Release Date: 05/17/2018
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A mysterious girl in a red cloak sets sail on a strange SteamPunk-inspired machine to always move to the right. It’s never clear what your purpose is, or why you’re going on this short two-hour journey, but you’re doing it, and it’s quite interesting.
Your ship rolls instead of flies, but that’s okay. Inside the ship, there are several red buttons that do various tasks. The whole purpose of the game is to keep the ship moving by either hoisting your sails when there’s wind or using fuel and keeping the engine running. By the ignition button, there’s a steam release button and a brake. Behind the ship are buttons to suck up fuel on the road and a lift to insert objects into for fuel. The front of the ship has a pulley system and there is a fire hose and repair torch. Most of these items you won’t get until you come across them in your journey. It’s pretty satisfying to micromanage something as simple as always stopping the machine to grab a box of fuel on the road to having a machine pull it in for you.
As you sail across the landscape you will bump into a few puzzles. These require a little platforming mixed with figuring out how to get your ship through a door or across a lake. They are fairly simple and after a little fiddling you will figure out what to do. Outside of this though the game is void of anything. Once your ship is moving there’s literally nothing to do, especially when you have full sails and aren’t needing to micromanage your engine. I also was annoyed that the music starts and stops so abruptly and several minutes will go by of absolute silence.
The game looks beautiful with hand-drawn art, but it drives me crazy not knowing what the purpose of this game is, and I don’t like that. I’m all for minimalist game design, but developers who make you go on a journey with no background or story are just lazy and not cute or innovative. The various button-pressing mechanics are fun and a brand new concept I have never played before, but what’s the point at the end of two hours? Did I actually make a difference or accomplish something besides finding the credits?
Far: Lone Sails has very interesting gameplay mechanics, but it’s hard to recommend outside of sheer curiosity. Don’t expect a grandiose or heartfelt story here, just an interesting game to look at and button-pressing gameplay.