Spirit Walkers, by casual game lords G5, provides some pretty typical casual fun for at least several hours. It costs 5 bucks, though, and obviously a lot of players in the comments section think that the price was much too high. I laugh at the idea; not only is 5 dollars for even a short game a steal, but it’s especially a steal considering how nicely made this game is.
If you’ve played one casual, puzzle-based and story-driven game by G5 or other developers like Big Fish, you’ve sort of played them all. I don’t really care that many of them use the same puzzles or the same gimmicks because, after all, all of those things are earmarks of the genre just like Westerns having cows and sci-fi having aliens. While playing a social or casual game like Spirit Walkers, I normally look for quality or polish. The animations can be primitive and the art can be basic, but if the whole thing works it really can be a soothing, fun and interesting experience that also balances challenge.
Spirit Walkers asks you and your small group of friends to travel through time and space in order to help an injured friend, aid a bride-to-be and meet an entire cast of characters that you can only meet in a casual game. The puzzles are typical but nicely challenging. The game also provides an easy “skip” button for those puzzles that are just too challenging, but I only found myself tempted to push it once. I like the fact that if you skip a puzzle you are not penalized. A good casual game does not punish the player; a good casual game is mostly an easy-going experience that makes the player feel good. Spirit Walkers has moments in it that are quietly beautiful and sometimes a bit moving. I wonder how the artwork is handled through a publisher like G5 or others… I have heard tales of artists who are paid piddly amounts to crank out game assets. Either way, the results are nice, warm and inviting. Subtle lighting effects and gentle music make the game perfect for bedtime play or hanging out on the couch. This is casual incarnate.
The storyline is a bit trippy, however. You’ll find yourself travelling through some strange areas and will meet a ghost woman who instructs you how to teleport back in time to start solving the mysteries. You’ll meet her again as a bride and will be introduced to her groom, a shirtless Native American who sort of talks to your character as though she is a secretary in a 60s movie. I was fully prepared for him to ask my character to sit on his lap. How odd, but funny.
You’ll be able to download the game for free and unlock it later for 5 dollars. I had issues with the initial purchase but after a restart and an evening away from the device the purchase finally went through. Luckily, too, because I was actually missing the experience. It might be smart to sign up for a G5 account and save money buy purchasing several titles, especially if you enjoy adventure games. I love the freemium model, however. Demoing all of the games is a lot of fun.
Spirit Walkers handles the casual genre perfectly. It has a fun story that is not slowed down by mountains of text and offers a way out of puzzles that prove too much. There’s a hint button as well, something that actually comes in handy more than a few times. I also love the fact that many of the heroes in many casual titles are not typical muscle-bound gunfighters. Casual gaming provides something for every sex and usually for any age, without feeling cheesy or silly most of the time. Get Spirit Walkers if you want an enjoyable and sometimes beautiful experience that you can run through in several hours.