⭐ Games that receive this star have a score of 95% or above. This is purely from a game design perspective and is not in any way related to our morality evaluation.
It’s said to never waste a moment as you never know when it could be the last one. As Catholics, death isn’t the finale – rather, it’s the next step on our journey. However, this doesn’t remove the obligation to do good while we are still here on earth. Spiritfarer reminds you of this.
Spiritfarer was developed and published by Canadian studio Thunder Lotus Games and launched at the beginning of August this year. It is a management sim and sandbox action game. The story begins as we start a journey of the new Spiritfarer called Stella. Her path starts after certain events which are left a mystery. She is the replacement of a previous Spiritfarer, who was known as Charon. You learn what it means to be the Spiritfarer, and quickly get thrown into a world full of wandering souls that need help to reach their final steps.
As a dutiful Spiritfarer, there is never comes a time when you don’t have something that needs getting done. The game manages to make the player feel busy all the time, while keeping you entertained. From getting from point A to point B, doing fun and creative minigames that grant you resources, to meeting new characters and the drama of their lives, the game always manages to keep you enthralled as you learn more to care for your passengers.
You may be wondering, how exactly is this game played? After all, gameplay is key to enjoying a game. Your main goal, as previously said, is to get souls to the Everdoor. Short and simple. Right? Well, wrong. After the prologue, I was given a small boat, which at first had no room for any other passengers but myself. Luckily I soon met my first soul that needed help, and she instructed me on how to upgrade for the boat, and therefore acquire rooms for others. The game in general is pretty intuitive, always helping players get around, so you never have to worry about the possibility of getting stuck. As I began getting souls on board the ship, each would give me a specific set of tasks to complete. One of these was to create a room on the boat on which they would be staying, and to have space for that room I needed to upgrade the boat, which required resources (The gameplay loop relies on the player gathering resources to complete tasks). No worries, though, as you will learn where and how to gather resources as you advance and hear the stories of the souls that come into the boat – and each soul will also teach you how to get the resources needed for the upgrades.
However, there might be a bit of a downside to this system, as things can get repetitive with the resource minigames and sometimes I felt like they were at odds with main point of the game. However, it could also have been because at some moments I didn’t focus on any task that didn’t have to do with the upgrades of the boat and rooms – so it might depend on the way you play. The game is also designed in an open world format, so you can travel back and forth from one island to another.
Now, let me tell you about the characters. Some of the NPCs that walk the world only have one line of dialogue and don’t interact with the player much past that. However, not all characters are like this. The genuine treat of the game comes from the characters that we must help crossover the light. Each of them has a personal backstory, and they share this with the player in the way a friend or loved one might. Many of the times I felt as if my grandma or another close relative was the one sharing stories with me of their younger days, secrets of their life, or even deepfelt regrets they never overcame. Once all the characters share their story and you have completed all tasks, the journey comes to an end as everyone shares a final voyage and they come to terms with their lives. Even if you think you won’t cry, be prepared because that last boat ride, because it very well could be full of salty raindrops.
If the cuteness and characters haven’t won you over, it’s atmosphere most definitely will. Tranquil and warmhearted best describe the atmosphere within the game. With soft ocean waves hitting the boat day and night and quiet mornings in which the characters share thier stories, never on any moment was it an agitating ride.
From a Catholic perspective, this game reminded me a lot to my own friendships and relationships. There are so many times through our lives we that tend to forget that this world isn’t permanent, that we are meant to get to the end, close knitted to one another. This game made me question how much I have helped my friends through struggles and if I could do more for them. Us Christians understand that showing them you care with a simple hug or a small treat like really will make a difference. Small things like that are an emphasis on Spiritfarer, because helping someone else doesn’t have to be just about upgrading a boat – it can also be about love.
“I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another. By this, all shall recognize that you are my disciples: if you will have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
Scoring: 96% ⭐
Moral or Parental Warnings.
Language: Some lighter swears, such as s***
Violence: Some violent events, including death, are referred to in detail.
Final notes: It has some topics that parents might want to consider to discuss with their kids as they play. Some serious topics/sins are present in the discussions with characters, such as New Age spirituality, themes of homosexuality, and adultery. None of this are necessarily explored as wrong or right, only mentioned as part of the stories from the characters. The main plot also involves fictitious elements about the afterlife + the nature of life in general.