Game: Arietta of Spirits
Genre: Adventure, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Xbox, PS4 and PC)
Developer|Publisher: Third Spirit Games | RED ART GAMES
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £17.99 | EU € 19,99 | USA $19.99
Release Date: August 20th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to RED ART GAMES
Arietta of Spirits feels like a Zelda lite experience. A top-down adventure game with fast-paced combat and simple gameplay design. I got to experience a demo of this over a year ago in one of the Steam festivals. What appealed to me most about it, is its colourful pixel art style. That and the main character also appears to have an intriguing looking spirit companion which piqued my interest. Looking for an adventure on an island without leaving the house? Then let’s grab a wooden sword and go adventuring!
You play as young Arietta who is on a little holiday trip with her parents to stay at her Grandmother’s cabin, who sadly passed away a year ago. However, this doesn’t turn out to be the typical holiday Arietta was expecting, with some fishing and apple picking. Instead, Arietta meets a spirit called Arco. Arco needs Arietta’s help to defeat the evil roamer spirits inhabiting the island. The plot is simple with a dash of heartfelt humour and even some rather sad revelations as you make it closer towards the end of the game.
Though the game doesn’t declare it I’m just gonna say Arco looks like an Otter which pretty much makes this game just awesome for me on a personal level. We need more Otter representation in video games! But even if you are not Otter mad the story has a lot of heart and humour to see you through to its conclusion.
The game is set across a few days. Usually, the day begins where you chat to your parents and help with a few quick chores like grabbing a loo roll for your dad stuck in the outhouse. Never thought I would do that in a video game. Then you head off on an adventure around the island. The main objective is to discover the mystery behind the closed mine but to get there you need to accomplish a few small objectives. Such as helping a witch in a forest and then repairing a bridge.
As you explore the world you will encounter a variety of enemies. Your defence is a wooden sword infused with your spirit buddy. You also unlock the ability to form a shield around Arietta which staggers some enemies and blocks projectiles. You can swipe and dodge roll out of harm’s way. Combat is fast but easily accessible for everyone. There’s no experience system. Arietta is just as strong at the start of the game as she is at the end, which feels quite refreshing. Though you can upgrade your heart count.
Some enemies will require you to monitor their movements to find their right opening but for the most part, running up and hitting them with your sword will suffice. When you reach a boss fight it’s the usual formula of wait for the right opening and using the correct attack or shield to drain their health. It’s pretty by the numbers but it follows the formula well, it just doesn’t offer anything new to the genre.
The graphics are detailed pixel style sprites with good use of colour. Forests are nice and green with some occasional neat tricks of blowing yellow leaves in some areas. In the caves, your light is reduced with only a small area of light around Arietta.
There’s also a pretty good soundtrack to accompany you on your adventure. The island you explore isn’t too big but the game doesn’t offer a map to help you keep your bearings where you are. The game makes it clear where your next objective is on the menu but sometimes I found myself getting a little lost in the woods.
To the Point
The game isn’t very long. You’re looking at finishing this easily in around 4 hours with maybe a little bit more if you look to complete all the additional side quests on offer. I honestly really like the length of this game. It does leave you wanting a bit more but I appreciated the developers’ no-filler approach to gameplay.
Each session I sat down to play felt like I was accomplishing something. The game offers multiple difficulty settings making this appealing for all gamer styles. Once you finish the first time around you also unlock an even harder difficulty setting for those that want things even more challenging.
Conclusion – Spirited Away
Arietta of Spirits is a simple adventure game with a good heart. If you’re looking for a game to complete for that weekend away this might just be the one to keep you busy. It’s doesn’t that pushes the boundaries of the genre but what is on offer here is fun. Plus this has an Otter spirit in it, what’s not to love?
Need to meditate on this game? There is also a free demo available on the eShop.
Final Verdict: I Like It