[Beyond PlayStation] Spiritfarer Review
Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games is a colorful and charming management game about the afterlife. Learn more about it in our Spiritfarer review!
Thunder Lotus Games previously gave us the gorgeous and challenging Jotun, as well as the just as the great looking must-have Metroidvania Sundered. It’s now back on Nintendo Switch with Spiritfarer, a gorgeous game – notice a pattern? – that this time around deals with a very serious topic: death. The game is described by Thunder Lotus Games as a cozy management game about dying, and after playing it for this Spiritfarer review, I do have to agree with what the team had to say!
You will play as Stella, newly appointed ferrymaster to the recently departed. Your journey will start when you meet Charon, the Spiritfarer itself… or at least that’s what he used to do up until Stella arrived in the afterlife! It’s Charon’s last day at the job, so you’ll be getting some on the job training to take over. You’ll be joined on this adventure by Daffodil, a cat with a name that is a nod to the plant of the same name, which is usually linked to things such as death and good fortune.
Your new job as Spiritfarer requires that you to find the stray spirits that are stranded on the island so that when they’re ready, you can help them pass away. Bring them to the Everdoor, by making good use of the Everlight, the light that shines in the darkness, the last remaining hope for the departed, to guide the souls you’ll meet. You will need a vessel to aid you since Charon’s ship disappears along with him. The good news is that you will find a new boat a few minutes after starting your journey with Spiritfarer, soon after meeting Gwen, the first soul that will need your help.
Stella will run with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, interacting with things or with NPC with the A button, jumping with the B button. If you press and hold down the B button, that will allow Stella to use her hat to glide, which will slow down her fall. Use the glide ability and catch a draft of wind, and you’ll be able to soar higher to reach previously out of reach spots. Each of the NPC you meet will have some requests for you to complete, which will act as the game’s different objectives. You can check these by pressing the – button.
Fulfilling each soul’s last requests, and helping them until their last breath, are at the center of Spiritfarer. The A button will play a very important role in this since when you interact with a character, you will have different options for your actions. You could give someone an item you’ve obtained, share some of the food in your inventory, talk to a character to see what they need, check their overall mood, as well as get to see some of the information you’ve unlocked for them, such as what their favorite food is and what their likes and dislikes are. And then, there’s the hug option. Do not underestimate the power of a well-placed hug!
Since your new ship is in need of some repairs, you will need to use your Everlight to power it, so that you can take it to the Shipyard so that Albert can take a look at it. Oh, and Al is a shark. The first step will be to upgrade your Blueprint Station, and the good news is that Al will let you have one for your ship… free of charge! While the first upgrade is free, the rest are going to require you to spend some of the Glims – the in-game currency – you collect, as well as the resources that you gather. Al says that the prices are going to be so low that you’ll want to get them all as fast as possible, and I do have to agree with him!
You’ll upgrade your Blueprint Station a handful of times once you get it set up on your boat, but you’ll also be going to be upgrading the size of your boat, from the starting small-sized ship, all the way up to a colossus-sized vessel! There are also upgrades that will improve your boat with things such as a mailbox, an icebreaker, a figurehead that will make the boat move 20% faster – and then 40%, and then 60%…. and then 80%! -, or a powerful rock destroyer that will allow you to pulverize yourself some rocks.
Your ship will help you welcome new spirits into your new life and role, and for this, you will need to have the required accommodations where they can temporarily reside. For this, you will have to edit your boat and go into Build Mode, where you’ll put to good use the different resources you procure during your journey as you travel from point A to point B, and all the way to Z. But wait, there’s more! You need to feed your guests, so you’ll have to put some thought into what you add to your ship so that, along with fishing here and there, you can, for example, have some cereal seeds or veggies to use in your kitchen.
You’ll unlock a wide variety of recipes as you use the kitchen for cooking different meals for your guests. Pop some corn into the oven, and you’ll get popcorn, a solid comfort food option that is good for a snack. Cook a small herring, and you’ll have some grilled fish to offer to your guests. A turnip goes into the oven, and out come some delicious grilled veggies! Every dish will have a different cooking time, so you’ll have to wait until you hear the distinct “ding” from the kitchen timer before Stella can conjure her magical cooking gloves to grab whatever it is you’ve cooked.
The game will have a day and night cycle, so during the day, you’ll be able to sail around on your ship, searching for more and more resources and new souls to welcome to your boat, cooking meals for them so that they don’t go hungry. But when the night hits, you will have to go to bed as well so that you can get some rest. Once the morning is in full swing, ring the bell to wake up your guests so that you can interact with them, feed them, and give them some much-needed hugs.
Spiritfarer is a game that I had been looking forward to playing ever since it was announced, and I’m here to report that it’s definitely a charming – and gorgeous – management-style game that deals with a very serious topic – death and the afterlife – in an interesting way. A short adventure this is not – you can expect dozens of hours of gaming in the Spiritfarer world in your future – nor is it a fast-paced one. I loved playing Spiritfarer for this review, and I certainly recommend that you give the game a spin. Spiritfarer is out now on Nintendo Switch for a $29.99 asking price.
This Spiritfarer review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Thunder Lotus Games.