It’s pretty safe to say that the free-to-play/battle royale/hero shooter genre is saturated by this point. I would even describe it as over-extended.
So, when something interesting comes along that isn’t a new update for Call of Duty: Warzone, Apex Legends, Fortnite, or PUBG (does anybody play that anymore?), I definitely sit up and pay attention. That happened recently when a game called Farlight 84 came across my desk.
So, what makes this game special in the current sea of free-to-play games? That’s what we’re going to find out in this review of Farlight 84 on Steam.
Don’t Make Something New, Make Something FUN
Farlight 84 was developed and published by the appropriately named Farlight Games – a Singapore-based games studio that is the subsidiary of another relatively well-known studio: Lilith Games. You might recognize Lilith Games as the creators of AFK Arena, but you might also be familiar with Farlight Game’s previous work: Dislyte. That turn-based strategy RPG made its way to mobile platforms in 2022, and has since garnered more than 1.2 million downloads.
While that game might be fun and addicting (I’ve never personally played it), it’s a far cry from what Farlight has created with Farlight 84. On the outside, it kind of just looks like another cookie-cutter hero shooter. If you squint your eyes and tilt your head, you might even be able to fool yourself into thinking you’re looking at an early version of Fortnite. Thankfully, there is more going on under the hood than that.
Splitting the Difference Between Imitation and Inspiration
There’s no getting around it.
Farlight 84’s art style is very reminiscent of Fortnite. These characters are cartoony with Pixar-like features and proportions, and some of them seem like they were designed to be direct replacements for Fortnite characters. Just look at Ducksyde and tell me it doesn’t have the same blank stare as a Fortnite Llama.
Thankfully, each character also has a short bio that gives them a little bit of extra personality, which I always enjoy. Maggie’s pizza cat ears make a little more sense after you know she’s a pizza delivery girl…slash…vlogger? I suppose that’s relatable.
At the very least, there are a few of the 14 different characters that have very cool character designs that stand out. Phantom’s Ghost in the Shell-like suit is killer, and Yong’s winged jetpack and prosthetic limbs make him a personal favorite.
Since this is a hero shooter, the differences between these characters are also more than skin-deep. Not by much, but it still counts.
Get Ready to Drop
Getting into an actual match in Farlight 84, you’ll most likely be familiar with how things play out.
Up to 60 players will drop onto a massive, open map in teams of up to four players. Then, each team will need to procure weapons and equipment wherever they land, and fight back other players until only one team is left standing. Very typical battle royale stuff.
Farlight 84 takes a page out of the Apex Legends playbook by giving each of the heroes a unique set of skills. Some characters have evasive or defensive skills, others have grenades or missiles they can call down at a moment’s notice, and all of that good stuff is tied to cooldown timers. Playing as MK.R, it took me a little while to get used to the feel of his “Fatal Volley” skill. But once I did, firing off rockets while I reloaded felt exhilarating, and I feel like proper usage of that skill and others actually did give me an advantage over my opponents, which I don’t feel can be said about other games.
You can’t have a hero shooter without tight shooting mechanics, and thankfully Farlight 84 delivers there as well. I’m sure I didn’t get hands-on with all of the 20 or so weapons contained within the game, but the ones I did use felt great. It has your standard array of full auto or burst assault rifles, some shotguns, and sniper rifles like the Defender which really pack a punch. Each weapon felt balanced and powerful, and the weapon part modification system provides a great way to customize your weapon of choice. I’m not skilled enough to tell the difference between one stock or another, but changing the sights on any of the guns completely changed its use case.
I played Farlight 84 for several hours, and I basically dominated. This is not common for me, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more comfortable watching battle royales than actually playing them. However, I was really stomping the competition, to the point that I thought the game was powering me up unfairly or something. And then I noticed something. Something that was staring me right in the face through the majority of the game’s UI…
Farlight 84 is a mobile-first game.
The Dangers of Cross-Play
So, Farlight 84 has over 27,000 reviews on Steam. Checking the Steam Charts, it seems that the peak players went as high as 41,000 at one point. There are tens of thousands of PC players who are playing or have played Farlight at some point, and I’m not sure how many of them I actually saw.
I mostly played against smartphone users.
Farlight 84 supports cross-play between iOS, Android, and PC, and it seems like the smartphone user base is far larger than the PC one. Most likely since Fortnite isn’t available on iOS anymore, and this is a more than suitable substitute. I don’t really have any problem with that outside of UI prompts that say “Tap Here” scattered absolutely everywhere, but it’s something to consider for potential players looking for a challenge.
If you’re playing with a keyboard and mouse, you probably have an unfair advantage over most of the people who are playing Farlight 84. Could that have been why I had such a good time with the game and did so well? Oh, absolutely that’s the reason.
A Game Worth Trying
Considering the few quibbles I have with Farlight 84, you can probably tell how I feel about the game. It’s fun! It has cool characters! I got to curb-stomp 12-year-olds several matches in a row!
If any of that appeals to you, Farlight 84 is definitely worth at least a little bit of your time. And, considering it’s free-to-play, it won’t cost you anything to do it either. And hey, if you get bored of being the top dog in match after match, go ahead and pop into Fortnite for a few minutes. That’ll put you in your place.