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Spiritfarer

Spiritfarer (from English – “spiritual mentor”) is an indie computer game in the genres of management simulator and action-platformer, developed by the Canadian studio Thunder Lotus Games and independently released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and on the cloud service Stadia. August 18, 2020. The protagonist of the game, Stella, becomes a spiritual mentor whose job is to transport the souls of dead people to the afterlife. The game received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised Spiritfarer for its slow pace of play, elaborate animations, orchestral soundtrack, and unique theme.

Game process
The authors describe Spiritfarer as “a cozy death game.” The player controls Stella and her pet cat, Narcissus. Stella takes the place of Charon – a ferryman who needs to look for the souls of dead people, fulfill their last desires, and then deliver them to the Eternal Gate leading to the afterlife.

The souls picked up on the ship must be looked after – they should be fed on time with food that they like, and sometimes hugged. Each soul reveals its story and gives a task to fulfill its last desire – for example, to build a separate house for them or find a certain dish. Completing tasks will require finding special resources, for which the player will have to explore the world of the game. Satisfied souls will help the player to manage the household – for example, melt metals or play music that accelerates the ripening of vegetables. In addition, from time to time the player will need to improve his own ship – for example, by making it larger so that more buildings can fit on it, or by attaching an icebreaker to the bow to gain access to a location closed by an ice wall.

Criticism
The Spiritfarer received mostly positive reviews from critics. On Review Aggregator Metacritic, the PC got an average rating of 84 out of 100 based on 33 reviews, the PS4 version got 82 out of 100 based on 6 reviews, and on Nintendo Switch, the game got an average rating of 82 out of 100 based on 16 reviews.

IGN’s Tom Marks rated the game 9/10 and gave it an Editor’s Choice award, comparing the game to a mix of Animal Crossing and action-platformer. He stated that while the game “touches upon the grave subject of death and those who fell into its hands,” it is nonetheless colorful and positive. He called the campaign “full of charming characters with dark, moving stories,” but noted that “not all characters are as important as others.” He found that going back in time was becoming “tedious,” the formula for the game was “predictable,” and mundane assignments quickly became rehearsal. However, he admitted that the game in which his favorite characters pass away is touching.

Rachel Watts of PC Gamer gave the game an 85/100 rating, describing the game as “a complete life simulator” that “deals with the themes of death and compassion with masterful balance.” She, however, criticized the “purposeful uncertainty” of life after death and the fact that the intentions of the characters are deliberately entangled [7]. Eric van Allen of USGamer rated the game 4 out of 5, calling the script “warm, fun and enchanting” and saying that the game “is best enjoyed in small pieces” [3].

DTF’s Efim Gugnin commented that “With such plots, Spiritfarer could easily be a very depressing game, but the main miracle is that it is not. It is touching, of course, it is dramatic, but not in the least overwhelming or even tragic, ”and stated that Spiritfarer could work as a therapy.

The game was nominated for Games with Social Impact and Best Indie Game at The Game Awards 2020, but the winners were Tell Me Why and Hades, respectively.

Notes (edit)
Efim Gugnin. Review of Spiritfarer – a cozy death game. DTF (5 September 2020). Date of treatment: January 6, 2021.
Spiritfarer Review – IGN. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
Allen, Eric Van Spiritfarer Review: Come Sail Away. USgamer (August 18, 2020). Date of treatment: August 22, 2020.
Spiritfarer for PC Reviews. Metacritic. Date of treatment: January 6, 2021.
Spiritfarer for PlayStation4 Reviews. Metacritic. Date of treatment: January 6, 2021.
Spiritfarer for Switch Reviews. Metacritic. Date of treatment: January 6, 2021.
Watts, Rachel Spiritfarer review? PC Gamer (August 18, 2020). Date of treatment: August 22, 2020.
Tassi, Paul Here’s The Game Awards 2020 Winners List With A Near-Total ‘Last Of Us’ Sweep. Forbes (December 11, 2020).
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Thunder Lotus Games
Jotun (2015) Sundered (2018) Spiritfarer (2020)
Categories: Alphabetical PC Games 2020 PC GamesIndie GamesWindows GamesLinux GamesMacOS GamesPlayStation 4 GamesBox One GamesNintendo Switch GamesQuestsCanada-Developed PC GamesCo-op PC Games

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