At PAX East 2020, OnlySP had the opportunity to play a special press demo of Spiritfarer. I played the game with Thunder Lotus’s art director, Jo Gauthier.
Spiritfarer follows the story of Stella and her cat Daffodil as they guide the deceased into the afterlife. I played as Stella, while Gauthier played as Daffodil. In this demo, players head to a place called Furogawa Fields. Compared to the PAX West 2019 demo, this new demo primarily focused on minigames that engaged players while conducting tasks on the ship. The map system was also the same as the one as the previous demo. As such, Furogawa Fields was noted on the ship’s map with a question mark, and players need to select the general direction in order to stumble across their intended destination.
While waiting for the ship to arrive at Furogawa Fields, I went to the ship’s garden area. In the PAX West demo, I laid seeds in the garden, but this time around, fully grown plants were already waiting for me. Using Stella’s Everlight, which morphs into any tool she needs, I was able to whack at the plants and pick up some materials. On the ship was a room where I could take the linen from my inventory and weave it into thread. This is where I first saw some of the new minigames come into play. In these segments, Spiritfarer has minigames to make some of the tasks in the game more engaging. For example, when making thread, the player needs to press a button when Stella moves her hand across a certain mark on the machine.
When we arrived at Furogawa Fields, we were greeted by a few tour guides who walked with us and gave a short lesson about the history of the location. We met Alice, a spirit, who Gauthier told me that I was supposed to bring onto our ship. Alice was initially hesitant at first, but then she dropped us a hint that she would like a house on the ship. Using the Everlight as a giant saw, we took turns on both sides cutting it down and gathering wood to build the house for Alice.
Going back to the ship, I plotted a course for a new place called Furogawa Peaks, which had ore needed to build Alice’s house. To pass the time, we headed into a new room on the ship that housed a woodcutter. In this task’s minigame, the player has to move the cutter up and down along a predetermined curve on the wood as it goes through the machine, but the wood goes too fast through the machine. I was not able to keep up and have the cutter move along the curve. However, this did not really seem to have an effect on the amount of wood cut or the quality of it.
At Furogawa Peaks, I stumbled across the only sidequest in the demo, which involved collecting sheep that are scattered through Spiritfarer’s world. In order for the sheep to follow me back to the ship, I had to feed it something. Gauthier assured me that players would be able to go back and find all the sheep in the game without worrying if they missed one. I eventually went into the mines and, using the Everlight, I formed a giant pickaxe to hit the stones and gathered some copper and iron ore.
With the copper and iron ore collected from Furogawa Peaks, I took them to the furnace on the ship. However, this minigame confused me a bit at first. After putting in the ore, the furnace’s temperature drops, and the player has to push down on a bag in order to keep the temperature level. I pushed the bag too many times, overheating the furnace. But just like the woodcutting minigame, this did not seem to matter and I got my copper and iron ingots just fine.
My next destination was Furogawa Fields, but since it was too dark outside, I was not able to navigate. The next morning, we set course. While waiting to arrive, I took the oak wood, thread, and iron ingots, and built a house for Alice on the ship. Players are able to rearrange buildings at no cost, allowing them to try out what kind of set up they like best. When I reached the Fields, Alice noticed the house I built and decided to come along with me on the ship. Going back to the ship, everyone was gathered along the bow to greet Alice. She was so touched by the moment that she shed her cloaked form and revealed her true form: a hedgehog. This was a fantastic way to end the demo on a touching note and reiterates how the theme of death in Spiritfarer is presented in a positive light.
Overall, the PAX East demo was similar to the one at PAX West, but introduced a few more mechanics, such as the minigames, to add more depth to the game itself. For those who have already been sold on the game, this demo will help solidify that feeling. Spiritfarer is a fun management game that seeks to subvert the expectations of what death is and provide the player with an enjoyable time.
For more from PAX East 2020 and all the latest news from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, be sure to join the discussion in the community Discord server