Some have puzzles gated behind abilities learned later in the game, while others are only necessary for gathering materials. Their stories unwind as they’re tended to. You play Spiritfarer Stella, the mistress of the ferry to the deceased. It's where your interests connect you with your people. You play as Stella who has been appointed as the new “Spiritfarer”, a modern retelling of Greek Mythology and the River Styx. This is where the “cozy management” of “a cozy management game about dying” comes in. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to confront the things I was feeling, but because I was worried about seeing the experience flattened in a video game package — reduced to a concept too simple to evoke any real feeling. Helping a spirit become ready to go involves cooking for them, hugging them, and building them a home on your enormous houseboat. Spiritfarer is a cosy management sim where you help the recently dead come to terms with their lost lives. Some people think of death as an ending, while others view it as a beginning. Except, I think it is actually about kindness. Support us on Patreon! There’s something to be learned about the spirits on the boat with each resource mined or meal served. It’s the perfect game. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. It’s not entirely unlike how you’d manage an island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, slowly accumulating the materials needed to tend to your creation. And none of the spirits are purely good or bad; some are people leaving a mess behind for others to grapple with. In 2017, he jumped at the chance to join studio Thunder Lotus to lead the Spiritfarer development team. Email us. Build a ship to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife. Spiritfarer works because the entire game is built around creating these connections to the characters, all of which are complex people with tangled stories. I can understand why most video game developers would choose not to address these realities: a first-person shooter would be an entirely different game if the bodies didn’t simply disappear into the ether as more and more pile up. Playing a game where you get to focus on making meaningful memories and caring for people as they are getting ready to pass on is macabre, but Spiritfarer doesn’t linger on death as a haunting thing. It’s not a restarting point, with a loss of time and progress, as if you’ve run out of life neatly calculated in a counter running in the background. Want more stories like this? In Spiritfarer we explore the mysterious ways of parting with your living self. I’d prefer not to think about death. Charon, the previous Spiritfarer, gives Stella an artifact called the Everlight. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. The concept of death usually isn’t a comfortable one. The dedicated ‘hug’ action says all you need to know about this game. Make a little something for the ones you love. Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer is described as a "cozy game about death," and it’s an apt description. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. Between Animal Crossing, Hades, and Octopath Traveler, my video games have kept me distracted from the chaos that is the outside world. Most of the characters on the ship, picked up throughout the game’s watercolor world, are Stella’s friends and family. The investment in these characters, though, is what makes the rote mechanisms of Spiritfarer’s gameplay feel worthwhile, because those connections happen organically. You get to bond with these spirits, and then you let them move on to that better plane. It’s a management game that manages to turn a game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and relaxing. Instead of relying archetypal morbidity, Spiritfarer punches you in the heart and makes you cry, all in a cozy, Ghibli-style setting. One of the oldest embodiments of death is the ancient Greek boatman Charon, who ferried souls across the River Styx and into the underworld. It is a wonderful complement to the sometimes isolating space that this terrible year has been. Spiritfarer doesn't seek to answer the difficult unknowns about death and what comes after. Next: Spiritfarer: Where to Find Every Gem Location Spiritfarer is … Alternative Character Interpretation: Hades questions why she chose to associate with death so much, acting as Spiritfarer and a pallative care nurse in real life according to the artbook. You work for it, which helps ease in the pain and grief of it all. Now it has received a surprise release, with a portion of the games media having been playing it for the past two weeks. Unlike other spirits, he is grown in a Garden from the Mysterious Seed, which can be fished out of the water after escorting three spirits to the Everdoor. Once a waypoint is set, the boat heads in that direction itself, sometimes encountering surprises — like a shipwreck with treasures — along the way. Gwen grew up in a dysfunctional yet aristocratic household, having a strained relationship with her father. The management elements of the game, while repetitive and straightforward, are made essential because they are acts of care — the relief Stella can provide to the dead as they move toward the Everdoor, the portal to the afterlife. The ship gets larger and more complex with each passenger that comes aboard, whether a garden to grow vegetables for a vegetarian spirit has been added, or the kitchen is upgraded to create elaborate meals for picky passengers. Because he's already passed through the Everdoor, he can't go again. Spiritfarer has a lot to say about both life and death, and the way it says it is largely well done. Spiritfarer, developed and published by Thunder Lotus Games, is a relaxing management game about death. Between doing that emotional labor, you get to engage in all of the usual, fun Animal Crossing-like “chores” of farming, mining, cooking, fishing, harvesting, and crafting across the world. There’s a big, emotional payoff for embracing the mechanics of the game, however many times you’ve visited the docks to harvest iron ore. He ponders whether she was hoping to conquer death or grow accustomed to it for when her time came. Spiritfarer is a sincere management game about death. You’ll take people … Where the game distinctly diverges from its predecessors, however, is how it deals with death. 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