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July 30, 2022

Spiritfarer Farewell Edition - It's Not Goodbye, It's See You Later > NAG

Over the last few weeks, I've been searching for games I could play in the short few hours of power I get at night thanks to load-shedding that would a) be able to keep me entertained, b) make me feel relaxed and calm and c) make me want to return next time I have power. Spiritfarer Farewell Edition is all those things and more.

At its core, Spiritfarer is a cozy management game about death. Still, instead of tackling the heavy topic with feelings of sadness and darkness, it does so in a way that feels comforting and assuring, like a hug after a long lonely day. You play through Spiritfarer as a girl named Stella (and her delightful cat Daffodil, who can be controlled by a friend if playing the game in local co-op) who has just become the ferry master to those who have died. It's up to you to pick up lost spirits, care for them and offer them friendship and comfort before releasing them into the afterlife.

You must explore the map using your boat to find and release the spirits. Your boat is the essential part of the game, and you'll spend most of your time making changes to it and being upon it. Whether you're sitting upon your boat fishing, tending to the garden, using the kitchen to make food or building shelters for the various spirits, there is always something to be doing.

Spiritfarer Farewell Edition - It's Not Goodbye, It's See You Later

Spiritfarer sets itself apart from other games in the “cosy” genre like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing in that there is minimal urgency to do anything. Whereas both the games mentioned earlier want you to build an efficient engine so that you always have an influx of items coming in, Spiritfarer is happy for you to sit back, relax, and do stuff as you need to.

I was constantly on the go for my first few hours in the game. I would plant crops, water them, run to the kitchen to cook fish, run back to the kitchen to cook more stuff, and tend to the garden again, all before reaching my destination. It was only a good couple of hours when I realized I didn't need to. Sure I COULD carry on burning myself out, but I could also make what I needed when I needed it and spend the rest of the time just talking to the spirits, watching the scenery and generally just soaking the game in.

And speaking to the spirits is where a lot of the fun in Spiritfarer lies. Each spirit is unique and has its own story, just waiting for you to explore and uncover. From delving into their lives before death to helping make their stay with you as comfortable as possible, there is always something to do with the spirits, and all of them are a delight to get to know.

Spiritfarer Farewell Edition - It's Not Goodbye, It's See You Later

A large part of the game will see you upgrading your ship and exploring the various lands around you. Both of these require a fair share of platforming. When building your boat, it's in your benefit to pay attention to what you place where. At a stage, you'll find yourself using all roofs and ledges to achieve specific objectives. Suddenly, building your ship isn't just about aesthetics but also how everything pulls together for ease of traversal.

Off the boat is no different. Each stop you make sees you explore small areas filled with hidden chests, spirits, and side-quests, and most of that relies on simple yet skilful acts of platforming to pull off.

Spirit Farer Farewell Edition

BOTTOM LINE

Spiritfarer presents itself as a cozy action-platformer-style game. Still, once you dive into its waters, you soon discover far more lying beneath. Spiritfarer is a game that's not afraid to tackle complex topics like life and death. Through its campaign full of charming characters and touching stories, the game handles these topics in an impactful and sweet way that makes it hard to say goodbye.

PROS

Gorgeous art

Relaxing gameplay

A collection of diverse and exciting characters to get to know

CONS

Anyone looking for complex platforming or combat is going to be sorely disappointed

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