10 Aug 2021 1:47 PM +00:00

Spiritfarer Review: The Most Peaceful Trip To The Afterlife

Despite being a game entirely about death, Spiritfarer manages to be a consistently uplifting experience throughout. You see, you play as Stella, and both you and your cat Daffodil, have been chosen to take on the role of Spiritfarer. You’re inheriting this role from the one and only Charon, although they’re substantially more talkative than they are in Hades.

As the Spiritfarer, your job isn’t just to guide a boat, although that’s part of it, but to fulfil the final requests of your passengers and keep them comfortable. That means you need to attend to their desires when it comes to places they want to go, things they want to see, where they want to live, what they want to do, and even what they want to eat.

It’s a lot to deal with, but you’re just about the most cheerful person in existence, and if it ever feels like it’s getting too much, you can always crouch down and give your intensely fluffy cat a cuddle.

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Light Of Your Life

Screenshot from Spiritfarer showing the protagonist running through a meadow towards a bridge.
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In essence, Spiritfarer is basically a side-scrolling farming sim of sorts. You have to manage your limited space by stacking buildings atop each other on your boat, which is incredibly satisfying, and then make sure you’ve got things growing or being crafted most of the time too. You have to plant seeds, water those seeds, harvest them, and then turn those things into food, or linen to use in other bits of crafting.

You have to balance all of those things with your adventuring. When you set sail you’ll have time to kill as you make your way to your destination, and you can use that to fish and do everything else, but the ship also only moves during the day. That means most of your days will be spent moving from place to place to try and meet new spirits and exploring new regions, and your nights will either be spent sleeping, or doing all of that micromanagement stuff.

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Have A Seat

Screenshot from Spiritfarer showing the game's Build Mode.
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Really though, Spiritfarer isn’t all about the gameplay, it’s about the stories it tells. Every passenger you find has their own personality and tales to tell. Each one is touching, well-crafted, and vaguely reminiscent of somebody you know. You’ll find yourself heavily invested in every single one of them, and it makes your job as Spiritfarer rather bittersweet.

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Verdict

While the game is definitely hopeful and joyful overall, parting is such sweet sorrow, and you’ll have to do it time and time again as you play through the story. It’s a tough thing to balance, and yet Spiritfarer does so masterfully. It’s the kind of game that’s going to enrapture people, and already has too. It’s never too late to change, and it’s also never too late to jump into such a wonderful indie game.

4/5

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

Review copy provided by the publisher