I recently discovered this genre called “cozy games” that are aesthetic and relaxing video games. These are just the kind of games I look for and enjoy playing! Anything that gets my heart rate up and hands sweaty (even Mario Party) make me feel incredibly amped up and anxious. That is the opposite of what I want to feel when playing games, lol. Low stakes, non-competitive games only for me, please.
Stardew Valley is one of these cozy games, which I recently started up again. As I was researching more cozy games to try, Spiritfarer was mentioned in several “best of” lists. Initially the theme didn’t appeal to me. It’s a game about death. You are the Spiritfarer, ferrying spirits into the afterlife. Will it be too sad? Morbid? I don’t want to feel sad when it’s my relaxing “me” time!
However, what changed my mind was watching a few gameplay/review videos. Clearly, the aesthetics are amazing. The graphics are quite cute and not morbid. The spirits you encounter take on animal forms and you interact with them like you would a friend. You can even feed and hug them to improve their mood! I was pleasantly surprised by this take on death. Usually death evokes feelings of fear, anxiety, and loss but in this game, it treats it with gentleness and reflection - I can see how the game can help people going through grief.
At the end of the day, Spiritfarer is a task management game. You are helping the spirits complete tasks before they say their final goodbye. I really enjoy the minimal number of tasks given at a time. Otherwise I get overwhelmed trying to complete them all! Each task is also very straightforward. I just like to cross things off a to-do list, ok?!
A lot of them involve going to other islands. I like how new places get revealed on the map as you progress in the game. This keeps the game interesting and makes me eager to pick up new spirits. Hopefully in this way, there’s enough gameplay content to last me a while.
In addition to these main tasks, you can do other things like fish, cook, garden/farm, and upgrade your boat. They don’t play as huge a role as completing the main quests. I do these secondary tasks when killing time sailing from island to island. In fact, I like how they aren’t a huge focus, unlike Stardew Valley where every task you do can be pretty important. Instead, I like the focus on the main spirit tasks.
Finally, this game has everything that would make it a cozy game. Beautiful art, relaxing music, and low stakes. There’s no winning/losing here, just completing tasks! There comes a time when you literally can’t do anything and you have to go to sleep. This is great for binge-gamers for me. It forces me come to an end, haha. I got this game on the Switch so that I can play it in a cozy setting, of course, and hope to continue exploring this spirit world at an easy pace.
What cozy games do you play?