In the words of the late John Pinette (and I’m paraphrasing), “I’m not fan of the ocean. Shit bites you in the ocean.” I personally couldn’t agree more. “FarSky” was one of the unfortunate games to fall under my radar when it released earlier this year and despite the name, features plenty of ocean and things in it willing to bite your face off. As hesitant as I was to face my personal fears of being trapped in an underwater environment, I think that “FarSky” is one of the better survival games to have hit the virtual shelves. Here’s why…
First and foremost, “FarSky” uses Java so be sure to have an updated version installed. Those of you who play “Minecraft” regularly won’t have this problem. Now then, “FarSky” will put you in the role of Nathan somebody-or-other who has crashed his submarine into many pieces. It’ll be your job to catch your bearings and survive the underwater elements long enough to find those submarine parts, put them together, and ascend to the surface. Think “Sir, You Are Being Hunted” but underwater. I don’t see a lot of survival sims focused on such a setting, making my experience a rather refreshing one.
Before I get ahead of myself here, it’s important to note that there are two game modes available. Adventure mode will spawn you in a random map tasked with completing the above dilemma. Sandbox mode, on the other hand, is an open-ended experience that features a larger map with which to mess around. You’ll be able to collect gold in Adventure mode which can then be used to pimp out your character’s starting supplies in Sandbox, tying the two modes together rather elegantly. A Survivor mode is available once you beat Adventure mode and while I haven’t gotten that far, it promises to be a lot more unforgiving.
Unlike “Sir, You Are Being Hunted”, you’ll have your very own base of operations. The game will spawn a starting base for you near your crash site, along with some starting supplies so that you don’t starve to death within your first few minutes of playing. As you may have gathered from that last sentence, you will need to eat food to keep your hunger level from reaching critical levels. While there’s no penalty for eating raw fish meat and the like, cooking it will satisfy your hunger levels more efficiently. I’ve been poisoned enough in “The Long Dark” so I was kind of grateful for this particular game design decision. Character death, for those of you curious, will result in you dropping all of your items but it is not a game-ender.
In terms of crafting, the items available leave much to be desired compared to some of the other games on the market. With that said, the absence of craftable content isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can’t speak for everyone, but I highly dislike having to alt-tab to view Wiki pages while I’m playing so that I can craft something. “Don’t Starve”, “Terraria”, and “Minecraft” all have hidden crafting rules that require research and I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s a turnoff. I didn’t have that problem with “FarSky”. While there’s only five or so crafting tables and about ten to twenty items per table, I didn’t have to guess or stress over what I was supposed to be doing. The game tells you what materials you need to make the item and that’s that. As a casual gamer who plays many, many games, I was fine with the fact that there weren’t a crapton of craftable items in the game.
The ambience and graphics are beautiful despite the fact that they have a cartoonish feel. “The Long Dark” proved that you don’t need realistic graphics to make a game look pretty and “FarSky”, I feel, adopts the same attitude. There’s usually sting rays, whales, or dolphins swimming overhead making the appropriate calls and it all sounds wonderful…that is, until you see your screen flash red after something bites you in the hind quarters. Yes, friends, there are sharks, barracuda, kraken, and other baddies to contend with in the deep blue sea. Luckily, you’ll have a spear gun and auto-turrets to help you fend off their constant need to eat you. They drop better quality meat than your standard run of the mill fish, so hunting them down is sometimes more efficient (albeit dangerous).
While there aren’t different “biomes” per se’, you will encounter different creatures and the like the further down you go. Once you craft a helmet that can withstand those depths (otherwise you’ll quickly find yourself dead), you’ll be able to explore some of the more eerie areas of your map. Besides submarine parts, sometimes you’ll run across droids that you can fix (which follow you around and protect you), chests that contain random loot, flooded bases for you to fix up and call your own, and possibly the mighty kraken and its cohorts. You’ll also find iron, coal, and other mineral deposits scattered about which can be mined manually via a drill or automatically via an extractor, the latter of which is another cool feature I don’t often see in survival games.
“FarSky” is an incredible achievement. It’s not the most in-depth survival game I’ve played, but not all survival games have to be. In fact, some might prefer a more laid-back, casual experience that will still challenge them to succeed. Fifteen bucks, the current asking price as of 10/2/14, is more than fair in my opinion. This goes double for anyone who, like myself, is really into the survival genre. I’m incredibly sorry that I didn’t notice its launch in April but glad to have finally given it the chance it deserves.
Final Verdict: 9/10
You can learn more about and purchase “FarSky” by visiting the following websites: