The past two months have been defined by fixed, spacious adventure that consume all your free time (and part of your soul). As a result, this week I’ve been drawn to a tighter, more focused game, Okomotive’s Wide: Changing tides.
Wide: Changing tidesReleased earlier this month for PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox – and as part of the Game Pass library – is a sequel to 2018 Far: Lonely Sails, an immersive side-scrolling journey that sees you traversing vast distances in a creaky old ship. I expected so much Changing tides. What I wasn’t expecting, and what I was pleasantly surprised to learn, is that it’s also a slick, intelligently designed puzzle-platformer that’s clearly from the school of Playdead (limbo, Inside).
Like almost everything with the Playdead family tree (and its own predecessor, Lonely Sails), Wide: Changing tides opens cold. You, as the silent, nameless protagonist, wake up underwater. They can apparently hold their breath indefinitely – a benefit that, at least personally speaking, has banished the creeping claustrophobia that accompanies underwater segments in video games. Eventually you break the surface.
At this point I thought the game was going to give me a steampunk sailboat because, you know, the whole “sailing gamething. Instead, I jumped back and forth between the roofs of mostly submerged buildings. Wide: Changing tides is set in a post-apocalyptic setting where cities teeming with Mediterranean-style architecture have been inundated by a vague tide of biblical proportions. There’s no immediate explanation for what happened, so the roof-to-roof jump is given an air of mystery.
But even that short platform segment didn’t lead me to a boat. No, no, first came the wave of environmental mysteries.
An early mystery sees you trapped in a garage. You have to pull an emergency release cable and hook it to an anchor on the opposite wall to let yourself out. Problem number one: the anchor is under water. Problem number two: the cable itself isn’t, and there’s no way to reach it (because the player character is tiny). So the solution is to just slide a box under the cable, climb on it, grab the cable, dive under water and hook it to the anchor. The witnessthis game isn’t, but the puzzles – all of which were of similar scope and complexity after a few hours – require just enough mental energy to keep going Wide: Changing tides Engagement: Sail to the right side of the screen.
The Sailing Wide: Changing tides sounds boring on paper, but in practice it clicks with a nice cadence that’s pleasantly engaging but never overpowering. You can raise your mast and catch a breeze by further adjusting the pitch of your sail to go faster or slower. But when you come onto a flyover you have to lower the mast to keep it from clipping. And when there’s no wind, you’ll have to scrape salvage from the seabed and burn it — jumping up and down on a roar — to start an engine. But if you run out of fuel, you’ll stall. Everything is constantly collapsing and catching fire, so you’ll need to keep some attention, but not to the extent of the season’s big blockbusters. On the open sea you can retreat a bit. you will be ok
Wide: Changing tides features a striking, museum-worthy art style, his steampunk designs are set in a delicious oil painting aesthetic. The whole package comes together as a tranquil, moving puzzler that plays out with the smooth, predictable waves of tide charts, as if you’re riding the waves of an open ocean carefree, because there’s nothing left to worry about. We can only hope that the end of the world is so peaceful.
https://kotaku.com/far-changing-tides-loan-sails-xbox-game-pass-puzzle-pla-1848660892 An immersive, quiet Game Pass hit