This past weekend myself and two of DIY’s other writers — Arsen and Erik — were lucky enough to attend IndieCade, one of the premiere indie gaming centric events in the world. While the event showcased many of the best games indie developers have to offer, one title in particular really stuck out to me as a great game.
Faraway is a game being designed and created by Steph Thirion of Eliss fame. Like Eliss before it, Faraway is being developed for iOS, with versions planned for both the iPhone/iPod Touch as well as the larger and more accessible iPad.
Now, realistically, this won’t be a long preview. Honestly, the game just isn’t deep enough for me to talk about it that much, but that doesn’t mean the game is bad or I’m selling it short. Faraway is a pretty remarkable game that relies on its simplistic, “one-button” nature to hook you into playing it over and over again.
The whole concept behind Faraway is that you play as a comet hurdling through space. You’re only able to play for as long as the timer allows, which starts off at 30 seconds I believe. The whole point is to get points and added time so that you can play the game for longer and longer periods of time.
Getting points and time isn’t really an easy prospect given the game’s unique control method. Seeing as how you play as a wayward comet you don’t actually control the comet directly. How you control it is by “latching” onto various gravitational pulls created by stars. Simply press anywhere on the screen, and your comet will latch on to the nearest star — highlighted so you know which one it is — and swing you around. Through this method you can kind of zigzag your way through the galaxy.
Of course, the game does provide a general direction or goal that you’ll want to head towards. Upon starting each level, you’ll be given an arrow pointing in a specific direction. This arrow leads you to a cluster of stars which you can use to make constellations, the more elaborate constellation you are able to make the more points and time you’ll gain.
Additionally, there are two types of asteroids you can hit that do different things. The regular/blue asteroid simply adds five seconds to your overall time making it a good detour if you find yourself running out of time. The red asteroid, on the other hand, gives you super speed allowing you to hurdle through space much faster than you normally would.
All in all, I’d say the games simplistic gameplay does wonders for keeping people coming back. I know while I was playing it I was often reminiscing about other simple games that I really enjoyed over the past few months on my iPod Touch like Canabalt. Faraway is looking to be the latest game is a genre that I don’t believe many people would have expected to have been so successful even a couple years ago.
Faraway still doesn’t have a solid release date, unfortuantely, however, when playing the game I didn’t find any mature features missing or overtly large flaws so, hopefully, the game isn’t too far out from a release date.
Oh and sorry for the lack of any decent pictures, they’re rather hard to come by at this point. I highly recommend watching the video below, courtesy of TourchArcade.com. It gives a great idea of what the game is about.