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. In video games, it often marks failure. She travels between islands in the Spiritfarer world, meeting spirits that are stuck and need help in moving on. Some have puzzles gated behind abilities learned later in the game, while others are only necessary for gathering materials. It is a wonderful complement to the sometimes isolating space that this terrible year has been. Build a ship to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife. It’s not entirely unlike how you’d manage an island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, slowly accumulating the materials needed to tend to your creation. In 2017, he jumped at the chance to join studio Thunder Lotus to lead the Spiritfarer development team. The concept of death usually isn’t a comfortable one. It’s inevitable and unavoidable. Death is natural. The game is an upbeat and cheery adventure that also deals with the not-so-cheerful topics of loss and death. One of my favorite things about Spiritfarer, and in a sense the saddest part, is that hugging becomes a way to bond with the spirits. Because he's already passed through the Everdoor, he can't go again. Other areas have merchants selling seeds, like cotton or sunflowers, which can be woven into linen or crushed into oil for frying, respectively. Charon passes on the torch to Stella, as it is now time for him to leave this realm between life and death. You play as Stella, a charming young woman who assumes the … Stella. One Good Thing: Spiritfarer is an adorable video game about life and death It’s a little like The Sims on a boat, except your Sims are animals who’ve recently died. The act of dying, which we often see in video games, is less important than what happens after death in this story. Spiritfarer uses a soft, watercolor style to introduce a darker concept of death, a concept that should not actually be considered dark after all. Editor-in-chief. We caught up with developers Thunder Lotus Games to discuss how the game tackles death. Spiritfarer is probably one of the most heartfelt, most pure games I have ever played that was a metaphor about death. Helping a spirit become ready to go involves cooking for them, hugging them, and building them a home on your enormous houseboat. 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. 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. 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. It’s a management game that manages to turn a game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and relaxing. 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. You play as Stella who has been appointed as the new “Spiritfarer”, a modern retelling of Greek Mythology and the River Styx. Some people think of death as an ending, while others view it as a beginning. Become a subscriber and support the site! Spiritfarer is a game about death, but in a way that’s different than most video games. Charon, the previous Spiritfarer, gives Stella an artifact called the Everlight. 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.. It’s also crushing, scary, and complex. 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 […] Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. That there are ways to make it a bit less meaningless. In Spiritfarer we explore the mysterious ways of parting with your living self. Spiritfarer follows this story closely, as Stella and her cat Daffodil take over from Charon. 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. Honestly, it might seem silly in these times to be soothed by a game about death, but Spiritfarer seems oddly necessary. Despite the sombre content, Spiritfarer is a joy to play. She can come off as sarcastic and apathetic, likely an armor she wore since a young age. Gwen grew up in a dysfunctional yet aristocratic household, having a strained relationship with her father. Make a little something for the ones you love. Spiritfarer is probably one of the most heartfelt, most pure games I have ever played that was a metaphor about death. 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. I’d prefer not to think about death. 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. While I controlled Stella, Gauthier controlled Daffodil. 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. Next: Spiritfarer: Where to Find Every Gem Location Spiritfarer is … Sit down and speak to the flowers when you can. Team Zutara forever. This is where the “cozy management” of “a cozy management game about dying” comes in. Spiritfarer is a game about death, but in a way that’s different than most video games. 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. Spiritfarer works because the entire game is built around creating these connections to the characters, all of which are complex people with tangled stories. You get tasked to become the Spiritfarer. 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 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. The play may seem mundane and repetitive, but the role of the spiritfarer, caring for these people in their deaths, gives each action depth. 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). You play as Stella, whose job is to take dying spirits through the Everdoor to their final death, when they’re ready. Craft your way through farm, … After a brief appearance at the beginning of Spiritfarer, Charon’s own time has come, and he passes along the role of taking the dead on their final journey to you, Stella, and her cat Daffodil. You play as Stella, an upbeat ferry master who is responsible for finding and helping wandering spirits pass on into the afterlife. When Stella reaches her destination, she’s able to hop on a dinghy to reach the islands, which vary in what they offer. It asks you to treat others with kindness because you never know when it’ll be time, and that is a good lesson now. So she becomes the new Spiritfarer. Spiritfarer continues to pull on the player’s heartstrings as the reality of death settles on Stella’s Spirits. In the myth, spirits are transported by Charon, the ferryman, through the river and into the underworld, paying passage with a token. There are trees to cut down, used later to create planks necessary in building structures. Where the game distinctly diverges from its predecessors, however, is how it deals with death. Spiritfarer, an upcoming indie adventure game from Thunder Lotus, is all about dealing with death. There’s a big, emotional payoff for embracing the mechanics of the game, however many times you’ve visited the docks to harvest iron ore. Many video games depict death in these ways. Now it has received a surprise release, with a portion of the games media having been playing it for the past two weeks. Some are not, but each has something they need — something Stella must provide. She eased as much of their pain as she could right up until the day she became ill with cancer herself. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. But, if there is a message to be found, it would be that “death is terrible but incredibly ordinary. Throughout the game, players will develop relationships with these characters, making it hard to let them go when the time comes. 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. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. Also, you get to have a cute cat companion by your side the whole time! Sometimes, this means making a spirit’s favorite meal. At no point during Spiritfarer did I feel helpless, like there was not something I could do to bring some sort of relief to the spirits on board the ship. And none of the spirits are purely good or bad; some are people leaving a mess behind for others to grapple with. Spiritfarer, a life sim about dying, does exactly that. 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. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here. It’s a stark contrast to how I’m experiencing the grief of death in real life, but it’s comforting. In Spiritfarer you play as the Spiritfarer Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, along with Daffodil the cat. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. Spiritfarer follows this story closely, as Stella and her cat Daffodil take over from Charon. 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. With its colorful visuals and serene atmosphere, I found myself forgetting that Spiritfarer is about death … Thunder Lotus Games’ Spiritfarer is described as a "cozy game about death," and it’s an apt description. Between Animal Crossing, Hades, and Octopath Traveler, my video games have kept me distracted from the chaos that is the outside world. Make a little something for the ones you love. In death, Stella cares for the spirits not ready to move on, much the same as she did in life. —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? The spirits talk about what they’re afraid of, or the things they’ve done wrong in their past. Spiritfarer has a lot to say about both life and death, and the way it says it is largely well done. Playing a game where you get to focus on making meaningful memories and caring for people as they are getting ready to pass on is macabre, but Spiritfarer doesn’t linger on death as a haunting thing. There are no cheap tricks in establishing a connection to Spiritfarer’s characters and their deaths. Stella is the spiritfarer, and she captains a large boat to ease the dead into whatever comes next. It's where your interests connect you with your people. Spiritfarer represents a very successful combination of exploration, questing, crafting, and life simulation. 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. Go out and catch lighting in a bottle once in a while; play with the young ones; confront the swarms of fear head on. 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. Helping a spirit become ready to go involves cooking for them, hugging them, and building them a home on your enormous houseboat. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to confront the things I was feeling, but because I was worried about seeing the experience flattened in a video game package — reduced to a concept too simple to evoke any real feeling. Spiritfarer, developed and published by Thunder Lotus Games, is a relaxing management game about death. When medicine could no longer help them. 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. Spiritfarer is about death. 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. Spiritfarer Easter Eggs: Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, & More. 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. Spiritfarer puts a more heartwarming spin on the concept. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. Have a tip or story idea? But it's not what you're thinking. 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. Spiritfarer is pitched as a ‘cozy management game about death’. Polygon Recommends is our way of endorsing our favorite games. There’s something to be learned about the spirits on the boat with each resource mined or meal served. But it's not what you're thinking. In 2017, he jumped at the chance to join studio Thunder Lotus to lead the Spiritfarer development team. I’m afraid of it — so much that I often force myself not to talk about it, as if I might speak those fears into existence. Most of the characters on the ship, picked up throughout the game’s watercolor world, are Stella’s friends and family. OnlySP sat down with Jo-Annie Gauthier, the art director at Thunder Lotus Game, to play through the demo at PAX West 2019. It’s a management game that manages to turn a game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and relaxing. 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. Spiritfarer is an indie game about dying and how to come to terms with the inevitable. But it's not what you're thinking. Stella controls the boat through a map at the ship’s helm, but there’s no need for players to guide it through the world. I know that death is not neat, that there is no bow to tie up my own personal grief. One spirit requests you help finish an elaborate Dungeons & Dragons campaign, which is a touching highlight. 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. That might seem a little grim for a simulation game, but Spiritfarer isn’t a typical entry in the genre. It has easter eggs … Where the game distinctly diverges from its predecessors, however, is how it deals with death. But in Spiritfarer, it’s the action of traveling to islands to collect resources, then harvesting them into something usable, that is the core. Spiritfarer is a game explicitly about death — about confronting it, what the people we lose leave behind, and how we move on without them. While we see the Everdoor, we don't see what's behind it. Almost every day, I am thankful for my Nintendo Switch. Check out Spiritfarer if you are looking for something a little more emotionally soothing between trying to smash your way out of the Underworld in Hades. 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.”. 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. In Spiritfarer you play as the Spiritfarer Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, along with Daffodil the cat. Want more stories like this? 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. Now it has received a surprise release, with a portion of the games media having been playing it for the past two weeks. Spiritfarer aims less to send a specific message than to explore different angles. Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus’ latest release, bears their established 2D style. Tumblr is a place to express yourself, discover yourself, and bond over the stuff you love. He ponders whether she was hoping to conquer death or grow accustomed to it for when her time came. Except, I think it is actually about kindness. It’s the perfect game. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. Death doesn’t come at the tip of a bullet, with numbers accumulating on a scoreboard. Welcome back to the chill boat with the not-chill cat! You play as a young girl named Stella, who takes over for Charon and becomes the new Spiritfarer. Saying goodbye is part of the game—sad, but meaningful if you do it right. Some people think of death as an ending, while others view it as a beginning. 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. Support us on Patreon! First Snow 18. tips@themarysue.com. Email us. Video games revel in death, Spiritfarer focuses on what happens next, 20 weird and wonderful indie games for 2020. That might seem a little grim for a simulation game, but Spiritfarer isn’t a typical entry in the genre. Once a waypoint is set, the boat heads in that direction itself, sometimes encountering surprises — like a shipwreck with treasures — along the way. Each has their own story with challenges to overcome or memories that make it difficult to move on. Sit down and speak to the flowers when you can. On top of dealing with death, dying and the afterlife, Spiritfarer also touches on other difficult topics through the characters who board Stella's boat. Her large, but initially simple, vessel is her way of doing so. The process of acquiring these things requires multiple trips to multiple islands, looking for vendors who sell each of these meat products. Spiritfarer is out now for multiple platforms. Their stories unwind as they’re tended to. Stella was a palliative care nurse that helped to look after patients in the last days of their life. Summer was the person who inspired Stella to become a nurse. They depict loss — wins and loses — but almost never approach the topic realistically. She died with Stella by her side. - Stella grew up in North America, with her sister, mother and her best friend Gwen. You play as Stella and command a giant boat where wayward souls gather. Thunder Lotus. 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 running in the background. Stella is the spiritfarer, and she captains a large boat to ease the dead into whatever comes next. He ponders whether she was hoping to conquer death or grow accustomed to it for when her time came. Spiritfarer takes place in a limbo of sorts: a domain populated by souls passing between the mortal world and the afterlife. The dedicated ‘hug’ action says all you need to know about this game. The game begins as Charon retires, with Stella just beginning in the role. If you want to see the very best of the best for your platform(s) of choice, check out Polygon Essentials. 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. 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 […] 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. Spiritfarer is an indie game about dying and how to come to terms with the inevitable. She can rest assured knowing that she made their journey to the afterlife easier. 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. Spiritfarer launched Aug. 18 on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One; it is coming later to Google Stadia. - While there, Stella traveled to Japan and met Gustav. They share things they need to complete. “We all die, everything dies, every living thing dies.” Nicolas Guérin is reassuring me. Spiritfarer aims less to send a specific message than to explore different angles. Editor-in-chief. The game was reviewed on PC using a download code provided by Thunder Lotus. Stanley is a spirit character in Spiritfarer. 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. 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 dedicated ‘hug’ action says all you need to know about this game. You’ll take people … 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. Related: How Spiritfarer Changes Up Animal Crossing's Formula. Instead of relying archetypal morbidity, Spiritfarer punches you in the heart and makes you cry, all in a cozy, Ghibli-style setting. Spiritfarer is a bit of a thematic oddity. 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. Spiritfarer is a treat to dive into, with engrossing management gameplay, mysterious lands to explore, and an unforgettable story about life, death, and learning to let go. Or to keep it anonymous, click here. It identifies her as the Spiritfarer, and gives her some special abilities, like using energy as if it were a physical tool. Instead, he stays on the boat until Stella is ready to go herself, making him, in a way, another Spiritfarer. Spiritfarer is a cosy management sim where you help the recently dead come to terms with their lost lives. First Snow 18. 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. The main character, Stella, becomes a "Spiritfarer" whose job is to ferry spirits of the deceased to the afterlife. Spiritfarer, Thunder Lotus’ latest release, bears their established 2D style. 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. 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, whose job is to take dying spirits through the Everdoor to their final death, when they’re ready. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. Before death, Gwen was like an older sister to Stella, as their families were close. You work for it, which helps ease in the pain and grief of it all. That there are ways to make it a bit less meaningless. - As a teenager, Stella moved to France, where she met an old couple, Astrid and Giovanni, whom she saw as grandparents, since she never met her own. Spiritfarer is a sincere management game about death. You get to bond with these spirits, and then you let them move on to that better plane. Spiritfarer has more to offer than just being a cozy death management game. One of the oldest embodiments of death is the ancient Greek boatman Charon, who ferried souls across the River Styx and into the underworld. 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. What they do have is Stella's friendship to make their resignation to their fate a little less bitter. Spiritfarer may not have a place in everyone’s media diet. 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. In real life, it evokes less than pleasant thoughts. These additions, which include orchards and a massive crusher for grinding things to dust, stack precariously on top of one another, a slow game of Tetris, as shapes get more complex and harder to fit in the constrained space of the ship. Spiritfarer is about death. In Spiritfarer you play as Stella and are accompanied by your cat, Daffodil. Spiritfarer is a game about death, but in a way that’s different than most video games. 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. I can understand why most video game developers would choose not to address these realities: a first-person shooter would be an entirely different game if the bodies didn’t simply disappear into the ether as more and more pile up. You build your own boat and explore this new world, befriending and caring for spirits before helping them pass on into the afterlife. 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. Despite the sombre content, Spiritfarer is a joy to play. Instead, Stella learned about Buck through her sister, who was friends with him before his untimely death during their teenage years. Spiritfarer doesn't seek to answer the difficult unknowns about death and what comes after. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Instead of relying archetypal morbidity, Spiritfarer punches you in the heart and makes you cry, all in a cozy, Ghibli-style setting. Just being a cozy, Ghibli-style setting pain and grief of it all create planks necessary in structures... We often see in video games becomes a `` cozy game about death in something cozy, heartwarming and.. The things they ’ re angry — at Stella or others on concept... 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