Spirittea

In Spirittea you play as a writer who has moved to a small town in the countryside in hopes that the change of scenery will help you finish writing your book.  Unfortunately for you, this particular town has been going through some difficult times due to natural disasters, strange accidents and mysterious occurrences.  After drinking from an ancient teapot you gain the ability to temporarily see into the spirit world only to discover that the town is haunted by a bunch of angry spirits. It is up to you to re-open the old bath house on the mountain where the spirits once rested, and to search high and low to find and convince them to soak their stress away.  

The old bath house on the mountain could certainly use some fixing up.

In Spirittea your character is a writer, so in its simplest form the goal of the game is to finish writing the book you’ve started.  However, to do this you will need find inspiration from the activities you take part in:

for Cats and Dogs
  •  Locate Spirits – Finding mischievous and angry spirits around town and inviting them to relax in your bath house is a major component of Spirittea.  Every spirit will have a preferred place where they can be found, and will have different criteria for calming them.  It could be as simple as giving a spirit a jar of peanut butter, or as difficult as following clues to dig up their lost treasure. Think of other creature-capturing style games, but replace combat with more of a puzzle element, and instead of randomly finding a creature in the tall grass you have to actively follow clues or rumors which can be both time and seasonally dependent.  
Leading spirits to their ideal bathing spot is a key part of managing the bath house.
  •  Bath House Management – The second major component of Spirittea is managing the bath house.  Spirits that you have previously found and invited to the bath house will show up randomly at the entrance, and it will be your job to ensure they have an enjoyable bathing experience.  A variety of factors can affect their overall experience.  For instance, spirits all belong to a particular season (spring, summer, fall or winter) and typically prefer to sit near spirits of certain seasons more than others.  At the end of their bath, they will reward the player with money depending on how pleased they were with their overall bathing experience.  
Local townsfolk have favourite hobbies, foods and places to visit.
  •  Befriending Locals – In Spirittea you live in a small town in the countryside.  The town is home to many folks you can talk to, become friends with, and even do some activities together (such as fishing and bug catching).  In fact, you’re encouraged to become friends with some of the locals so that together you can discover hidden activities and rare items!
There are a variety of fish to be caught in Spirittea, with some fish being found only in certain locations or during certain seasons.
  •  Fishing – Cast your line around the town to catch a variety of aquatic creatures depending on the season.  You can even keep some in your house if you can get your hands on an aquarium!
Some bugs are harder to catch than others. Persistence is key!
  •  Bug Catching – Dust off your sun hat because there are a variety of creepy crawlies to catch!  Some are slow and simple to catch while others will test your reflexes and bug-awareness.
You never know what treasures lie buried below.
  •  Digging for Treasure – The area in and around the small town has a rich history that has been, for the most part, undiscovered.  Bring your shovel, because there are maps, clues, spirit tomes, and relics to be discovered!
  •  Customize Your Character – In Spirittea you can customize your character as you like.  Once your character is created you can purchase new clothes and accessories at the local shop, with some items only available for a limited time.
  •  Figuring Collecting – Like many people, some of the townsfolk in Spirittea love to collect things.  Choosing to spend your money on new clothes, repairing a room in the bath house, or on a few figurines from the gacha machine in town isn’t always an obvious choice.  Some townsfolk will even offer to trade figurines with you, so it never hurts to buy a few.  That hole in the floor can wait, right?
Gathering tea leaves to make the Spirittea is no easy task!
  •  Gathering Tea – You thought it was as simple as paying money for tea leaves?  No way, you’ve got to earn that tea!  In this mini-game you will take control of one of the townsfolk, Tifa, in retro-styled game where you must gather tea leaves and avoid the troublesome local wildlife.
  •  The Arcade Cabinet – As you might have guessed, I like to include variety in my games.  The arcade cabinet, though out of order at the start of the game, it will eventually be fixed and will provide another means for you to enjoy your time in Spirittea.

Changing Times

Spirittea has a 24-hour day/night cycle as well as 4 distinct seasons.

Spirittea contains a day and night cycle and will also include four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter).  In addition, the townsfolk in Spirittea will have daily routines.  Learning each character’s schedule and how they like to spend their time can be helpful when trying to befriend them.

Time to Celebrate – Yearly festivals and events will be added to the game as it is being developed.  Some will be recognizable, such as Christmas, while other special events might be unique but partially based on a real-life celebration.  

The spirits you encounter in Spirittea will be extremely diverse.  Some will be of my own creation, however I also wanted to include spirits that reference the creatures of legends and myths from around the world.

Demonstration of the spirit world vision which results from drinking a special tea from an ancient teapot. Allows the player to see spirits around the town.

You can learn more about a spirit you’ve encountered by finding or digging up spirit tomes that can pop up around town.  The information in these tomes is recorded in a sort of Spirit Encyclopedia!

The majority of the spirits in Spirittea are angry because the townsfolk have forgotten about them and no longer worship them.  However this is not always the case.  Some spirits are upset because of other reasons, so it is up to you to find out what’s bothering them and figure out how to put an end to their mischief.  

Bath House Management

As if the spirits weren’t already troublesome enough, spirits have a preference for who they sit near in the baths.  Placed next to someone they like, spirits will become happier faster, resulting in more Money earned at the end of their visit.  However the opposite is true; placing a spirit next to a spirit they don’t like will decrease their happiness over time, resulting in little to no Money earned.  To top it off, some spirits are “abnormal” and don’t bathe like a good spirit should.  Abnormals have a tendency to move around and disrupt other bathers in different ways.  Managing the baths efficiently in Spirittea has the potential to be quite a challenge if you’re up for it.  Or, you can simply place spirits willy-nilly and manage the bath house in a more carefree and relaxed way.  It’s completely up to you!

Spirits must each have a towel in order to use the baths. It is up to the player to ensure there are enough clean towels for the spirits to use.

The Lord Spirits – Once you’ve managed to calm all of the spirits of a particular season an extremely powerful Lord spirit is revealed somewhere around the town.  Lord spirits are wealthy, irritable, and extremely large.  You better make sure you’ve got ample space before you invite such a being to your humble bath house!

Concept art, or the scribblings of a mad man?

Spiritually Broke

Money in Spirittea is typically earned through your work at the bath house.  Spirits will pay you for the use of your baths, which means finding more spirits can net you more Money.  The catch, however, is that in order to see any but the most basic spirits, you will have to pray at the shrines around town to grow your spirituality.  Praying at a shrine involves leaving some Money as a gift to the spirits there.  Over time, your spirituality will  grow, and you will be able to see more and more spirits.  Once calmed, you can invite the spirits to relax at your bath house, earning you more Money!

Increasing your spirituality is necessary if you’re ever hoping to find more elusive spirits.

Upgrades

Money can also be spent on items, food, furniture, clothing, playing video games (gaming in a game… whoa!) or fixing up rooms and parts of the bath house.  

There are no shortage of things to buy at the local convenience store.

Aside from the main hall, there are two wings to the bath house that can be renovated which include more tubs for spirits to soak in.

In order to allow spirits to relax at the bath house you’ll first need to have the baths repaired.

 Inspirations

A variety of games and animations have inspired the creation of Spirittea.

Spirittea is the accumulation of many things that I love.  The game is heavily influenced by the time I spent living in Asia as well as by memorable games and shows that I’ve enjoyed.  Spirited Away is an obvious inspiration, as is My Neighbor Totoro.  Game influences include Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.  A few other inspirations are anime titles such as Natsume’s Book of Friends and Barakamon.  Please note, I’m not comparing my game to any of these wonderful works, merely that they are things I enjoy and have certainly helped shape the game I am making.

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