Review: You Can Now Play the Beautiful and Poignant FAR: Lone Sails on Nintendo Switch
I absolutely love FAR: Lone Sails. I know, reviews usually build up to this sort of thing, but I have no shame coming out and saying it right away. It’s a game that I’ve secretly rooted for, and hoped would have grabbed the attention of those who liked games like Limbo or Inside. With the release of FAR: Lone Sails on Nintendo Switch, it’s getting released to a whole new—possibly wider—audience.
FAR: Lone Sails is a side scrolling, vehicle-based adventure game with some puzzle elements. Like the aforementioned Limbo or Inside, you are a small child who only interacts with the world around her by pulling, pushing, and jumping. Pushing, pulling, and jumping, incidentally, is also how you can drive your large landship. Throughout FAR: Lone Sails you’ll be in a large, wheeled vehicle that serves as transportation and home to the protagonist.
When FAR: Lone Sails starts, you are all alone in a world that is dying around you. Abandoned houses and dried lake beds scatter the landscape. While there is an important story that is being told in FAR: Lone Sails, it isn’t told with voice over, or cutscenes. There’s no dialogue at all, in fact. The story is instead told through the environment and clues scattered throughout. A few are smacked on your head, but most of the context for your journey has to be sussed out by the player.
What is apparent, though, is the epic journey that must be undertaken by this little girl. While driving the landship, she pushes buttons to accelerate, release steam, unfurl the sails, etc., and the weight of these buttons, and the sheer size of the vehicle, help to show off the scale of this little girl’s journey. But it’s also an extremely satisfying way to operate a vehicle in 2D.
The landship will take damage if you run into an obstacle too hard, or for various other reasons. You start with a hose to put out fires, but eventually the landship will be upgraded with a repair tool, and even a vacuum to suck in the full barrels and crates that you otherwise have to carry in by hand. Despite the occasionally hectic moments of managing various land ship components, a good chunk of FAR: Lone Sails consists of serenely sailing across vast expanses of land. It may not be the most exciting, but it sure is peaceful.
FAR: Lone Sails isn’t a horribly long game. You can probably finish it in around four hours or so—but it’s a pretty magical four hours. It has a good soundtrack, and a beautiful art style that makes It seem very much like a moving painting instead of a video game.
FAR transitioned to the Nintendo Switch beautifully—at least in docked mode. Playing Far: Lone Sails on my TV was great, and everything I hoped for, but when I went to take FAR with me on the road, I noticed some issues. The biggest problem is that the avatar is tiny, and she’s SUPER tiny on the small screen of the Switch. I found myself using the zoom in function of the game to see where my character was, instead of using it to look at smaller objects like it seemed like it was meant for. Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely playable this way, it’s just not the best, most comfortable experience.
Still, if you haven’t experienced FAR: Lone Sails yet, the Nintendo Switch version is a great place to do that. It runs great, looks great, and is the same great experience I had on my PC when I original reviewed FAR over a year ago.
FAR: Lone Sails has stuck with me. It’s beautiful, moving, and exciting. It has moments of serene calm punctuated by harried action whenever your landship needs repairs, or other attention. It also has a compelling, poignant story, even if it’s told in the background. I definitely recommend FAR: Lone Sails.
FAR Lone Sails is available now on the Nintendo Switch. It’s also available on Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
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