Far from Noise is a narrative title that’s releasing on Steam and Playstation 4 today for £5.99.
You play the role of a woman who wakes up to find herself staring out at the ocean, stuck in a car that’s see-sawing precariously over a cliff edge and unable to get out for fear of tipping over. After getting past the notion that you’re stuck, and there really is no option but to sit and admire the view, the narrative picks through a period of introspection before introducing an unusual companion who remains through most of the game.
The dialogue you pick changes the course of the discussion and even affects the events of the game’s story. Choices affect the conversation subjects, the wildlife you see and even the weather. Needless to say there are different endings, too, although I only saw one. The game is explicitly surreal, raising the question of exactly how much of what you are experiencing is imagined, and through the conversation the writing contemplates subjects like loneliness, life and death, the beauty of nature and offers a little insight into the past of the character you control.
It’s a slow paced experience that relies almost entirely on dialogue boxes to convey its narrative and the screen you’re looking at now is largely the only one you ever see. That said, the game manages to remain entertaining with its writing alone. The dialogue pop ups and characterisation are smart and funny and cleverly timed as to mimic the flow of actual speech.
I think I would like to have seen a version of this story with voice acting, a bit like Oxenfree, but the lack of spoken dialogue does allow you to project yourself into the narrative to a point. It also maintains the question of whether the main character really is talking out loud to themselves or going through an internal monologue.
The story itself carefully builds up to a few stand out poignant moments and gives them room to breathe with long stretches removed of dialogue that help maintain the tone. The music is emphatic and works with the art direction to create a sense of mood that fits the writing. The art direction is gorgeous, it’s what drew my attention to the game in the first place; transition between day and night in the game is really quite charming.
If it wasn’t for it’s own sense of camp humour it’s more Poe faced moments might have come across as overstated. Thankfully the balance between the introspective and the silly keeps the game on the right side of pretension.
If everything I’ve said about the game so far has piqued your interest then I fully recommend giving Far from Noise a go.
Hanging over a cliff as a metaphor.