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Indie hit Spiritfarer coming to Netflix’s oft-overlooked app

A new way to play one of 2020’s best games

animated characters on a boat look at the sun setting in the distance in Spiritfarer Image: Thunder Lotus
Toussaint Egan is an associate curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Did you know that you can play games on the Netflix phone app? It’s true! Case in point: Spiritfarer, one of the best games of 2020, is coming soon to Netflix subscribers through their little used and often-overlooked Netflix Games feature.

Developed by independent studio Thunder Lotus Games, the sandbox action game tasks players with assuming the role of Stella, the new spiritfarer conducting the deceased to the afterlife, following the retirement of Charon. Players manage their own needs and desires while navigating the seas of the dead to the Everdoor, the final gateway to the afterlife. Players progress by picking up new passengers, fulfilling those passengers’ final requests before passing on, and upgrading their boat to accommodate more passengers. It is essentially, as the developers describe it, “a cozy management game about dying.”

Nicole Carpenter goes into detail describing the core appeal of the game, writing in her review for Polygon that,

Spiritfarer works because the entire game is built around creating these connections to the characters, all of which are complex people with tangled stories. And none of the spirits are purely good or bad; some are people leaving a mess behind for others to grapple with. Sometimes they’re angry — at Stella or others on the ship. They’re challenging in ways I haven’t seen often in video games. The investment in these characters, though, is what makes the rote mechanisms of Spiritfarer’s gameplay feel worthwhile, because those connections happen organically.

A news release from Netflix said only that the game is “coming soon” to the app. Meanwhile, it still has titles like Before Your Eyes and Poinpy, which are also worth a look, especially if you’re already paying for a Netflix sub.

An analytics firm said last month that fewer than 1% of Netflix subscribers play the games they’re entitled to with their subscription. Don’t be one of them! This post has everything you need to know about getting access to those games.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that Spiritfarer was available now. It’s “coming soon.” This post has been revised.

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