Arietta of Spirits

“Arietta of Spirits” by swonqi, Samuli Siimesto, Kimmo Bordi, Chevy Ray Johnston, Jaya Ply, Roosa Kerkola & Eugeniya Guteneva.

“The game tells the story of Arietta and her family, visiting their Grandmother’s cabin for the first time after her passing away a year prior. However, the family trip takes an unexpected turn when Arietta meets a mysterious new friend and gains the ability to see the strange beings that inhabit the island. […] This lengthy demo will include the whole beginning act of the game, setting the premise for the story and familiarizing the player with the games basic mechanics.”

While “Arietta of Spirits” is only available as a demo version right now, the team is actually working on the full release. The full version will come out in 2020 (and can already be wishlisted on Steam), but I simply have to recommend you the demo as it’s already simply gorgeous!

The adventure begins with a car ride: In the role of the teenager girl Arietta, you drive with your parents to the cabin of your deceased grandmother. It’s a family tradition to travel there each summer, but as the grandma’s death just happened one year before, you all know it won’t be the same anymore. Arietta and her family are still mourning and all the emotions as well as memories will come back. At the same time, they don’t want to back off and honor the decedent with their trip.

Screenshot of "Arietta of Spirits"

One afternoon, Arietta’s mother asks her to pick up some apples from the woods, so that she can prepare the dessert for dinner. Her father also hands her out a wooden sword to defend herself from nasty wasps. It all goes quite well (if you ignore accidentally attacking a wasps’ nest and getting in a fight with a monster version of the insect, gulp!), the family enjoys a delicious, but also tearful dinner and all of them go exhausted into their beds.

But Arietta faces an actual nightmare and makes a new friend on the way: A spirit named Arco, who will give her an important task. She has to become a Spirit Bound with the power to fight off dangerous entities, the so-called Roamers. Those beasts try to absorb energy and to multiply, putting not just Arco’s home, the Spirit Realm, but the whole world into danger. But at the same time, Arietta will meet a familiar ghost and free them with Arco’s help.

“Arietta of Spirits” seems to become a beautiful adventure. Actually, it already is. The beginning chapter, which will teach you about the basic game mechanics, shows off the amount of work the developers put into it. I’m not just talking about the beautiful pixel art, the perfectly timed music and sound effects or the two fun boss battles; it’s the fact that the whole game feels very polished. Each game mechanic goes smoothly along in the other without neglecting the importance of storytelling or the writing of dialogues. It’s a round gaming experience, which whets my appetite for more of it. See you in 2020, Arrie! I’m sure it will be worth the waiting.