Review – Spirit of the North

Bushy tailed

Thanks to the folks at Merge Games, today I’m taking a look over the 3rd person adventure title Spirit of the North, on the Nintendo Switch. This one is a relatively cheap title, which offers a silent story experience which will be familiar to fans of Rime or Journey.

This is one which was a little tough to get into at first, with slow progress through the initial snowy environments. Since then, it’s one which has drawn me in with some simple mechanics hiding what can at times be tricky puzzles to solve.

Your first views of the game come from between the ears of our bushy tailed protagonist

The Basics

Spirit of the North is a roaming 3rd person adventure, set through some idyllic and well crafted landscapes. You’ll find story elements as you go, told through inscriptions on caves or cliff walls along your journey. I’ve enjoyed this gentle adventure, with simple mechanics and not a lot of danger to speak of. With some easy puzzles and tasks along your journey, and some which take a little more thought, it’s one to suit the light and breezy crowd.

There’s not a lot here for those looking for action Lara Croft style. Instead this gentle adventure has no danger, and even fall damage isn’t a concern. You’ll spend your time jumping, sliding and running through various picturesque landscapes, and puzzling your way through the different areas. At times early on, the slow speed did grate a little, however soon this picked up and I really got into it as I followed a nice little non-spoken narrative.

Parent’s Eye View

Spirit of the North is rated by PEGI at 7, and by the ESRB as E for Everybody. The age rating for this one covers some bones and bodies scatters on your travels,, but not much else. With no fall damage or danger to speak of, it’s not overly troublesome. I would say that complexity means that below that age it might be a little tough for younger minds to get into. In terms of content I’d be happy to let the Micro-Bandits get their hands on it.

Looking out for puzzles, our little foxy friend is under your control

The Run Down

Visuals – Fair: This has been a tough one to mark in terms of visuals, as a lot of the time they are pretty good. I’ve enjoyed my travels through the landscapes, which have been artfully rendered. The switch version here falls down a little when compared to Windows or PlayStation however. With some rough edging and glitches with landscaping and positions it’s thrown me a little sometimes. Generally speaking it doesn’t detract too much from gameplay, but it’s definitely noticeable.

Audio – Great: The orchestral themes within Spirit of the North are wonderfully crafted and add a lot to the title. I’ve really enjoyed the music along my travels, which complements the art and game style very well.

Narrative – Fair: It’s one which progresses without conversation, and while it’s not hugely deep there is a little narrative which follows along your journey through the title. Depicted through spirits and carvings, the narrative isn’t too front and centre. If you pay attention, however, there is a lightweight tale to be told.

Replay – Lacking: I’d like to have seen a bit more in the way of collectables in the title to bump up the replay value. There are some collection elements in there for completionists, but with the slow nature of the title during the first act, it’s likely one which I’ll give a miss to for a second run through.

Overall the Pixel Bandits fox level for Spirit of the North is Enjoyable. This is one which I did have a little trouble getting into, however as a relatively cheap title it’s one which I’ve got a fair amount of enjoyment from. While the visuals aren’t perfect on Switch, the landscapes you travel through are picturesque, and for those looking for a relaxing walking simulator title, this one has a fair amount more good than it does bad.

while the edges can be rough, overall the environments are a nice part of the journey
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