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Spirittea is Your New Favorite Comfort Game

This cosy indie game was released on Steam on November 13th, 2023, and I spent my entire Christmas break obsessed with it. With its whimsical charm, it is the perfect game for lovers of Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away and Stardew Valley. It follows the basic skeleton of any life sim. You are a small-time author moving to a quiet town to work on your novel. As the newcomer, you notice occurrences that the other townsfolk don’t. A local NPC gifts you tea leaves, and when brewed and drunk, you are granted spirit vision. Guided by the grumpy cat spirit Wonyan, you are tasked to renovate the bathhouse on the mountain, but the catch - it is a bathhouse for spirits. Your task is to keep the bathhouse running and find all the wayward spirits causing trouble within the town. You can make friends with the other townsfolk, and when you have reached a high enough friendship level, enlist their help in running the bathhouse.



Screenshot provided by Gio Eldred Mitre (taken from Spirittea Free Demo on Steam)


Since its release, Spirittea has been compared with the hugely popular life sim Stardew Valley; being another life sim, the charming pixelated animation and gameplay make the two very similar. As someone who has played both games, there are huge differences, and Spirittea needs to be given its flowers as its own unique independent game. What I found refreshing about Spirittea is that the goal is made clear from the very beginning: expand your bathhouse, increase your spirituality, find all the spirits, and help the villagers. Compared to other life sims like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing where the goal is not as clear, the main aim is to improve your farm or island. As someone with not the best attention span, this is not the best layout for a game; I got bored very quickly. If this sounds familiar, I would recommend checking out Spirittea!


Despite this, the game does have its faults. Being so new, it is not unlikely that you will encounter bugs, things as simple as a quest not registering as complete in your logbook even though you have done everything. While this is annoying, the only thing you can do in this circumstance is to wait it out until the fault rectifies itself. Despite this, the game developers need to be commended on the amount of detail they have put into the town where the game is set; personality is evident everywhere, and it is clear to see that the developers thought each detail through very carefully.



Screenshot provided by Gio Eldred Mitre (taken from Spirittea Free Demo on Steam)


While the game cycle can become repetitive every now and again - work in the bathhouse, hear that a villager is being tormented, find the spirit, fix the issue, and repeat - I did not often find myself becoming bored. I think this is due to the uniqueness of each townsperson and spirit; no two quests are the same, and I would argue the appeal of the game is uncovering all the spirits to find your favourite one. The game ties the two aspects of people and spirit together really well; in finding the spirits, you have opportunities to learn about the townsfolk who are the centre of the quest, and in this way, nothing about Spirittea feels random or disconnected.


As a whole, Spirittea can at times become repetitive and frustrating, and the bugs every now and again impact the gaming experience. However, it is the perfect relaxing game to play on a lazy Sunday. If you love the whimsical charm of Spirited Away, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing, you should check it out! Its blend of rural life and mystical magic is sure to captivate.


Spirittea by Cheesemaster Games & No More Robots is available for purchase now on Nintendo Switch, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation 4 and more.


 

Edited by Gio Eldred Mitre, Gaming Editor

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