Far: Changing Tides Review – The Ocean Calls

Every adventure is some kind of journey, but so often we are so drawn to the destination that we sometimes forget to enjoy the journey. Far: Changing Tides pushes you to immerse yourself in little moments that might otherwise go unnoticed in our rush to the top. Okomotive’s newest side-scrolling platformer is a contemplative adventure full of trials and triumphs. But this pilgrimage was so powerful that I was often content to forget my end goal.

Okomotive’s nascent release, Far: Lone Sails, follows in the footsteps of atmospheric puzzle platformers like Inside and Little Nightmares. While Lone Sails isn’t quite as dark or brooding as other games, it sets a compelling tone as players drive giant sleds across a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape in search of a new home. Far: Changing Tides is — in many ways — more of the same, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Instead of driving a vehicle on land, the changing tide puts you at the helm of an oversized ship. The ship’s mechanics are so sophisticated that it can be involved without feeling overbearing. I like to hoist the sail and move the mast to face the wind or shovel fuel into the engine to give my vehicle a good push on the water. Along the way, you’ll find ship upgrades, such as chains used to lift sunken treasures or overcharges that provide brief but exciting speed boosts. I can’t wait to unveil my next upgrade and see how it changes the way I navigate icy waters.

On this journey, you will encounter various obstacles and are often forced to abandon your ship to solve environmental puzzles. These moments are rarely strenuous, but I enjoy stretching my legs to power a rusted windmill, studying the inner workings of a rotting locomotive, or diving under the sea in search of secrets. Like Lone Sails, Changing Tides doesn’t bother you with tooltips or game explainers; instead, you learn about the world and how everything works through trial and error. Sometimes I scratch my head over what looks like a dead end, but after tinkering with the environment for a few minutes, I can always find a hard-earned solution.

Between puzzle breaks, you’ll experience a long stretch of time where you can watch the scenery fly by. These clips remind me of the best moments of a long car trip, where you are immersed in the beauty of nature. It helped that Far: Changing Tides was filled with stunning vistas, backed by moody and often-missing scores.

Far: Changing Tides isn’t an action-packed roller coaster ride – it’s a contemplative ride that’s not afraid to slow down and ask you to reflect on your adventure. Of course, this adventure is full of challenges to overcome. But whether I’m watching the clouds slide over a flooded city with the wind on my back, or panicking in a storm as ten-foot waves pound my boat, I’m always completely enchanted by that moment. This is a journey I hope to take again one day.