Imagine Stardew Valley, but instead of restoring a run-down farm, you’re restoring a mountaintop bathhouse. And instead of having regular, human customers, your bathhouse is filled with ghosts. That’s Spirittea, an endlessly playable cosy adventure from Cheesemaster Games and No More Robots, available now on PC and Switch.
Like all good cosy games, Spirittea starts with your character arriving in a new town. Immediately, you get the sense that something is askew: some of the townsfolk you meet tell you that strange things have been happening around town. And, soon after, you’ll learn why. The first time you use the teapot that was left for you in your new home, you’ll meet your spirit guide. It seems your new village is absolutely teeming with restless ghosts. And there’s only one thing to appease them: getting the bathhouse on top of the mountain back in working order.
Initially, most of your time in Spirittea will be spent maintaining and running the bathhouse. Visiting it for the first time, you’ll find a dusty old space which needs a lot of work doing to it. Get a broom and duster on the go, though, and you’ll soon clean it up. With just one bath in working order, there’s a lot of scope for renovations, and as you progress through the game, earning money by running the bathhouse, you’ll be able to afford to fix up more and more of it.
Success isn’t just a case of taking money from ghosts, though. You’ll meet different types of spirits in Spirittea, and they all have their own preferences. When it comes to placing them in the baths, you’ll need to consider where they sit. They’re rather fussy, you see: with each spirit relating to one of the four seasons, they don’t like sitting next to anyone who is from the season opposite. Summer and Winter? Think again. You’ll need to place them next to matching spirits, then, or those from the season either side.
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The problem is, it’s your job to work out which spirit belongs to which season. And so, initially, placing spirits is going to be trial and error. You’ll quickly pick up on a spirit type’s likes and dislikes, though, and so the more days you work in the bathhouse, the more profit you can make. If you mess up and put someone in the wrong place, you’ll still earn some money, but those spirits won’t be as happy so won’t pay as much as they should.
In the bathhouse, you’ll also need to keep the heater burning by chopping wood, and you’ll need to wash and dry towels. You’ll also unlock more features over time, like a cooking station that allows you to serve food to your spectral guests, and eventually you’ll be able to hire help to keep on top of the day-to-day running of things.
That’s not all there is to Spirittea, though. Back in town you’ll find a couple of dozen residents to meet, all of which can be befriended. Townsfolk will also have tasks for you to help with: one has a haunted bathroom, for example. And another will see you figuring out why the local church bell has stopped ringing (spoiler: it’s a ghost. It’s always a ghost).
Like most games of this type, there’s no right or wrong way to play Spirittea, and it’s largely up to you how you spend your time with the game. You’ll have some missions handed to you to guide you through, but once you’ve been shown the ropes, you’re largely left to your own devices. Maybe you’ll spend every day earning as much money in the bathhouse as you can. Or maybe you’ll choose to work on relationships around town.
Making friends typically means engaging in conversation, but you’ll also find yourself enjoying some minigames along the way, too. Head our drinking with a new friend and you’ll partake in a drinking minigame, carefully pouring out a shot and trying not to fill the glass too much. You might even head out to the local karaoke bar, where you’ll find a rhythm-based minigame to enjoy. As you progress and find new in-game equipment, you can also do things like fishing and treasure hunting.
If you enjoy the likes of Stardew Valley, you’ll get a kick out of Spirittea. There’s serious joy to be found in seeing your bathhouse improve over time, but that’s only part of the fun to be found here. Simply existing in Spirittea’s unique little world is wonderful, making friends with its colourful residents – and enjoying a spot of karaoke. It’s a unique take on the genre, for sure, and if you’re not too spooked out by spirits, Spirittea is absolutely worth soaking up.