Every adventure is a journey of some sort, but we are often so engrossed in the destination that we sometimes forget to enjoy the ride. Far: Changing Tides forces you to savor the little moments that can be overlooked in our rush to get to the top. Okomotive latest side-scrolling platformer is a meditative odyssey full of trials and triumphs. But this pilgrimage is so powerful that I was often content to forget my ultimate goal.
Okomotive’s first-year release, Far: Lone Sails, followed in the footsteps of atmospheric puzzle platformers such as Inside and Little Nightmares. While Lone Sails wasn’t nearly as dark or gloomy as those other titles, it set a striking tone as players navigated a giant land sled through a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, all the while searching for 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 overland, Changing Tides puts you at the helm of an oversized boat. The mechanics of this ship are complex enough to be captivating without being overbearing. I enjoyed hoisting the sails and moving the mast to catch the wind or scooping fuel into my engine to give my vehicle a nice push across the water. Along the way you’ll find ship upgrades, such as a chain to lift sunken treasure or a transfer truck that gives momentary but exciting speed boosts. I couldn’t wait to discover my next upgrade and see how it changed the way I navigated these frigid waters.
During this journey, you will encounter several roadblocks and often have to abandon your ship to solve environmental puzzles. These moments are rarely taxing, but I enjoyed stretching my legs to power a rusted windmill, studying the inner workings of a rotten locomotive, or diving for secrets on the ocean floor. Like Lone Sails, Changing Tides doesn’t bother you with tooltips or gameplay explanations; instead, you learn through trial and error about this world and how everything works. Occasionally I scratched my head on what appeared to be a dead end, but after a few minutes of tinkering with the environment, I was always able to find a well-deserved solution.
Between the puzzle breaks you will experience long stretches where you can see the landscape racing past. These sequences reminded me of the best moments of a long car ride, enjoying the beauty of nature. It helps that Far: Changing Tides is full of striking vistas and supported by a moody, often melancholy score.
Far: Changing Tides isn’t an action-packed rollercoaster ride — it’s a contemplative journey that isn’t afraid to slow down and ask you to think about your expedition. Of course, this adventure is full of challenges to overcome. But whether I watched the clouds slide over a flooded city with the wind at my back or watched relentlessly through a storm as ten-foot waves bombarded my ship, I was always entranced by the moment. It’s a journey I hope to make someday.