It has been a while since Spirit Of The North first released and some of us out there had a chance to experience it. It is a very atmospheric title that has us solving puzzles along with some beautiful landscapes. Something that Infuse Studio set out to make look just as pretty as it was engaging. Since then, we have seen the launch of the PS5 and that means that things could be getting prettier and we have a new reason to check back in on the game. This is why we now have the Spirit Of The North: Enhanced Edition out in the wilds. A title we had the chance to sit back and take in. Here is our review on just how well the game was updated and if you should be adding it to the growing collection on the new system.
In Spirit Of The North, we take on the role of an arctic fox, of sorts, all to answer the age-old question; what does the fox say? That and also try to solve the mysteries behind what has happened to the lands and what is currently plaguing it. It is up to us, the lost shaman spirits out there, and the Northern spirits to try to set things back to the way they should be. All while having a fun romp through the countryside and interesting landscapes of the land.
At its core, Spirit Of The North is a platforming-puzzle game for us to enjoy. This should mean that the controls for doing the platforming should be locked in well. Furthermore, now that we have an Enhanced Edition for the game to play around with. They still felt a little loose and clunky at many times when I was playing the game, sadly. Mostly when it comes to interactions and jumping. Not the game-breaking level of clunky, but enough that you will get frustrated when you are pointing in the way you want to jump yet still go a little to the left or right and thus miss the jump. I never reached a point where it ended the game but I did have to backtrack quite a bit to try it all again. All of which could easily turn off a casual gamer when it comes to this one.
Also, it felt like there were too few context clues to follow in Spirit Of The North, even with its enhancements. We need to find Shamans to free their souls and it took more time than I like to admit to realize that the controller was making a sound to indicate that. That and the subtle buzz of things never made me know that something was nearby as it also seemed to fire off at random. Maybe if there was a bit more to the tutorial or screen prompts at the beginning to let us know of this in Spirit Of The North I would not be as upset by it. Sometimes a game can be too non-hand-holding that it reduces down the experience a bit. Again, never game-breaking or ending, but something that drove me crazy when making my way through the lands.
Hands down, Spirit Of The North is just as pretty of a game that we should be looking for on the newer systems out there. Not just in detail of visuals, but even with its simplicity, it was able to convey some emotions just through lighting and effects on screen. Games like Journey come to mind and Spirit Of The North fits even better on the pedestal that title is on. The Enhanced Edition just made everything seem to pop just a bit more than before and thus hit a little harder than I remember. More so than many of the AAA titles that are out there currently or even in the past. It is always a fun surprise when games are able to do that and I will take it every time that seems to happen here. Job amazingly well done here.
While the controls and context clues were a little hard to get behind in Spirit Of The North again, I do have to say that it was fun to go through all of the puzzles and levels that Infuse Studio had for us here. Once you knew what was needed and could see where to go, everything flowed from place to place and offered up the perfect challenge to keep the game's pace moving and never slowing. At least, not slowing in places where it was not needed. It also, weirdly, made going back through Spirit Of The North to find missing parts and Shaman just that much more fun to experience on a second playthrough. Not many games can truly pull that off and here we go with a great example of how to do that.
There were some enhancements for Spirit Of The North that I was sad not to see make it here to perfect a solid game in the first place. The controls felt off and there were times it felt like a pixel hunt to get the interaction prompts to display. It was rough but never made the game unplayable. Where it truly shined, obviously, was in the visuals and the emotions that could be better conveyed through it all. If you are looking for a short and sweet title to add to the PS5, Spirit Of The North: Enhanced Edition really is one that you should give a try with. If you are only in the gaming for the blood, guts, and violence, then you might want to skip on this piece of art as it will not be for you. Even if you enjoy the fun little puzzles that the game does have to offer up.
I give Spirit Of The North 20 Shaman Spirits on the Shaman Spirit scale.
Spirit Of The North — Launch Trailer
Spirit Of The North was developed by Infuse Studio and published by Merge Games for the PC, Switch, and PS4 in 2019 and the Enhanced Edition for on November 26th for the PS5. A PS5 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.