Spirit of the North (Switch) Review
I didn’t know foxes can bark
Non-interactive environments and linear pathways create a boring experience
Technical issues like constant pop-in takes the user out of the emotional experience it is trying so hard to create
Spirit of the North is a minimalistic adventure game designed in the shadow of titles like Journey, where the focus is placed on visual story telling through navigating a vast, whimsical landscape without dialog, a hud, or enemies to kill. Sadly, this title misses pretty much every mark on what it sets out to do.
Playing as a fox, the player is left to wander linear pathways filled with nothingness, occasionally stumbling across a mindless puzzle. For example, after walking through a snow covered area for a few minutes, a rotting corpse stands out against the landscape. When the player picks up a wooden staff five feet away and places it by the bones of the creepy skeleton, a new pathway opens for some reason. It is easy to see where the developers were going but the failed execution results in a boring and empty emotional journey when it should have been filled with some special.
As if navigating a boring environment wasn’t bad enough, technical issues plague the experience from beginning to end. Frames constantly chug and the environment is filled with pop-in at every turn. Also, I am a Y-Axis inverter. Toggling this option in the main menu doesn’t do anything, most likely an oversight during play testing.
The soundtrack isn’t bad but pretty much everything about the gameplay is. If you want to experience a stellar emotional journey featuring a four-legged fury friend, you will want to overlook Spirit of the North and play through the stellar Lost Ember instead.
Also available on PC.
Don’t Forget About: Dune Sea (PC)
Also Play: RiME (if you don’t cry during the ending, you have no soul)
Wait For It: a sequel to Electroplankton
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com