Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games completely blew me away. I have played a ton of indie games this year and Spiritfarer is one of if not the very best I have had the pleasure to play. The thing is that this is the kind of game that is rather hard to talk about as it is all about experiencing it. I played the game on Xbox One Game Pass, but it is also available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
If you read anything about this game, you will read how it is about death. Death is something that the majority of video games are about, either you killing or being killed. With Spiritfarer death is a massive part of what the game is about, but so is celebrating life and what makes people special as well.
The game sees you playing the role of Stella. Stella has just become the ferry master to the dead who need to be taken to their final resting place. I know that this sounds like a bit of a “grim” subject for a game to focus on. However, the storytelling here is fantastic and it will make you smile, make you tear up and it will always make you care about the people you are dealing with.
How to Download Spiritfarer
To download the game for Windows, Xbox One, PS4 or Switch, click on the Download button at the end of the review.
The Game Review
You will pick up new “passengers” and each one has some form of unfinished business that they need your help with. This can vary considerably from wanting to try a nice meal to something much deeper. It is up to you to help them with this so that they can pass on. You will have to do a lot of exploration in this game.
You can take your ferry to many different islands. Here you can find resources, items and so on that will help you help others and progress through the game. The progression at first is very slow as everything takes time. In the early part of the game, you feel like you are always waiting for something to craft, cook, or whatever.
As you get deeper into the game and you have more and more things to do this is not an issue. The progression is very clever in that as you help people pass on you are usually helped with something in return. From getting an item to getting a new ability such as a double jump or the ability to glide that will help you explore new areas.
You can build upon your ferry as you play. You build rooms, a place to cook, and so on and in no time at all, your modest ferry is something pretty spectacular. Helping the people that come onto your ship is just fantastic. The more time you spend with them the more you learn about them. Some of the stuff you find out is very deep such as one passing away from cancer.
The game does a fantastic job of making you care about the majority of the characters you come across. On more than one occasion I was bummed out when I had to say goodbye to someone, but at the same time, I was happy as I had helped them cross over. It is very hard to describe, but it is a wonderful feeling.
There is a multiplayer component to the game. In the multiplayer, the main player still plays as Stella, but a second player can play as a little cat that can help out. I will admit that I have not tried the multiplayer, but to be honest with you, the subject matter of the game to me feels like it is more made for one person.
The presentation of Spiritfarer is fantastic. It features some truly beautiful hand-drawn artwork that is really going to blow you away. This along with the perfectly fitting soundtrack make the game a true joy to the senses. I know that we have had a ton of hand-drawn 2D indie games, but this is one of the best I have ever seen.
I really cannot praise Spiritfarer highly enough. I will admit that I did not expect much going into this, but I was completely blown away. It is one of my games of 2020 and an experience that I will probably never forget. I am not sure it is the kind of game I would ever go back and play, but the memories of the way this game made me feel will stick with me for a very long time.
- One of the best indie games I have played in a long time
- The visuals are breathtaking
- The game has a very interesting progression system
- You meet some very interesting characters
- If you have Game Pass, you can get the Xbox One version for free
- You do a bit of waiting in the early part of the game
- It is such an “experience” I am not sure playing again would have the same impact