A Captivating, Calm Game Pass Hit

 As a result, this week I found myself gravitating toward a tighter, more focused game, Okomotive.

Far away: changing tides released earlier this month for PC, Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox – and as part of the Game Pass library – is a sequel to the 2018 game. Far away: lonely sails, a captivating side-scrolling journey in which you traverse vast distances in a creaky old ship. I expected the same from Tide change.

Like much of the Playdead (and its predecessor, lonely sails), Faraway: changing tides open cold. You, as a silent nameless protagonist, wake up underwater. You can apparently hold your breath indefinitely – a perk that, at least in person, has banished the enticing claustrophobia that tends to accompany underwater segments in video games. In the end, you break the surface.

It was at this point that I thought the game would give me a steampunk sailboat because, you know, the whole “sailing game item. Instead, I found myself jumping between the rooftops of mostly flooded buildings. There is no immediate explanation for what happened, so jumping from rooftop to rooftop lends a mysterious air.

But even this brief platforming didn’t lead me to the boat. No, no, first came a wave of environmental mysteries.

 You must pull the emergency release cable and attach it to the anchor on the far wall in order to get out. Problem number one: Anchor underwater. Problem number two: the cable itself is missing, and there is no way to reach it (because the player character is tiny). So the solution is to simply move the box under the cable, climb on it, grab the cable, dive under the water, and hook it to the anchor. Witness this game doesn’t, but the puzzles – all of which were the same scale and difficulty after a few hours – require enough mental energy to keep Far away: changing tides engagement: swimming to the right side of the screen.

Swimming in Faraway:

changing tides sounds tedious on paper, but in practice, it clicks with a lovely intonation that is pleasantly engaging but never overpowering. You can raise the mast and catch the breeze, further adjusting the pitch of the sail to speed it up or slow it down. And if there is no wind, you will need to pick up trophies from the ocean floor and burn them by jumping up and down on mechs to start the engine. But if you run out of fuel, you will stall. Everything is constantly breaking down, catching fire, so you need to maintain some attention, but not as much as the big blockbusters of the season. In the open sea, you can relax a little. You will be fine.

Far away: changing tides have a striking, museum-worthy art style, its steampunk design features a delightful oil painting aesthetic. The whole package is a calm, moving puzzle game that plays out with soft, predictable waves of tide maps as if you are carefree sailing on the waves of the open ocean because there is nothing else to worry about. . We can only hope that the end of the world will be so peaceful.

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