Spiritfarer tore me apart. Whether I was hugging Atul or leading Gwen to the Everdoor, it was hard not to grow attached to the beastlike avatars of our family roaming the land of the dead.
Even if the core mechanics regarding resource management are rather simplistic and forgiving, the touching narrative underpinning my every action kept me in an emotional stranglehold for the entirety of my journey. Getting through the emotional naval journey without bursting into tears should be an achievement on its own.
In this Spiritfarer Getting Started guide, I’ll review building a prosperous boat, gaining our first batch of lost spirits, and sending them on their merry way. As a bonus, I’ll detail some tips we can leverage to maximize our income and avoid grinding for resources.
Bottom Line Up Front: Take every chance to chop trees and mine rocks throughout the initial islands. After building the Sawmill, Loom, and Garden, we can comfortably gather and process resources to build houses that please spirits so we can eventually lead them to the Everdoor.
Before We Even Begin
Before we even start our spirit-faring journey through the land of the dead, we should take heed of a few tips to improve our resource management, control, and enjoyment of Spiritfarer’s emotional joyride. I advise following the tips below to make the most of Stella’s stellar voyage.
Spiritfarer has a fantastic Coop system where your friends can play as Stella’s cat Daffodil and help gather and process resources.
While the emotional beats may not hit quite as hard as with a friend to joke around, being able to multitask and produce multiple planks and Linen from sawmills and looms can eliminate a significant hassle. Consider bringing a friend along for the ride, whether for more fun or free labor!
Like most sidescrollers, Spiritfarer plays much more comfortably with a controller if you have one handy.
Controlling Stella with 360 degrees of direction can make capturing Glims, bright Jelly, and bottles of lightning during Jellyfish raids and lightning storms easier. Also, accessing hidden and hard-to-reach areas, like the mine system on Tatoamo island, is much easier with analog controls.
Despite its lovely visuals and characters, Spiritfarer left me a crying mess. I recommend ensuring you’re in a safe environment to tear up or sob if you’re a sap like me; crying in a cramped study hall can be somewhat embarrassing.
Don’t let our fellow pier shame us for sobbing over hugging Atul farewell; he deserves all the love in the world!
The First Week In-Game
To begin our first week in-game, Spiritfarer walks us through inviting aboard spirits, gathering resources offshore, and building up Stella’s boat. We can start our naval adventure with the following tasks:
Building Stella’s Boat
After paddling away from the Everdoor, we arrive at Alt Island to find Gwen, the Spirit of our best friend turned Deer, who offers assistance in growing accustomed to our role as the new Spiritfarer.
After witnessing her cute transformation and hugging her, Gwen leads us to a trash barge that serves as our primary source of transportation throughout Spiritfarer.
To refit the barge and eliminate all this junk, however, we’ll have to head to Albert’s Shipyard and purchase the beginner blueprint station by setting a course in the map room with the console and projector.
While sailing, we can chat more with Gwen and try fishing on the stern end of the boat to stockpile some fish for cooking.
After arriving and taking the paddleboat to shore, we can talk to Albert, who offers a whole host of upgrades we can purchase with Glims and resources.
I recommend purchasing the free “Beginner” option and returning sometime over the next few days to buy the Hobbyist, and Intrepid Otter upgrades for new facilities (ideally the loom and Sawmill) and more room for housing.
Terror of the Jellies
Following purchasing the module, we can begin converting our junk into valuables we can sell to Francis, the traveling Merchant, for Glims (Spiritfarer’s currency) and resources to build a guest house for Spirits. However, before this, we’ll have to gather Bright Jelly from the nearby Jelly Storm.
Despite the jarring atmospheric shift, these jellies deal no damage and offer a plentiful source of Glims and Bright Jelly. While we should gather as many jellies as possible, prioritize collecting rarer green jellies over the glowing yellow ones; they offer the limited resource we need.
After gathering enough bright Jelly (we can return to the storm and repeat the last process if we didn’t), we can build a kitchen to cook food to please our spirits. However, we should also work toward gathering some Maple Logs and limestone from Mosstein Cove.
After returning, we can build a field, our first production center, where we can grow Linen we can process into a cloth and other fruits and vegetables we can combine to make delicious meals for our spirits.
Froggy Uncles and Snake Aunts
Following our boat’s construction, we can work towards gaining our first batch of spirits for Obols and access to unique events. While later spirits require us to perform a small quest for them, these first few, Atul and Summer, join immediately. For our first Spirit, we should head to the coordinates below:
- Relation: Uncle
- Location: Barkensheim Creek
- Coordinates: 5, 117
- Favorite Foods: Pork Chops (everything)
Located at Barkensheim Creek, an island creek near our starting area, we can head to Atul’s location immediately upon entering the world of Spiritfarer. After running to the creek’s right, we find a small spirit that asks us to retrieve a lemon from a giant pond.
Following a heroic retrieval of the lemon, Atul joins our crew, revealing his identity and offering us the cuddliest froggy available. Regarding utility, Atul helps around the ship, giving us extra planks from the Sawmill and allowing us to gather lightning in a bottle and Glims during thunderstorms.
- Relation: Aunt
- Location: Hummingberg
- Coordinates: 39, 139
- Favorite Foods: Desserts and Salads
Locating in Hummingberg, the first large village of our voyage, we can reach Summer after recruiting Atul and investing two obols into the Shrine at Hummingberg for the double jump ability.
From here, we can double jump up the nearby later and head to the far right of the map to find the Snake version of our Aunt Summer enjoying the warm sunlight.
Like Atul, Summer comes aboard without hesitation and helps us play music to plants in the Garden, helping us grow them faster. Summer also allows us to interact with Dragon events allowing us to harvest from Aluminum Dragons, Gold Dragons, Silver Dragons, and Quartz Dragons.
After recruiting our first few spirits and building Gwen a house and Loom, we can work towards completing Gwen’s quest. After some time, Gwen approaches us, saying she’d like to travel to Villa Maggiore, her old home, to get some closure (-58, 117).
After returning to the boat, Gwen vanishes the next night and returns to the same mansion, forcing us to return to Villa Maggiore and chat with Gwen, convincing her to return aboard.
Eventually, Gwen says she’s prepared to move onto the Everdoor, compelling us to travel to the named location and hope in the paddleboat with Gwen beside us.
Each Spirit’s quest culminates in this emotional ride to the door with a tearful hug goodbye, so prepare yourself for a touching scene; I admittedly cried on a live stream in this crushing moment of Spiritfarer.
Following the hug, we witness a small story scene revealing Stella’s relationship with her best friend, Gwen, in her past life and a small glimpse at Hades: the spiritual Owl apparition that resides in Stella’s Psyche.
From here, we can work towards gathering new spirits, upgrading the range of our boat, and ferrying our friends and family to a peaceful rest. If we’re ever lost, try exploring new regions of the map and seeing if we have enough resources to upgrade our boat’s range.
Core Mechanics Guide
Our primary source of transportation for the spirited seas, Stella’s Boat plays a significant role in journeying the land of Spiritfarer. Propelled by the power of the Everlight, we can set a course from our map projector room and travel around, completing our Spirit’s quests and exploring new islands.
Be warned that some sections of the map require special upgrades, like the Icebreaker, Rock Destroyer, Mist Cleaner 1000 to bypass ice, rock, and mist on the world map. We can obtain these enhancements and upgrades to increase our ship’s size and speed from Albert at his Shipyard with the required planks, stones, and Glims.
Scavenging For Resources
We’ll have to scavenge materials on distant islands and material-rich waters to gather materials for building houses, sawmills, and boat upgrades.
While most of these resources are rather obvious (i.e. maple logs from trees and shale from tree and rock outcroppings), some materials require alternative scavenging sources. I advise abiding by the tips below to gain easy access to a plentiful amount of resources:
Largely uninhabited Islands like Mosstein Cove (78, 130) and Barkensheim Creek (5, 117) offer an abundant early source of Maple Logs, Limestone, and Berries.
While cutting down trees is relatively simple, moving a saw back and forth, mining requires us to charge our pickaxe to its apex before smashing down on the rock.
Also, don’t worry about depleting islands of resources; trees and rocks replenish themselves every few days. If we’re trying to grind for resources, we can make regular trips back to islands we’ve visited for extra logs and stones.
We can also enjoy a wealth of fish and random treasures without leaving our boat. I recommend checking out supply crates marked on the world map for an abundant source of random goodies and diving down to gather goodies hidden in the water.
We can also fish on the left end of the boat for a variety of fish we can prepare for our follower’s favorite meals. To catch each fish, we must real a fish without the line turning red and breaking. Once the rod turns red, stop reeling in until it’s yellow and safe to bring in.
Weather Events: Jellyfish, Lightning, and Dragons
Scattered across the seas lie storms, clouds, and special events where we can gather resources for Glims and unique resources.
With each character that comes aboard, we can participate in a new event (i.e. Lightning storms with Atul, Jellyfish storms with Gwen, and Dragon Events with Summer).
Despite the sinister, melancholic music, we are entirely safe during these events and can gather rare resources and extra glims for upgrading our boat and building special items. These events also offer fun minigames and alternatives to the game’s management elements.
Resource Management Minigames
After acquiring our initial resources, we can process them into planks, thread, and fabric in various minigames at each production facility. After purchasing the blueprints from Albert’s Shipyard, we can head to the blueprint station and construct a facility for converting the resources.
While failing each minigame still grants us resources, getting a perfect score grants us extra resources and audible click sounds that never cease to release sweet serotonin.
I recommend checking out the follow-the-line minigame at the Sawmill and the music minigame at the Garden for fun ways to pass the time on the trip to our next destination.
Housing and Hosting
For each Spirit we’ll recruit, we’ll have to perform specific actions to please and keep them satisfied. While most of the benefits they offer are relatively slim (i.e. increasing crop productivity with music or scavenging for berries offshore), they’re a nice touch that makes them feel like helpful, happy passengers.
On the material hand, we’ll have to build each Spirit a unique house to cater to their specialized needs (ie Atul sleeps in an aquarium while Summer sleeps in a cot). Also, each day we’ll have to ring the wakeup bell, feed each character, and hug them warmly.
Tips We Wish We Knew
Bus Transport system
Instead of spending several days getting to and from different islands, we can travel to the bus stops on the world map to fast travel to other bus stops we’ve discovered.
After discovering enough bus stations and speaking to Alex, the Bus driver, a seal with an obnoxious theme, and turning off his annoying music, the talking seal warps us to a previously discovered station closer to our destination.
I advise checking our position in the map room to see whether there’s a nearby station nearby to save ourselves a day or two of the journey. Exploring the seas and looking for these bus stations is an excellent way to quickly reduce travel time to complete a spirit’s quest.
Invisible Walls with Wires
Lining the inside of most caverns and mines are wires that lead into invisible rooms. If a wire runs straight into that wall, try moving into that wall to see if we can continue progressing. Exploring these rooms rewards us with valuable items, resources, and blueprints.
We’ll also need to check out these rooms if we intend to 100% each island. Besides that, these rooms can hide quirky spirits commenting on their seclusion, offering a humorous backstory.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The Dangers of Sheep Farming
Later on, after we reach Mount Toroyama and bring Alice on board, we lure sheep onboard with food and use them as an easy source of wool fibre we can turn into Wool Thread and Wool Fabric at our Loom.
While I was delighted at the easy, accessible source of Wool, I was soon mortified to find my sheep had devoured our entire field and Garden of carrots and coffee beans!
If we want to bring sheep onboard, ensure we have a sheep corral ready and available so we can enjoy a steady source of Wool Fibre without risking our crops.
Even if we’re more interested in completing Spirit’s quests than building up our boat, we’ll still have to return to Mount Toroyama if when we run short of shale or coal later.
I recommend scouring each island for resources native to a particular area, like Pine Logs or Ash Logs, so we don’t have to waste days traveling back and forth between islands.
Taking the extra effort to comb for resources, no matter how tedious, will save us an entire journey coming back.
Linen over Food
While it may be nice to discover our Spirit’s favorite foods, building their homes is more important than making them happy. If we’re more interested in progressing the story, I advise growing Linen Seeds and Cotton Seeds over food crops like Rice Seeds and Corn Seeds.
We can always feed our spirits with alternative sources of food, like raspberries offshore, muscles from the side of our boat, or fish in the sea. Don’t worry; the penalties for starving spirits are rarely noticeable.
Don’t Process Every Resource
Some resources, like Linen, have a third stage and can be transformed from Linen Fiber, to Linen Thread, to Linen Fabric. While we should always process Linen Fibre, early upgrades require Linen Thread, not Linen Fabric, so we should hold off on it.
I recommend monitoring the material cost of upgrades before further processing them. Also, we should pay attention to the needed materials, so we don’t gather logs for planks we don’t even need.
Long-term goals to consider
Boat Strength and Speed
We’ll have to continually upgrade our boat’s hull and mast to access new areas to gain more spirits and resources and finish spirit quests. Keep an eye out for those unique materials and save up glims if a character’s quest requires us to check out a new area.
All-in-all, there’s nothing more frustrating than reaching the edge of a biome only to find that it needs an icebreaker upgrade that requires materials from a biome on the opposite side of the map.
Prioritizing upgrading our boat over all else can save us major hassle and offer a more enjoyable trip through the afterlife.
As we gather all the necessary abilities for exploring each area (ie double jump, glide, zipline), we can work towards gathering all the blueprints from each island. While most rewards are valuable junk, we can sell for Glim; some treasure chests offer handy blueprints for resource production.
Try probing the edges of the map and recommend checking out the island icons and probing invisible walls that might lead to rare chests. I’ve also had to bounce off umbrellas, jump off cliffs, and head inside buildings, so try to get creative!
Our overarching goal for Spiritfarer is to help each Spirit move on, fulfilling their last wish and sending them through the Everdoor.
While each quest is different, we’ll generally have to build each Spirit their ideal home and travel from place to place to give them some closure for problems that ailed them in their real lives.
After helping every Spirit and fulfilling our role as Spiritfarer, we can send Stella through the Everdoor and end the game. Don’t worry; however, we can also return to the last save if we want to continue traveling the world of Spiritfarer and enjoy the beautiful world and music.
Question: How do I get New Spirits?
Answer: Looking out on new islands for characters with the outline of an animal above their head means we can bring them aboard, usually after completing a short quest for them. I advise checking out Barkensheim Creek, Hummingberg, and Mount Toroyama for easy access to our first three spirits.
Question: Where is Gwen?
Answer: We can find Gwen at Villa Maggiore towards the end of her quest after she vanishes from the boat. We can see her reminiscing on the troubling memory of her past life before convincing her to return aboard and bring her to the Everdoor.
Question: How do I get new abilities?
Answer: After spending Obols, a rare resource that spirits pay to us for passage, at shrines, we earn a new ability to Double Jump, Glide, and Zipline. We can find these shrines like Hummingbird Island, Furogawa Island, Nordweiler, etc.
Playing Spiritfarer still turns me into an emotional mess. Getting to reconnect with Atul and Gwen again, only to have them torn from me, is both endearing and heartbreaking each time.
Even if it can be somewhat overwhelming getting dumped into Spiritfarer’s massive overworld with a tiny little trash barge, building up Stella’s boat and inviting our departed family aboard can offer a measure of comfort and control.
It’s almost unbelievable looking at the massive factory/houseboat/pirate ship boat we’ve throughout our journey.
Regardless of our struggles, we’re well on our way to saving the rest of our family and giving ourselves a final departure. So let’s hug some giant frogs and perform amazing kickflips off an umbrella! There’s a new Spiritfarer in town, and they’re adorable!
- Shadows of Doubt Review – A Dystopian Detective’s Delight - May 7, 2023
- Mr Saitou Review - April 12, 2023
- Disco Elysium Cuno Guide - March 9, 2023