|Developer(s)||Thunder Lotus Games|
|Publisher(s)||Thunder Lotus Games|
|Composer(s)||Maxime Lacoste Lebuis|
|Release||August 18, 2020|
|Genre(s)||Management simulation, action platformer|
Spiritfarer is an indie management sim and sandbox action game developed and published by Canadian studio Thunder Lotus Games and released for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Stadia on August 18, 2020. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. It received generally positive reviews from critics praising its slow-paced gameplay, detailed animation, orchestral musical score and unique themes.
On February 21, 2021, Thunder Lotus announced they were developing new content to be released throughout the course of the year, adding four new spirits to the game.
The player takes the role of Stella, accompanied by her pet cat Daffodil, who takes over from the mythological Charon as the new Spiritfarer, a ferrymaster who must sail the sea to find spirits and grant their last wishes and finally take them to the Everdoor, a gateway to the afterlife. In order to assist with her journey, Charon gifts both Stella and Daffodil with the magical Everlight.
After Charon passes through the Everdoor, Stella procures a ship of her own and begins travelling the world, picking up spirits and helping them fulfill their last wishes while befriending them along the way. As she picks up more spirits and collects resources, Stella expands the ship and its capabilities further. However, eventually, Stella must begin sending the spirits to the Everdoor, with each of them giving an emotional send off as they thank Stella for everything she has done for them. As Stella sends off more and more spirits, she soon begins occasionally encountering Hades, in the form of a giant owl. Hades shows Stella images of what are apparently her past life as a palliative care nurse, taking care of terminally ill patients before falling terminally ill herself. Hades then questions Stella's motivations, wondering whether her desire to help spirits is truly altruistic or simply a selfish means to ease her own insecurities.
Eventually, Stella sends off the last spirit through the Everdoor and she has one final confrontation with Hades. Hades reveals that Stella's real body is on the verge of death in the real world, and it is now her time to pass through the Everdoor. With her purpose fulfilled, Stella sails back to the Everdoor with Daffodil one last time. She passes through the Everdoor with Daffodil and they both become a constellation in the sky.
|PC Gamer (US)||85/100|
IGN's Tom Marks rated the game 9/10 and gave it the Editor's Choice award, comparing the game to a combination of Animal Crossing and an action platformer. He stated that, while the game "tackle[s] the heavy topic of death and those left behind in its wake", it is nonetheless "colorful" and "feel-good". He called the campaign "full of charming characters with somber, touching stories", though stating that "not all the characters are as impactful as others". He stated that the backtracking got "tiresome" and the formula of the game became predictable, with mundane tasks becoming "repetitive fast" if the player attempted to optimize their efficiency, but that the game forcing beloved characters to leave was emotionally affecting.
Rachel Watts of PC Gamer rated the game 85/100, saying that it is a "wholesome life-sim" that "deals with the topic of death and compassion with masterful balance". However, she criticized the "purposeful vagueness" about the nature of the afterlife and its inhabitants as "muddl[ing] the clarity of the characters' intentions". Eric Van Allen of USGamer rated the game 4/5, saying its writing is "warm, funny and charming", and the game is "best enjoyed in small pieces".
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