Spirits of Spring
How does this "empathy" game hold up?
Spirits of Spring is an interesting project from the creators of Papo & Yo that works a lot differently from any other game you'd expect. It's all about the experience, and the story of Chiwatin and his friends is brief, but poignant. The game is extremely short, but it ends up imparting some precious messages to players and acting as an entertaining story for those who were bullied as children or are still having difficulty with it now.
The story of Chiwatin is interesting and touching, following the young boy on his quest to control the Spirits of Spring, who are able to keep Winter away with the help of the Spirit Trees. But when a band of crows attempt to force a permanent winter to set in, Chiwatin has to bring back spring and keep the crows at bay. It's an allegory for bullying and a tale that explores the best ways to taking care of bullies and how not to do it. It's a touching story through and through, but it's best experienced alone.
While Spirits of Spring is saddled with a touching narrative and an important message to share, it unfortunately suffers from uninspired puzzles, tired mechanics, and extremely simple areas. You need only head from one area to another by using Chiwatin's spirit ability to make bridges over water. You'll also need to collect the spirits in the area and call upon your animal friends to help out, but none of this is truly intuitive or interesting since it's all extremely easy.
There's the potential for some intriguing gameplay, but unfortunately Spirits of Spring misses its mark. Touchy controls also make it somewhat difficult to control Chiwatin in some areas, and his constant falling and issues navigating does tend to get a bit obnoxious as well.
Objectively, as a regular "game" per se, Spirits of Spring fails in it execution. As a concept, it's an interesting idea to have been tried out, but as a game it's not exactly an adventure you're going to want to play on any real given day. It does accomplish the purpose it set out to, but it needs some work as a game in practice.