Genre: experiential, one of a kind, platformer, adventure, role playing, simulation management
Release Date: 2020
Every now and then above the mindless din of battle royale and shoot all you can shoot blockbusters that cost hundreds of millions to develop, there comes a piece of gaming art. Spiritfarer is a work of polished unassuming gaming talent that soars without fanfare to the experiential occasion.
In Spiritfarer you play Stella, a bubbly, curious, smiling and caring ferrymaster to the deceased. Your ferry is more of a pretty colourful giant boat upon which you can build houses for your passengers. The spirits take the shape of animals. You care for them and they care for you and your cat. And when they’re ready to move on, you’ll say goodbye.
Playability: As smooth as silk but is it a game?
Spiritfarer gameplay is a smooth as can be. The game runs on my decade old laptop without a cinch. The controls are so smooth you tend to forget you’ve got a controller in your hands. In Spiritfarer you’ll fish, collect lightning, plant seeds, travel, discover and experience an endless variety of little playful tasks. The game has platforming aspects but it is not really a platformer. A bit of resource collection here. A dash of crafting there. Is it a management simulation? A tycoon game? A soother? A gamified meditator? All of the above?
Annoyance: You play Spiritfarer when the World annoys you
You play Spirifarer when you get annoyed and you want to find a little island of peace in your rough day. Should I meditate or should I play Spiritfarer before bedtime? There’s no grind, no tedium, no repetitiveness, no frustration in this peaceful and joyful game.
Beauty: Intricate hand drawings seemlessly animated on big screen vistas
The Old Video Gamer is an easy dupe for beautiful art. In the end my 27 inch monitor wasn’t big enough so I plugged in a projector to fully bask in the visual ambrosia that Spiritfarer is. I can only imagine the hours and the labour of love that must have been to design each spirit’s little house. Spiritfarer piles Kawai cuteness upon cuteness. Its cartoon characters make strange little noises that somehow totally make sense. And when you expect it least, there’s wide angle photography of our beautiful universe with stars playing patterns in the breath-taking skies.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Magical and contemplative soother 9/10
Spiritfarer is a spellbinding intoxicating game, with beauty and serenity everywhere you search: from the gameplay controls, the whimsical dialogues to the stunning artwork. After just a few minutes (or maybe it was a few hours as time seemed to be suspended), the Old Video Gamers knew that they had unearthed a big hearted indie gem, complete with power animals and spiritual pump. Spririfarer gloriously redefines gaming. It’s a personal experience with fun gaming aspects that lingers a long time after you’ve put down your controller. Which begs the question: was the “game” crafted by shamanic practitioners?