Menu

Zed has hand-picked an exciting and varied selection of games in his subscription box. Expect to receive some of the best games as well as a few surprises!

Subscribe Now »

Looking for the latest new releases? Then this is the subscription for you, each month you’ll receive an amazing box full of just the newest & biggest games!

Subscribe Now »

Our two new Mystery Box offerings will help you pick up some of the latest top of the range games and exclusive goodies, but at a much lower price!

Order Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Buy The Game

Awards

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You Might Like

  • Fantastic Story
  • The option of couch cooperative play
  • Charming art style & soundtrack
  • Easy to learn gameplay mechanics

Might Not Like

  • Can be depressing at times
  • Gamers not used to platforming might find it difficult at times
  • Lots of backtracking

Have you tried?

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Spiritfarer Review

spiritfarer review feature

Spiritfarer, by ThunderLotus Games, released its physical version in 2021 and by December the developers finished work on the final update. 2022 is therefore the perfect time to pick up a copy of Spiritfarer as the game is finally finished, and you can enjoy its complete enriching story for the first time.

Spiritfarer is essentially a cosy management game about dying. It might sound bleak, but its captivating story, easy and addictive gameplay and charming art style will keep you engaged and invite you back for multiple play sessions.

Learning How to Say Goodbye

The game follows Stella and her cat companion Daffodil. Stella is given the title Spiritfarer at the beginning of the game and is tasked with ushering spirits into the afterlife. To do this she will need a seaworthy vessel, facilities to house the spirits, abilities to fulfil their last wishes, and of course be able to make them dinner!

The story, therefore, revolves around meeting spirits and taking them to the Everdoor. For such a macabre subject Spiritfarer does a brilliant job of balancing it just right. As each character comes equipped with their own animations and story you grow to love each one. When it comes time to take them to the Everdoor you do feel a pang of sadness. However, the game tackles this flawlessly as each final conversation with the spirits makes you feel content and at peace with their passing. It’s the epitome of bittersweet storytelling.

What I also enjoyed about Spiritfarer was its attention to detail. As you travel the vast map, you will meet many spirits along the way who will not join you on your travels. These spirits may give you shenanigan tasks or they may just offer some funny dialogue. These additions to the world gave it depth and made the adventure feel more alive.

With the final update now live, players can experience the stories of all spirits and even explore Stella’s own story as well. But I won’t say too much on that as I do not want to spoil it. This game’s plot is character-driven and deals with a tricky subject. However, it balances this perfectly. My only issue with the plot is it was sometimes hard to connect the dots of some of the stories and I found myself scrolling through the wiki for further information.

Craft Your Way Across The Seas

With a blend of mechanics, the game is best described as a management sim with platforming elements. In the role of Stella, you manage your spirits’ needs by completing tasks. You also need to upgrade your ship to progress through the story and reach new areas. This means you grow your own vegetables, cook, fish, chop down trees, and mine. It has all the mechanics you expect to be in this type of game.

Stella traverses the world via platforming. What I liked about this game is you unlock upgrades as you progress. Not only does this give you a sense of satisfaction but it also keeps the gameplay fresh throughout. You start off just being able to jump around the map but by the end of the game you can glide, zipline, and bounce around. This delivery of platforming mechanics makes exploring fun and excessive backtracking is made a bit more palatable.

The various gameplay elements mean there is something for everyone. It gives you enough adventure whilst also providing plenty of time to manage your boat. I found myself on the game till 2am because I kept thinking “Oh, I’ll just plant these crops, make pancakes, and then go fishing.” The gameplay is interesting, satisfying and rather addictive. It also appeals to all gamers as it offers a nice challenge but is never punishing, if anything it allows the player to take their time and enjoy the scenery.

My only qualms with Spiritfarer was the repetition. Due to its nature, you spend a lot of time traversing the seas and visiting locations multiple times. This could get frustrating as progression felt stumped or activities and areas lost their lustre. Additionally, for a cosy game, it did include some challenging platform sections which casual gamers might struggle with.

Becoming Daffodil?

One component of Spiritfarer which I found pleasantly surprising was its inclusion of couch cooperative play. The game allows a second player to drop in and out of the game at any given time. The second player takes control of Stella’s cat companion, Daffodil. As Daffodil, players can aid Stella in most activities. They can collect resources, help in the management of the boat, and take part in mini-games. By adding a second player to the session you can progress through the game quicker and stay on top of the many tasks. However, as Daffodil is a cat, players are restricted. They cannot interact with other NPC’s. This doesn’t make the cooperative play terrible, but it does limit how invested the second player will become in the game. The multiplayer is therefore fun for a time, but you probably won’t play Spiritfarer all the way through as a cooperative experience.

A Duty of Care

What makes Spiritfarer a near-perfect experience is its art style. The landscape, character design, and animation are sublime.  The animations are unique to each character which really brought the spirits to life. Also, the animations were cutesy and made you feel fuzzy inside, especially when Stella was dishing out the hugs to all passengers. This added a depth to the game I wasn’t expecting, and I loved discovering each spirits distinctive animation set.

The 2D environment is beautifully detailed and as you traverse different areas of the map you will be invited to gush over the new locations. Each place feels exciting and different to the last, and you cannot wait to jump off the boat and dive in. The boat you spend most of your time on is also astounding as you get to build it up yourself. As you progress you will unlock new room types which you get to build. Your ship then becomes either a messy Tetris stack or a beautifully constructed masterpiece as you try to mesh the different rooms together. What makes this aesthetically pleasing is you can change your boat style at any time and navigating these redesigns becomes a fun game in itself.

To tie it all off, the soundtrack is phenomenal. With music to fit each mood you will find it tugging on your heartstrings and making you smile. It's soft, understated but marries the story’s theme and gameplay perfectly.

Final Verdict

I was nervous playing a game that revolved around death. It's not usually a subject you would pair with a cute platforming sim game. However, ThunderLotus has created something special and unique with Spiritfarer. The story is rich and diverse; each character sticks with you which makes it difficult to say goodbye. Yet as you send each Spirit to the Everdoor you feel happy with the decision you’ve made, even if you did deny them the Everdoor for many hours of gameplay. It’s a bundle of emotions but none that make you want to put the game down. In fact, it’s addictive and easy gameplay will keep you coming back for more!

Spiritfarer isn’t without its issues, but its ideas and presentation are a marvel. As the studios move onto new projects and leave Spiritfarer behind, it is a perfect time to give it a go in its final form. Spiritfarer may be a cosy management sim about dying but it's also a journey that will stay with you long after you’ve said goodbye.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Graphics
  • Multiplayer
  • Story (Career Mode)
  • Originality

You might like

  • Fantastic Story
  • The option of couch cooperative play
  • Charming art style & soundtrack
  • Easy to learn gameplay mechanics

Might not like

  • Can be depressing at times
  • Gamers not used to platforming might find it difficult at times
  • Lots of backtracking

Zatu Blog

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!