Spiritfarer is all about hugs

Spiritfarer Turns Death and the Afterlife Into a Warm Hug

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Almost every day, I am thankful for my Nintendo Switch. Between Animal Crossing, Hades, and Octopath Traveler, my video games have kept me distracted from the chaos that is the outside world. 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.

In Spiritfarer you play as the Spiritfarer Stella, ferrymaster to the deceased, along with Daffodil the cat. You build your own boat and explore this new world, befriending and caring for spirits before helping them pass on into the afterlife. 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. 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. You get to bond with these spirits, and then you let them move on to that better plane.

Saying goodbye is part of the game—sad, but meaningful if you do it right.

Honestly, it might seem silly in these times to be soothed by a game about death, but Spiritfarer seems oddly necessary. 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. 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. It asks you to treat others with kindness because you never know when it’ll be time, and that is a good lesson now.

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. 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. 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. 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.

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. It is a wonderful complement to the sometimes isolating space that this terrible year has been. Also, you get to have a cute cat companion by your side the whole time! It’s the perfect game.

(image: Thunder Lotus Games)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.