the way, your landscape changes in ways that drop hints as to what this game’s world is like and what has happened to it.

Looking for lighting

The iOS port of Far: Lone Sails performs well and looks nice, but squeezing the game onto smaller screens does introduce some problems. For starters, there are times when your virtual controls can obscure things you're supposed to see. Thankfully, the game hides these controls if you stop touching the screen to help with this.

What's more troublesome is the fact that a good portion of Far: Lone Sails is really, really dark, making it hard to see what's going on, even when playing indoors in a dark room. You may need to squint a bit during nighttime sections (or scavenge and hold onto lanterns!), but otherwise Far: Lone Sails is perfectly playable on mobile.

The bottom line

Far: Lone Sails is a well paced and designed narrative adventure. Even though it's sometimes hard to see what is going on, its meditative nature, puzzle design, and overall storytelling are top-notch. Its blend of mechanical interaction, traversal challenges, and quiet routine make it one of the more satisfying games in this genre that I've encountered.

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