After the brilliant FAR: Lone Sails (one of our favourite indie games), now comes the sequel from Zürich’s indie team Okomotive—Changing Tides.
It launched on 1st March, 2022! And we were straight onto the thing, rigging our sail and taking off into a beautiful dystopian world of hidden treasures.
Joyful Melancholic Loneliness in FAR: Changing Tides
To say we were eagerly anticipating this is an understatement! It was our most hotly anticipated game of the year, seeing as Breath of the Wild 2 is set for 2023.
It’s available on Steam and all consoles, so no one is left in the lurch with the arrival of FAR: Changing Tides. If you have Xbox Games Pass, it’s on there right now.
And we highly recommend you play FAR: Changing Tides!
It advances on the original, not with a total overhaul of the premise. But a series of new additions that make for a sweeping, moving, and thrilling experience.
The big difference over the 2018 original is the locomotive you have at your disposal this time—a boat thing.
And it’s glorious! It reminds us of the underwater drilling platform from The Abyss (1989). You really grow to love your little boat thing.
There’s also a lot more water this time around—it’s all over the place. Your character can swim around in it, explore, and advance your journey to the right.
As the goal is to guide your ship onward whilst overcoming a series of obstacles, which ranges from humanmade blockades to raging storms on the open ocean.
It was during one storm when we realised how brilliant FAR: Changing Tides in. You have your headphones on, it’s you, the boat, managing your ship’s energy resources, and battling through it.
All to the tune of the game’s iconic soundtrack. As with the first game, Joel Schoch’s music is integral to the experience. It is absolutely fantastic; stirring and orchestral.
Changing Tides is a type of Metroidvania experience. You upgrade your ship with fancy new technology at various checkpoints.
Excitingly, one upgrade is a submarine addition to the boat! And that opens the game up to a realm of new possibilities.
Including the option for your character to go scuba diving deep into wrecks.
But the main challenge remains with monitoring your ship’s energy supply as you power along.
Although. as with Lone Sails, you do get an enormous central sail to rely on. This time around, you can veer this out to the right to catch some windy gusts and move onward. But you need to be careful not to whack any obstacles in the background.
Such little touches are very welcome and make the game more immersive than the Lone Sails. The game is just packed with loving attention to detail.
As with the previous game, some of its very best moments involve little action. Just you sitting there, enjoying the scenery glide by, whilst listening to the soundtrack.
It’s a very introspective approach Okomotive has—a celebration of solitude. Such moments are really quite lovely to embrace and enjoy, sailing out on that digital ocean. With that emphasis on the open seas, it reminds us of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
As for the critical reaction to Changing Tides, some reviewers have been a bit snotty. We’ve seen several 7/10s rolled out.
Not a bad score, of course, but we can’t get how you can play this game and go, “Yeah… that’s a bit disappointing, that is.”
We feel Changing Tides is a bloody triumph from start to finish, ramping up its sense of scale as the adventure continues whilst dropping in many surprises.
A definite must buy from us, especially if you loved its predecessor. Changing Tides is better and we think it’s another mini-masterpiece from Okomotive.
The Excellence of Far Changing Tides’ Soundtrack
Unfortunately, much of Schoch’s soundtrack isn’t available yet. But there are a few snippets here and there.
The game’s publisher, Frontier, put out the above meditative clip with an hour of Changing Tides’ music. All very nice.
As with Lone Sails, it’s a brilliant and complements the game perfectly. Rather melancholic, but uplifting and purposeful when it needs to be.
At its best, the Changing Tides music is one of the best game soundtracks we’ve ever heard.
We’ll do a separate post at a later date celebrating the partnership between Okomotive and Schoch so we can flag up more of his brilliant work.