These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. That’s not to say, though, that in Spiritfarer that these acts of caring labor fix the spirit’s current or past problems — they don’t. Atul, Stella’s late uncle that appears as a frog, loves pork chops and fried chicken. Have a tip or story idea? Charon passes on the torch to Stella, as it is now time for him to leave this realm between life and death. Spiritfarer follows this story closely, as Stella and her cat Daffodil take over from Charon. Spiritfarer Easter Eggs: Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, & More. Thunder Lotus’s Spiritfarer, billed as “a cosy management game about dying”, might be the queerest game of 2020 so far.You take on the role of Stella, a child in a big hat who takes over from Charon as the ferrier of souls from this world to the next. Most of the characters on the ship, picked up throughout the game’s watercolor world, are Stella’s friends and family. When Stella reaches her destination, she’s able to hop on a dinghy to reach the islands, which vary in what they offer. Where the game distinctly diverges from its predecessors, however, is how it deals with death. It’s not a restarting point, with a loss of time and progress, as if you’ve run out of life neatly calculated in a counter […] Spiritfarer uses a soft, watercolor style to introduce a darker concept of death, a concept that should not actually be considered dark after all. In real life, it evokes less than pleasant thoughts. The ship gets larger and more complex with each passenger that comes aboard, whether a garden to grow vegetables for a vegetarian spirit has been added, or the kitchen is upgraded to create elaborate meals for picky passengers. While this is a story of death and loss on its face, this game gives us a path of living life in its minutia, all the way to the end. She eased as much of their pain as she could right up until the day she became ill with cancer herself. First Snow 18. —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—, Have a tip we should know? It’s a management game that manages to turn a game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and relaxing. Now there’s Spiritfarer, a game about death and grief, a theme developer Thunder Lotus Games led with throughout its development and marketing: “a cozy management game about dying.”. There’s something to be learned about the spirits on the boat with each resource mined or meal served. And then there’s the oil, necessary for frying the chicken — that must be harvested from sunflower seeds grown from the flowers in the garden, which are crushed down into an oil. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Become a subscriber and support the site! The game was reviewed on PC using a download code provided by Thunder Lotus. Honestly, it might seem silly in these times to be soothed by a game about death, but Spiritfarer seems oddly necessary. It’s also crushing, scary, and complex. Resources collected throughout the world are brought back to the ship and processed through these additions to the boat, whether that’s turning sugar and flour into a cake, or flattening glass into sheets. You play Spiritfarer Stella, the mistress of the ferry to the deceased. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. Make a little something for the ones you love. Spiritfarer is a bit of a thematic oddity. However, as an Aries, I love to find a new game to take my attention, and right now, it’s Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer, and it is full of feels. Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer is described as a "cozy game about death," and it’s an apt description. In Spiritfarer you play as the Spiritfarer Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, along with Daffodil the cat. Spiritfarer is probably one of the most heartfelt, most pure games I have ever played that was a metaphor about death. Spiritfarer continues to pull on the player’s heartstrings as the reality of death settles on Stella’s Spirits. Instead, Stella learned about Buck through her sister, who was friends with him before his untimely death during their teenage years. WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Spiritfarer.. As the Spiritfarer, Stella meets a variety of spirits that are on their way to the afterlife. But it's not what you're thinking. You play a ferrymaster named Stella who is given the task to build a boat to explore the world and care for the spirits (who morph in animal furry form when they’re on your boat), helping them with their final wishes. The concept of death usually isn’t a comfortable one. It’s inevitable and unavoidable. Spiritfarer may not have a place in everyone’s media diet. Except, I think it is actually about kindness. The dedicated ‘hug’ action says all you need to know about this game. But it's not what you're thinking. It’s the perfect game. Spiritfarer aims less to send a specific message than to explore different angles. Spiritfarer is an indie game about dying and how to come to terms with the inevitable. Spiritfarer represents a very successful combination of exploration, questing, crafting, and life simulation. But it's not what you're thinking. Spiritfarer follows this story closely, as Stella and her cat Daffodil take over from Charon. After playing Spiritfarer, I try to FaceTime with my friends or do something kind for myself because the game is a reminder that we are all in need of care. Stella is the spiritfarer, and she captains a large boat to ease the dead into whatever comes next. In Spiritfarer, you play Stella, who is, in essence, a video game version of Charon the ferryman who carries the dead across the River Styx in Greek mythology. The management elements of the game, while repetitive and straightforward, are made essential because they are acts of care — the relief Stella can provide to the dead as they move toward the Everdoor, the portal to the afterlife. You’ll take people … Death is natural. Instead of relying archetypal morbidity, Spiritfarer punches you in the heart and makes you cry, all in a cozy, Ghibli-style setting. Of course, this is far from the only game to deal with death and grief, but rather than playing as a character who cuts through enemies, struggles to cope with a loss or both , Spiritfarer never basks in the dismal. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. Some have puzzles gated behind abilities learned later in the game, while others are only necessary for gathering materials. Since the game is indicated to be the Dying Dream of a palliative care nurse, this makes a grim sort of sense: in death, as in life, she can't save her patients and loved ones, only comfort them. Video games revel in death, Spiritfarer focuses on what happens next, 20 weird and wonderful indie games for 2020. Spiritfarer is about death. Thunder Lotus’s Spiritfarer, billed as “a cosy management game about dying”, might be the queerest game of 2020 so far.You take on the role of Stella, a child in a big hat who takes over from Charon as the ferrier of souls from this world to the next. Between Animal Crossing, Hades, and Octopath Traveler, my video games have kept me distracted from the chaos that is the outside world. 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. Spiritfarer is a game explicitly about death — about confronting it, what the people we lose leave behind, and how we move on without them. Spiritfarer is probably one of the most heartfelt, most pure games I have ever played that was a metaphor about death. She died with Stella by her side. It’s that sort of help — in being able to help someone figure something out for themselves — that makes the repetition of management and care feel so rewarding. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. The play may seem mundane and repetitive, but the role of the spiritfarer, caring for these people in their deaths, gives each action depth. At the 2019 Xbox E3 press briefing, the first indie game shown was a vibrant, whimsical, and well-animated title known as Spiritfarer by Thunder Lotus Games. When we award a game the Polygon Recommends badge, it’s because we believe the title is uniquely thought-provoking, entertaining, inventive or fun — and worth fitting into your schedule. So she becomes the new Spiritfarer. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here. It identifies her as the Spiritfarer, and gives her some special abilities, like using energy as if it were a physical tool. But, if there is a message to be found, it would be that “death is terrible but incredibly ordinary. In 2017, he jumped at the chance to join studio Thunder Lotus to lead the Spiritfarer development team. Spiritfarer puts a more heartwarming spin on the concept. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. Now it has received a surprise release, with a portion of the games media having been playing it for the past two weeks. It asks you to treat others with kindness because you never know when it’ll be time, and that is a good lesson now. Saying goodbye is part of the game—sad, but meaningful if you do it right. The dedicated ‘hug’ action says all you need to know about this game. Spiritfarer is pitched as a ‘cozy management game about death’. Spiritfarer takes place in a limbo of sorts: a domain populated by souls passing between the mortal world and the afterlife. We have connections that we could be building and nurturing even as we maintain social distance—which is important because there are still people we love here. Because he's already passed through the Everdoor, he can't go again. Stella is the new Spiritfarer after all, and it’s her job to care for them and to see their final requests fulfilled before they depart forever. Despite the sombre content, Spiritfarer is a joy to play. There are trees to cut down, used later to create planks necessary in building structures. You get tasked to become the Spiritfarer. Build a ship to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus’ latest release, bears their established 2D style. Except, I think it is actually about kindness. Spiritfarer aims less to send a specific message than to explore different angles. They depict loss — wins and loses — but almost never approach the topic realistically. And days before receiving the review code, a dear family member died tragically and unexpectedly, the grief of which made starting the game almost too painful. It’s a heavy subject — something I try not to think about usually, since it’s a constant source of dread for me (especially now between a worldwide pandemic and the ever-constant threat of climate change). While we see the Everdoor, we don't see what's behind it. She travels between islands in the Spiritfarer world, meeting spirits that are stuck and need help in moving on. Spiritfarer places you in the role of Stella, a new arrival in the spirit world who’s immediately given the job to take on the title of Spiritfarer from Charon, whose time on the job, and in this world, has finally come to an end. Even if it wasn’t, the entire world of Spiritfarer doesn’t encourage you to make your own goals at all, mirroring what is doubtlessly Stella’s real-life priorities. In Spiritfarer, you play Stella, who is, in essence, a video game version of Charon the ferryman who carries the dead across the River Styx in Greek mythology. Craft your way through farm, … Once a waypoint is set, the boat heads in that direction itself, sometimes encountering surprises — like a shipwreck with treasures — along the way. It’s not a restarting point, with a loss of time and progress, as if you’ve run out of life neatly calculated in a counter […] The investment in these characters, though, is what makes the rote mechanisms of Spiritfarer’s gameplay feel worthwhile, because those connections happen organically. Almost every day, I am thankful for my Nintendo Switch. Spiritfarer explores the latter scenario, putting you on a boat full of deceased spirits to befriend as you ferry them to the next phase of their existence. He ponders whether she was hoping to conquer death or grow accustomed to it for when her time came. Spiritfarer is about death. That might seem a little grim for a simulation game, but Spiritfarer isn’t a typical entry in the genre. Sometimes they’re angry — at Stella or others on the ship. Charon, the previous Spiritfarer, gives Stella an artifact called the Everlight. But they do help the spirits come to terms with their deaths, and ease them into the afterlife as they work through their own grief, anger, and confusion. Spiritfarer is a game about death, but in a way that’s different than most video games. Email us. Hugging is one of the few things you can’t do in Animal Crossing, so doing it in this game honestly makes me so happy. You play as Stella who has been appointed as the new “Spiritfarer”, a modern retelling of Greek Mythology and the River Styx. First Snow 18. Sit down and speak to the flowers when you can. The spirits talk about what they’re afraid of, or the things they’ve done wrong in their past. 2020 Has Broken Me So Here’s Grogu Watching All Our Favorite Things on TV, Things We Saw Today: You Can Watch Another Wonder Woman on HBO Max Right Now, 2020 Has Broken Me So Here's Grogu Watching All Our Favorite Things on TV, Nintendo Year in Review Reminds Me of My Saving Grace During a Truly Mentally Taxing Year. In Spiritfarer we explore the mysterious ways of parting with your living self. Spiritfarer has a lot to say about both life and death, and the way it says it is largely well done. Support us on Patreon! She can rest assured knowing that she made their journey to the afterlife easier. Spiritfarer is based on classical Greek mythology: the story of the river Styx, a waterway that’s said to be a pathway between Earth and the afterlife. Alternative Character Interpretation: Hades questions why she chose to associate with death so much, acting as Spiritfarer and a pallative care nurse in real life according to the artbook. Spiritfarer is a cosy management sim where you help the recently dead come to terms with their lost lives. Spiritfarer has more to offer than just being a cozy death management game. Want more stories like this? As Spiritfarer, Stella is the captain of a boat that she uses to ferry spirits around the world to complete their unfinished business, then escort them to the Everdoor.It is powered by the Everlight and can only be sailed by a Spiritfarer.. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella, a young girl with the eponymous job of Spiritfarer, helping a fantastic cast of animal passengers to be content and tie up loose ends before their final voyage beyond death and through the Everdoor. They share things they need to complete. You play as a young girl named Stella, who takes over for Charon and becomes the new Spiritfarer. Tumblr is a place to express yourself, discover yourself, and bond over the stuff you love. Sometimes, this means making a spirit’s favorite meal. Spiritfarer is a sincere management game about death. - Stella grew up in North America, with her sister, mother and her best friend Gwen. Her large, but initially simple, vessel is her way of doing so. You play as Stella, an upbeat ferry master who is responsible for finding and helping wandering spirits pass on into the afterlife. It's where your interests connect you with your people. You play as Stella, a charming young woman who assumes the … The game honestly feels like a hug and relaxing, with death not being this terrible thing, but framed as a liminal space before something better. Every spirit Stella takes on has to pass through the Evergate, their death no less inevitable in this strange purgatory they’ve all found themselves within. We caught up with developers Thunder Lotus Games to discuss how the game tackles death. Spiritfarer, an upcoming indie adventure game from Thunder Lotus, is all about dealing with death. Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus’ latest release, bears their established 2D style. Spiritfarer is a game about death, but in a way that’s different than most video games. Stella is the spiritfarer, and she captains a large boat to ease the dead into whatever comes next. Spiritfarer, a life sim about dying, does exactly that. Editor-in-chief. It is a wonderful complement to the sometimes isolating space that this terrible year has been. There are no cheap tricks in establishing a connection to Spiritfarer’s characters and their deaths. While I controlled Stella, Gauthier controlled Daffodil. Helping a spirit become ready to go involves cooking for them, hugging them, and building them a home on your enormous houseboat. It’s a management game that manages to turn a game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and relaxing. Related: How Spiritfarer Changes Up Animal Crossing's Formula. Spiritfarer is a management game that follows Stella and her cat, Daffodil, as they go island to island on a large ship, helping lost spirits pass on. That there are ways to make it a bit less meaningless. Death has been a shadow over all of us since COVID-19 became a part of our daily lives, something the makers of Thunder Lotus Games could not have known. You play as Stella and command a giant boat where wayward souls gather. Each has their own story with challenges to overcome or memories that make it difficult to move on. Thunder Lotus. Some people think of death as an ending, while others view it as a beginning. This is where the “cozy management” of “a cozy management game about dying” comes in. What they do have is Stella's friendship to make their resignation to their fate a little less bitter. Between doing that emotional labor, you get to engage in all of the usual, fun Animal Crossing-like “chores” of farming, mining, cooking, fishing, harvesting, and crafting across the world. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. 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. Their stories unwind as they’re tended to. And none of the spirits are purely good or bad; some are people leaving a mess behind for others to grapple with. But I played Spiritfarer at a time when I could not ignore death; in the middle of a pandemic that has killed (and continues to kill) numbers of people I can hardly comprehend. “We all die, everything dies, every living thing dies.” Nicolas Guérin is reassuring me. I’d prefer not to think about death. 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