I’ve loved cross-section diagrams since a family member handed me the book The Way Things Work. Seeing all the detail and structure inside a piece of machinery or architecture demystifies it. Far grants you this perspective: an interior look at the mechanical junker you’re driving as you guide it from left to right across a post-apocalyptic 2D landscape.
You don’t drive the vehicle with your controller or keyboard, as you would in a racing game. In Far, you’re the tiny, rectangular person inside this hulking land machine, controlling your little mechanic as you would a 2D platformer. As this unnamed, unintroduced character, you operate different stations within the sand crawler, buttons situated in different spots that control elevators, fire suppression systems (sprinklers), throttle, brakes, or doors. Atop the machine, I stepped on a switch that unfurled a pair of enormous sails, and another that oriented the sails to make them catch wind, pushing the vehicle forward.
Back below, I was feeding wooden crates and metal barrels into the rear compartment of the vehicle, where they’d be converted into fuel. I lowered a retractable ramp at the front, essentially opening a mouth that fed the crates and barrels into the cabin. This platforming legwork keeps you pretty occupied, but it’s punctuated by some pit stops that force you to get out, take in the scenery, and solve a puzzle in order to progress. I had to climb atop a crane to hoist a dangling shipping crate that was blocking the road. Another time, I walked the length of a bridge and pushed a button to reset its position, the camera zooming out to almost comedic distance as I made the walk.
These puzzles weren’t challenging, but they both came in the first 5 or 10 minutes of the game. Even if its problem solving ends up being simple, I think Far’s bigger appeal will be its environmental storytelling and the strange calm I felt as its peaceful, ruined landscape chugged along. I loved that I wasn’t subjected to a tutorial, or any background at all about who I was, the origin of my vehicle, or where I was going. I’d expect Far to unravel its little mysteries gently as you make your way through it, along the lines of other wordless games like Machinarium and Journey.
A developer did mention to me that the E3 build didn’t include a few changes they’ve already made to the game. You’ll be able to climb up to a balloon attached to your vehicle to survey the landscape, and the interior compartments of the vehicle itself are likely to change a bit. Likewise, you’ll be able to upgrade and customize your vehicle, though it’s unclear exactly what you’ll tinker with. From this quick test drive, this seems like it’ll be a roadtrip worth taking.