FAR: Lone Sails – An Adventure Steeped in Solitude Hits the Switch

FAR Lone Sails
Indeed.

Last November we reviewed FAR: Lone Sails on Steam. We loved it so much we pestered Swiss developer Okomotive to bring it to the Nintendo Switch. They obeyed! So, join us on this introspective and beautifully lonely journey.

FAR: Lone Sails

FAR is a serene experience. You get a thoroughly magnificent sense of solitude and magnitude from guiding your nameless character towards a distant destination.

You start out alone at a house as part of a former seafaring community. Now the ocean is gone and total solitude is interrupted only by an occasional seagull or gust of wind.

Jumping into a locomotive, steam-driven type contraption thing you set off – your mission is to discover what’s left of the human race.

To the backdrop of a melancholic, stirring grey sky you begin a process of management and survival where you battle your vessel ticking over.

There are a few simple but demanding processes to follow. You must gather fuel you find lying around the landscape and use this to feed into the engine.

Jamming on a button chugs the fuel through, but from time to time you must also hit a steam trigger to release a burst of energy. That provides a nifty speed boost and cools the engine.

As you hustle and bustle inside the contraption, you start to feel at home. You soon get some massive sails to save you fuel, but only if the wind is up.

FAR relies on a rather lovely shade of grey a lot of the time, but there are sunsets and other colourful moments to enjoy.

But for the large part that grey sets a poignant and serene sense of isolation.

As you chug along, there’s a blissful sense of relaxation as you realise you likely won’t be coming across any other humans on your trip. You’re very much alone.

Although one of the main focuses of the title soon rears itself – the occasional blockade your vessel comes up against.

Minor puzzle elements come into force here and you must get around whatever is blocking your path.

It can get stressful. At one point an imposing storm lands upon you.

As you battle it out inside your ship you’re managing various aspects at once to ensure you keep trundling to the right.

Such moments break off and you’re left to stand at the top of the vessel, the wind propelling your sails –  a calming sunrise takes over.

Such affecting moments are a constant feature in FAR.

Its contemplative nature had us mesmerised. Quieter moments leave you enjoying the likes of a gorgeous sunset. You stare at the screen, enjoy the music, and note the incredible attention to detail in the artwork.

The soundtrack is a vital compotent in all of it, raising your appreciation of the strangely depleted world around you.

We absolutely loved FAR last year on Steam and it’s a perfect experience for the Nintendo Switch. Especially in handheld mode.

Highly recommended, this is something of a mini-masterpiece you can also own on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s a stunningly crafted little adventure crammed full of atmospheric pathos.

Soundtrack

As with so many indie games these days, a beautiful and charming set of compositions accompany the experience. It’s by Joel Schoch who lives in Zürich.

There are elements of jaunty acoustic numbers complement FAR’s sense of offbeat melancholy magnificently. It’s perfect music for the game.

You really do feel like you’re heading out and doing something noble probably futile during your adventure.

And the soundtrack adds a lot to that, with jazzy asides and occasional bursts of locomotive noise.

Schoch was responsible for the composition and FX. Across various tracks he played the piano, rhodes piano, synth, percussion, ukulele, guitar, mandoline, and bouzouki.

Other musicians helped him out, including David Germann, Fortunat Häfliger, and Hannah Adriana Müller.

Various other intrusments include the tenorsaxophone, flughelhorn, cello, kontrabass, violin, and trumpet.

The whole lot is available on YouTube or as a purchase for whatever device you fancy and it’s one of the finest game soundtracks we’ve ever heard.

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