For the nonspoiler portion:
Art – 9/10 – is gorgeous, great style. The different environments are tied well together.
Story – 10/10 – take the time to talk to everyone, and read, don’t skim/skip. There’s humor hidden, a couple of in-jokes and references, and this is the main part of the game.
Music – 15/10 – The music is amazing. It’s tied together with the scenes and the story in a perfect fashion.
Overall – This is a must play game; but don’t play it in an emotionally compromised state. It’s not a light game if you pay attention. It’s really quite heavy. I’m surprised this only got a Teen rating.
Some spoilers below:
The initial screenshots and tidbits make you think this is a fun little resource management game; you know, building houses and upgrading your boat while making sure you keep everyone happy. And while that’s a part of the game, it’s pretty much just a vehicle for the true game.
Which is the passengers on this boat.
The game leads off with dumping you into your role as a replacement for Charon (oh he of the River Styx). No other intro or anything. Which I thought was odd, did I miss something? But it turns out, no, I didn’t.
You end up finding a number of spirits and hearing their stories, helping them get closure… or is this closure for you?
Eventually they tell you they’re ready to leave, and you take them to the “Everdoor”. And there’s another conversation there. Which tends to be very heavy.
While the art of the game tends towards bright colours and clean style, that only serves as a counterpoint to what the story is telling you, and that’s emphasized by the music. It turns into this emotional hammerblow. The content of the stories deals with suicide, infidelity (and whether it’s better to know or not), forgiveness, the struggle for meaning and more.
Again, I have to mention the music, because it’s just so well done that it increases the impact of these stories and scenes immensely. ( I’m going to plug the composer here, because 1) the music is JUST THAT GOOD, and 2) it turns out he’s Canadian. See https://maxll.ca/discography/spiritfarer )
I can’t recommend this game enough. Just be warned, you’re likely going to cry if you pay attention; at the very least, it’s going to give you something to think about.