Changing Tides Review – GameSpew

Far: Changing the Tides is a lonely, monotonous affair – but there’s also something quietly charming about it.

Quite honestly, life aboard a rickety steampunk ship, in a world where there’s seemingly no other human life as far as the eye can see, sounds very appealing right now. A sequel to 2018 Far: Lone Sailsthis ultimately uses the same formula, but where it took you through barren stretches of land, Far: Changing the Tides throws you into the sea. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve played developer Okomotive’s first game; Far: Changing the Tides is truly a standalone piece, and its reliance on the player learning the ropes as they go means it’s also accessible to everyone.

There is not a single line of dialogue in the entirety of Far: Changing the Tides, spoken or written. Instead, your ears will be treated to a sumptuous soundtrack provided by Joel Schoch. Without instruction or hands-on, you will naturally understand what you are supposed to do during the game. Far: Changing the Tides » progression feels organic, with you quickly figuring out how to operate your ship and solve puzzles to move on to the next area. There are a few moments where you might stumble though, and for those it’s a shame there isn’t a ‘hint’ option in the menu to fall back on. But in the age of the Internet, I’m sure you won’t be stuck for long.

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The game ultimately revolves around controlling your ship. It’s not just about pushing R2 to go forward and L2 to go back. Every element of your boat must be operated manually. For starters, that means fitting the sails. You will need to lift them first and then anchor them to the hull. Then you’ll need to keep adjusting them to ensure optimal speed so you hit the wind just right.

It won’t be long before you have the opportunity to upgrade your ship. Do not worry; upgrades come automatically as you progress; you don’t need to figure out how to install them yourself. The first major improvement is the power of steam. Provided you have fuel – which comes in the form of scrap metal, fuel canisters, and old suitcases found floating in the ocean – you can charge the engine and keep pumping it forward. When you earn the submarine upgrade – which you’ll need to progress past a certain point – steam is the only way to move your boat underwater. If you are on the surface, you have the choice between steam or sails.

Far Away: Shifting Tides Review

Both have their pros and cons. Fuel isn’t always easy to come by, so if you’re in open water, opting for sailing is often beneficial. But with the sails proudly unfurled on your boat, you will have to be careful of the obstacles that stand in your way. They are easily damaged and you will need a can of oil handy to keep your boat in good shape.

When you’re not aboard your ship, you’re probably on the ground at one of the many obstacles you’ll encounter on your journey. More often than not, a gate or other blockage is in your way, and you’ll need to find a way to get your ship through. The puzzles are usually relatively simple to figure out; having few options means there isn’t much room for error. Each is unique and quite fun to navigate, and it’s usually by completing them that you’ll be rewarded with a ship upgrade.

So your time is pretty much split between being on your boat and working your way through blockages. Time at sea can sometimes drag on a bit, and keeping your boat moving can be a hassle, especially when you opt for steam. You’ll have to do quite a bit of jumping from platform to platform, which isn’t always so precise. It’s too easy to fall into a gap rather than grab onto a ladder, for example, and if you’ve left items like fuel lying around, you’ll likely get tangled trying to get past it.

Far Away: Shifting Tides Review

But these issues aside, Far: Changing the Tides is a meditative and relaxing experience when at its best. You can jump out of your ship whenever you want, free to explore the oceans without the need for oxygen. Time it right and you’ll have the chance to swim alongside a giant whale or in a sea of ​​glowing jellyfish. There are some wonderful sights to behold, real highlights of the game that make it shine a little brighter. It’s just a shame that it can also look a little dull at times, with a color palette that relies too much on browns and grays.

Far: Changing the Tides isn’t going to be for everyone. But if the idea of ​​a quiet, solitary adventure to get your boat going gets you going, you’ll love it. There’s a wonderful soundtrack to enjoy, and the puzzles it presents to you are engaging and well thought out. But sometimes it’s just a little too barren for its own good, and the awkwardness of controlling your vessel can hamper its serenity.


Far Away: Shifting Tides Review – Score from GameSpew

This review of Far: Changing the Tides is based on the PS5 version of the game, via code provided by the publisher. It is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

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