Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus Games is a cozy management game about dying, mixing game genres into something that is one of the biggest surprise of the year. Learn more about this amazing release in our Spiritfarer review!
Spiritfarer is a cozy management game about dying. As ferry master to the deceased, build a boat to explore the world, care for your spirit friends, and guide them across mystical seas to finally release them into the afterlife. What will you leave behind?
Thunder Lotus Games is known for its previous releases Sundered and Jotun: Valhalla Edition, two releases that we have already reviewed here. In their new release Spiritfarer, you are taking the role of a ferry master to fulfill the last wishes of the deceased.
Spiritfarer begins as the main character Stella, who is accompanied by her cat Daffodil, is granted the role of the new Spiritfarer, in place of the retiring one. From him, you’ll obtain the Everlight, a magical object that can take many shapes to will help you on your quest. Your mission will be to find the spirits stranded on the (truly) huge afterlife, help them rest the regrets they had when they were alive, and eventually bring them to the Everdoor where they can finally commence their eternal rest.
Soon after you start your journey, you’ll meet an old acquaintance, and its guidance will help you maneuver the new ship you’ve just found. Moving from zone to zone is done by going into the cockpit, selecting the destination, and then navigating there in realtime. In realtime is the important part here, because doing anything you do in Spiritfarer takes some time. At first, you only have a few options available, like fishing or cutting wood planks, but as the game advances, you’ll almost be overwhelmed by the number of things that can be done!
One of the many things I liked about Spiritfarer is how the game doesn’t have a tutorial and gives you all the information you need to customize our ship and progressing by gradually introducing new concepts that are all easy to understand. The game foundation resides on finding a ton of different materials for customizing your ever-growing ship as you welcome new passengers. Each of said passengers gives you access to a new minigame that will allow you to obtain a new resource type. Those minigames are fun to play and are rewarding as there aren’t any consequences if you had a bad time because you’ll only end up having slightly fewer resources than if you had a great performance.
Upgrading the ship is a huge part of the experience and is very well done and intuitive. Your vessel begins being a small ship with a few spaces to places the buildings on it, but in the end, it will end up being humongous. Buildings can be placed on a grid, which increases as the ship’s size does. I also have to praise the team for allowing players to easily edit the placement of buildings at any time by simply selecting the building and moving it to a new place on the ship. As the game progresses and some buildings become less useful, it’s easy to send them higher. The underlying game engine is also impressive because, regardless of the placement of buildings, stairs will automatically be placed by the game so that you can easily access each area.
There is also a day and night cycle that advances through four phases: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Spiritfarer uses this on a few events that require precise timing, but most of the time, the only real effect about this cycle is that the ship won’t advance at night, and you’ll have to spend the night in your room to fast-forward to the following day. Most of the time, a day in Spiritfarer will have the following structure: sail to a destination, get on an island/visit a city, achieve the objective there or gather resources, and go back to your ship to sail elsewhere.
One of the other things I loved about Spiritfarer is the main quest structure. There are 12 passengers that can be found, and each one of them has their own requests you’ll have to fulfill. There is a slight order in which passengers can be recruited, then sent to the Everdoor for progressing through the game. But for me, it felt like there were 12 different main quests that can all be done in the order you prefer. If (or when) you are stuck, check the requests of each passenger by pressing the DualShock 4 touchpad. Each character will request to have its own place on your ship, then ask to have it improved a few times until they’re completely satisfied with it.
One of the other things that is obvious as soon as the game starts is how beautiful the art style is. The animations are beautiful and are all hand-drawn, which helps to make everything pop. And there is a LOT of content in this game, with the main storyline lasting in the 30-35 hours range. Add a very soundtrack that does a great job of complementing the whole experience, and you have a winner.
As for the trophies, this game has a few ones that will unlock for game progression, improving each character’s house, and a few for completing specific actions in the game. Some trophies are missable, but achieving the Platinum for this game is a relatively accessible experience.
I do want to mention that, through the course of the game, Spiritfarer did crash a few times. It autosaves at set moments, but by the time I’d reached the ending, the game had crashed roughly five times in total. This is something that the developer is working on fixing, and it will be addressed in a future patch.
Should you buy Spiritfarer on PlayStation 4? Definitively! I was drawn in right away thanks to the game’s gorgeous art style and interesting story setup, but the gameplay and the huge amount of content kept me fishing, farming, smelting, and sailing through it all for dozens of hours.
This Spiritfarer PS4 review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Thunder Lotus Games.