Al and Jonnie talk about Spirittea


00:00:00: Theme Tune
00:00:30: Intro
00:02:00: What Have We Been Up To
00:12:14: News
00:36:07: Spirittea
01:09:46: Outro

Littlelands Publisher
Lily Leapers Speedrun
Slime Rancher 2 Update
One Lonely Outpost Update
Moonstone Island Update
Spirittea Future Updates
Coral Island PS5 Keys Delay
Loddlenaut Charity Donations
Above Snakes on GoG
Little Known Galaxy


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(0:00:30) Al: Hello farmers and welcome to another episode of the harvest season. My name is Al And we are here today to talk about cottagecore games Welcome Johnny, how you doing?
(0:00:44) Jonnie: Whoo!
(0:00:46) Jonnie: I am tired. I have been moving countries, and it’s a lot. I would not recommend doing it that frequently.
(0:00:57) Jonnie: I mean, depends which country you’re currently in.
(0:00:58) Al: or ever really. That’s true, that’s very true.
(0:01:10) Al: Cool. We, so I get the transcripts are available in the show notes on the website as usual.
(0:01:18) Al: We in this episode, we’re going to talk about Spirit Tea, a new game that has just come out spirit tea spirit tea who knows
(0:01:28) Al: we may we may yet find out we have concluded that we’re probably going to call it spirit tea even though both of us in our heads have called it spirit tea
(0:01:40) Jonnie: I mean, Spirit Tea just rolls off the tongue better, but Spirit Tea is, I guess, what the game is?
(0:01:46) Al: Yeah.
(0:01:46) Al: Well, yeah, yeah, we’ll get to that.
(0:01:53) Al: We’ll get to that.
(0:01:54) Al: So we’re going to talk about spiritity.
(0:01:56) Al: Obviously, we’ve got some news.
(0:01:58) Al: We’ve got lots of exciting news.
(0:02:00) Al: But first of all, Johnny, what have you been up to?
(0:02:04) Jonnie: What have I been up to? Well, I haven’t had a ton of time to game because moving countries takes a lot of time and gaming is a thing that’s very easy to to give up when you’ve got priorities like finding a home. But there was the Nindies showcase last week and there was a few games that kind of came out off the back of that. There’s been some really good indie games that have been released recently and so I’ve kind of been trying a few. I tried Backpack Hero.
(0:02:10) Al: Shocking.
(0:02:11) Al: Hmm.
(0:02:34) Jonnie: Which is okay. Don’t love it yet. I feel like the onboarding experience has not been great. And so I bounced off that quickly because I just don’t have brain space to kind of figure stuff out that’s not obvious. It could be really good. I like the system. The system feels very similar to Slay the Spire.
(0:03:01) Jonnie: But instead of a deck of cards…
(0:03:04) Jonnie: …to a building a backpack of stuff and the location of stuff in the backpack matters.
(0:03:08) Jonnie: Which is cool.
(0:03:10) Al: yeah to me it just looked like an organizational game and I wasn’t I wasn’t really like oh yeah this this really grabs me but I can you know I guess each to their own
(0:03:10) Jonnie: Umm…
(0:03:20) Jonnie: Yeah, I would say if anyone out there enjoyed Slay the Spire, then I think this is worth looking at, because the combat is very…
(0:03:28) Jonnie: I mean, they basically just copy and pasted Slay the Spire combat, so…
(0:03:32) Jonnie: Yeah, people who know that will be into it, but the thing that I have been playing that has grabbed me is Cacun.
(0:03:42) Jonnie: So Cacun is like an indie puzzle game, I guess I would describe it as.
(0:03:51) Jonnie: For me, the most amazing thing about this game is you just start playing, there is no, like,
(0:03:57) Jonnie: thing that appears on the screen that says “Press this button to do this thing”, so there’s no tutorial,
(0:04:03) Jonnie: there’s no onboarding experience. The onboarding is that the game is really, really, really well designed,
(0:04:08) Jonnie: and it’s just super intuitive what to do at any point in time, even though some of the stuff that you do is pretty brain-breaking. It’s amazing. It’s like, the first…
(0:04:21) Jonnie: you know, like, maybe half an hour of it, and it has been an incredible half hour of gameplay.
(0:04:27) Al: interesting I haven’t haven’t played I haven’t really seen any footage of it either but I did see that it’s up for a game award um so I guess it can’t be can’t be too bad
(0:04:37) Jonnie: It is not too bad. In fact, I would hesitate to say it is very very good.
(0:04:41) Jonnie: And I think even if it’s not the sort of thing that you know you’re super interested in,
(0:04:49) Jonnie: I think there’s something in the way this game starts and onboards you that more games,
(0:04:57) Jonnie: maybe even one that we’re going to talk about later today, really need to take a lesson from.
(0:05:04) Al: That’s the thing we keep harping on on this podcast is you’re onboarding, your tutorial really matters and you can do good ones, you can do bad ones. I think it’s very hard to do a really well-designed game so you don’t have to explain anything to people, but I do think that sometimes people over it.
(0:05:20) Jonnie: I totally agree, right? Because to me, this is a relatively simple game in terms of how you play it.
(0:05:27) Jonnie: You know, in terms of the buttons you need to press on those sorts of things.
(0:05:30) Jonnie: So they could get very clean with their onboarding experience.
(0:05:36) Jonnie: But this is the sort of thing that should be held out there.
(0:05:38) Jonnie: It’s like every game is aspiring to onboard its players in a way that’s as seamless as Cocoon.
(0:05:44) Jonnie: And it’s kind of one of those ambitions that most games won’t be able to achieve,
(0:05:49) Jonnie: but should still be holding out there of the sun.
(0:05:50) Jonnie: This is what best looks like.
(0:05:54) Al: I can’t tell you how many games I’ve fallen off of within the first half an hour, because it’s just so hard to get into games sometimes, and you just end up going like, “I just can’t be bothered learning something new. Let me go play Stardew again.”
(0:06:08) Jonnie: Yep. I bet that’s the thing, right? That first half hour of your game is the most important.
(0:06:13) Jonnie: Because that’s when people decide if they want to keep playing it or not.
(0:06:16) Jonnie: And it’s it’s weird. Like you’ve got to make sure it’s the most fun.
(0:06:19) Jonnie: And it’s it’s the biggest downfall when you play a game and you’re like,
(0:06:21) Jonnie: “I’m sure there’s something fun here, but I just can’t be bothered finding it.”
(0:06:25) Al: Yeah, and I guess the thing about not to go down too much a deep rabbit hole, but thinking back to Stardew. Stardew didn’t go like, “Oh, grab this tool and hit this button.” No, it says,
(0:06:39) Al: “Grow some turnips,” and you have to figure out what that means. It says, “Meet some villagers,”
(0:06:43) Al: and you have to figure out what that means. There’s little bits and pieces, but there’s not that kind of, “Oh, as you say, this button does that, this button does that,” right? You just
(0:06:53) Jonnie: You figure it out, yeah.
(0:06:55) Jonnie: So other than that, I’ve still been snapping up a storm.
(0:06:58) Jonnie: Continuing to hit Infinite every season.
(0:07:01) Jonnie: Did another Infinite Conquest, so I now have the Rock Avatar with the Cool Border.
(0:07:08) Jonnie: And I still really, really like that game. It’s really good.
(0:07:11) Jonnie: Have you been snapping at all, Al?
(0:07:13) Al: I picked the game back up again yesterday, after probably like a month and a half. I’m really bad at like, you know, I struggle to kind of just go through periods of time to actually do it every day. Because I guess the thing about Snap is that it’s hard to do just like, “Oh, I’ll just play for half an hour here and then do it again in two weeks,”
(0:07:34) Al: right? Because you’ve got to keep up. You don’t, like, it’s not like it’s not fun, but if you want to actually do stuff, you’ve got to keep up to date with things.
(0:07:43) Al: Especially if you want to do any of the season passes, right? You’ve got to say, “Right,
(0:07:46) Al: I’m going to play this month.” You know, not necessarily every day, not necessarily all the time, but I’m going to be playing at least every couple of days for this month
(0:07:56) Jonnie: yeah absolutely that’s what I’ve been up to what have you been up to
(0:08:01) Al: So I go back into Fall Guys again. I was always enjoying that game, especially because Craig likes to watch me play it, so that’s good fun. I go back into Coral Island just as Spirit Tea was coming out, Coral Island decided to release their 1.0 and what can I say, I really like Coral Island. I feel like Coral Island has hit that point where, for me, it’s just
(0:08:31) Al: me. It is at least as good as Stardew Valley, if not better. Obviously, it’s trying to be that. It’s trying to do all of the things in the same way that Stardew was trying to be Harvest Moon, but it’s trying to do it in different ways as well. I think it’s got to the point where it’s doing enough different things that you feel like you’re not just playing just Stardew with a different skin. It also just happens to look really nice as well.
(0:08:58) Jonnie: That sounds kind of amazing. I feel like Coral Island is creeping further and further up my list of games I need to try.
(0:09:05) Al: Yeah, definitely. I think if people like farming sims and you want to try - if you like Stardew Valley but you’re like “maybe let’s try something different” it is a really good one to try.
(0:09:20) Al: It does things really well. Everything is nice. The characters - it’s the first one a long time that I felt like I actually care about some of the characters and I’m trying to figure out which one I want to romance because there’s so many good ones and that sort of stuff and like there’s a mystery in the game that
(0:09:35) Al: actually feels like it makes sense and you want to learn more about it rather than just like, “Oh, there’s a dark secret.” No, that’s, you know, it’s trying to be interesting and it’s succeeding and there’s extra bits and pieces as well on top of your standard farming sim, right? So it’s not just Stardew Valley with a different skin. I’m really enjoying it. And I started playing Sonic Frontiers and I’m probably going to stop playing for of Sonic Frontiers.
(0:10:02) Al: I’d like okay
(0:10:05) Al: I know you don’t like Sonic games, that’s fine, no one’s gonna try and make you, but my prob-
(0:10:06) Jonnie: What? That’s never an opinion I’ve expressed.
(0:10:11) Al: Not at all, never, definitely not. The problem is, right, I really, really like 2D Sonic games,
(0:10:24) Al: right? I really enjoy them, but I’ve never enjoyed a 3D Sonic game. Well, I guess at an exception of generations which married.
(0:10:35) Al: So I just really, I just really struggle with every single one. So it’s like, I mean, there are some things that it does really well.
(0:11:05) Al: I like how it looks and I like a lot of the ideas that they’ve done.
(0:11:09) Al: But my word, just the momentum is terrible and the controls are not great, just it’s not I’m not enjoying.
(0:11:16) Jonnie: Yeah, it’s a shame when games have like sort of that thing that they do really well and then they keep trying to make You know, it’s kind of like they keep trying to make a fetch happen, right?
(0:11:27) Jonnie: And it’s just like maybe Sonic’s are just stick to what it knows which is apparently 2d side-scrolling games like those are the ones that people seem to generally like a lot more And I don’t know why they keep trying to make three games happen
(0:11:40) Al: Yeah, yeah, it’s a difficult one. I mean I guess some people must like
(0:11:48) Jonnie: Uh, no, Sonic fans are just like beaten down and they keep buying it in the hopes that it will be good.
(0:11:53) Al: Yeah, yeah. You’re getting at me here. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know, man. Should we go get some news? Little Lands finally has a publisher and is apparently coming
(0:11:56) Jonnie: And it never is, but equally they never learn the lesson.
(0:12:23) Al: mid 2024. I guess you would describe this as like a farming sim with the aesthetics of Zelda, what’s it called? Sleepy game, game where he’s asleep. Zelda, the dream of a fish.
(0:12:32) Jonnie: I’ve been trying to think of the name for like the last… yeah um… Link’s Awakening, there we go.
(0:12:38) Jonnie: Spoilers for a 30-year-old game.
(0:12:39) Al: Link’s Awakening, that’s it. Zelda’s in the dreams of the fish. It’s funny. Look, I’m sorry. If you’ve not played that game, it’s not that big a spoiler.
(0:12:54) Jonnie: I mean, the title almost gives away that ending.
(0:12:58) Al: Yeah. So that’s how I would describe this game. Is that fair? Cool.
(0:13:04) Jonnie: Yep. I mean, it has that aesthetic, like it looks like a fun world to run around and explore,
(0:13:13) Jonnie: but I don’t get a strong sense of like, does this game actually look fun to play or not?
(0:13:20) Jonnie: I don’t know, I just don’t know that I have seen enough of the gameplay to really get a strong sense of is there anything beyond just looking like Link’s Awakening?
(0:13:27) Al: Yeah, that’s fair. Yeah, that’s fair. It does look a lot more kind of explorationy than I had initially thought when they, you know, because I’ve been following this since they first posted screenshots. And back then it was very much like, “Oh, this is like a life sim.” And now it’s very much like, explore a world brimming with secrets. Like it’s more than a life sim.
(0:13:54) Jonnie: Yeah, from this trailer that they’ve put out, like 90% of it seems to be focused on exploration, rather than life sim.
(0:14:07) Jonnie: I do not get strong life sim vibes from what they’re currently showing.
(0:14:10) Al: No. It’ll be interesting to see what it actually ends up like, but I guess games can change quite a bit as you go through them, so we’ll keep an eye on it.
(0:14:22) Jonnie: Yeah, I love the aesthetic. I was a big fan of how Link’s Awakening looked and had a really good time playing that, so it’s at least interesting to me.
(0:14:32) Al: Yeah, I really, just as a side note, I really like what they did with the remake of Link’s Awakening. I think it was such a good balance of being the same but also being different that a lot of remakes miss, I thought.
(0:14:46) Jonnie: Yeah, me too. I think anytime when you see a remake and they put the faithful remake label around it, you’re just like, “I don’t know that that’s going to be good.”
(0:14:56) Jonnie: I want to see a remake that takes some lessons from how game development has matured, and I feel like Link’s Awakening is a perfect example of doing exactly that.
(0:15:09) Jonnie: Also, if you want to see some wild stuff, watch Link’s Awakening speedruns.
(0:15:16) Jonnie: do some crazy things in that game.
(0:15:16) Al: Oh no. Speedruns just in general just stress me out with the crazy things that people do.
(0:15:23) Al: Like have you seen Fall Guy speedruns?
(0:15:27) Al: Oh my words. Oh my word. You need to go and Google the Lily Leapers speedrun. I’ll think a link in the show notes but there’s a Lily Leapers speedrun is absolutely insane.
(0:15:28) Jonnie: No, but now I really want to do that, because I bet those are amazing. I think… yeah, the-
(0:15:45) Al: like I don’t know how.
(0:15:46) Al: They manage to do what they do.
(0:15:49) Al: It’s just wild like this thing that normally takes like a minute and a half to do.
(0:15:54) Al: They did in like 18 seconds.
(0:15:56) Jonnie: incredible. is there a speedrun of the what’s the level that I hated or when it first when the game first came out there’s like that mountain that you’re running up and there’s the the goo that’s rising with you fall mountain yeah oh yeah slime climb slime climb that song yeah I want to see someone do that in a way that’s super broken so bet they can just like bounce off all the obstacles
(0:16:06) Al: Oh yeah, Fall Mountain.
(0:16:08) Al: Oh, Slame Claim is the one where the goo comes out.
(0:16:20) Al: 26 seconds. They’re like, you know, jumping on. I do, there’s a few things. Oh, they’ve got,
(0:16:28) Al: it’s a specific slime climb with like, specific obstacles that allow you to like, jump on things.
(0:16:36) Al: Oh, that’s wild. And then they hit themselves over with the big yetis. Oh, that’s crazy.
(0:16:41) Jonnie: I love the big eaters.
(0:16:41) Al: Everything has to go, I know, everything has to go right for this exact speed run.
(0:16:43) Jonnie: Those are the best speedruns where there’s that little bit of like, you know, there’s the skill and there’s that little bit of RNG and built into it as well.
(0:16:56) Al: I got I’ve got to the point now where I can do slime climb every time. I never die on it now,
(0:17:01) Al: but I’m not like, you know, 26 seconds fast.
(0:17:05) Al: Speaking of slime, slime rancher 2, the rain or slime update 0.3 is out now. Can I just, I just,
(0:17:17) Al: this I know I harp on about version numbers, right? But it’s slime rancher 2 version 0.3.
(0:17:24) Al: Why are we doing this?
(0:17:26) Al: Why, why, why? Just why, why?
(0:17:30) Jonnie: No, I’m with you, like, it’s silly.
(0:17:34) Jonnie: We need some standardisation.
(0:17:37) Jonnie: One, one, I think this is why this looks right, where it’s like,
(0:17:41) Jonnie: just make things clearer, right? If all games did things the same way,
(0:17:45) Jonnie: what they’re trying to communicate would actually be clear.
(0:17:48) Jonnie: But because everyone’s just made up random numbers, it’s not clear what this means.
(0:17:53) Jonnie: So don’t even put the numbers with it, just say we are still in beta and we don’t have like interior patch notes.
(0:18:00) Al: Well, this is a thing because everybody seems to name their updates as well.
(0:18:03) Al: This is the “Come Rain or Slime” update.
(0:18:05) Al: You don’t need to give it a number as well.
(0:18:07) Jonnie: Yes, exactly, exactly.
(0:18:08) Al: Like, obviously, behind the scenes,
(0:18:10) Jonnie: I’m with you on this one now.
(0:18:11) Al: it needs to have a number because of all the updates, blah, blah, blah, blah.
(0:18:14) Al: I don’t care. That’s fine.
(0:18:15) Al: Put it in, but you don’t have to call it that, right?
(0:18:18) Al: Like, it literally at the top says “Come Rain or Slime, patch 0.3.0 notes.”
(0:18:24) Al: You don’t need to do that.
(0:18:25) Al: Just go with it.
(0:18:28) Al: Also, right, minor.
(0:18:30) Al: Minor major gripe, so they call this a major update, right?
(0:18:35) Al: In my world, a three digit version number, a major update is the first version.
(0:18:41) Al: The first number, not the second of the second number is minor.
(0:18:43) Al: And the third number is patch, right?
(0:18:45) Al: Get with it. We have a standard for this already.
(0:18:48) Al: Semantic versioning.
(0:18:49) Al: Game designers need to get back on semantic versioning.
(0:18:51) Al: It is good. It works. Go with it.
(0:18:54) Jonnie: I co-slime this rant.
(0:18:56) Jonnie: What is the “Come Rain” or slime update actually about?
(0:19:00) Jonnie: I feel like Slime Rancher is one of those things that I am.
(0:19:02) Al: Oh, I don’t know. There’s weather. There’s weather in it.
(0:19:06) Al: I just…
(0:19:08) Jonnie: So I’m gathering that neither of us are at least Slime Rancher people, and there’s an update, and there’s stuff in it, and maybe if you like Slime Rancher you probably know, and if you don’t, it’s still not 1.0, so maybe just chill.
(0:19:09) Al: So there’s new slimes and there’s a new weather system,
(0:19:22) Al: and that’s about it. But also when I say new slimes, what I mean is new slimes that were in in the first game.
(0:19:30) Jonnie: Oh great, so we’re back to- okay. I feel like the more I hear the less I’m interested in Slime Ranch and I was already not in a great place to be interested in Slime Ranch.
(0:19:34) Al: I just…
(0:19:38) Al: I have the first version of Slime Rancher on my Switch, but I haven’t played it yet.
(0:19:44) Al: I like the look of the game. It looks nice, and I love all the slimes with their derpy faces on them.
(0:19:52) Al: But it’s a lot to make.
(0:19:57) Jonnie: Yep, yep, there’s just a lot of good that’s out there, right, and this is this is just one that for whatever reason for us is clearly not hitting.
(0:20:06) Al: we go next? One lonely outpost. They have a new update. It’s not a massive update, so I don’t normally talk about small updates like this, but they have included one feature that every game needs to have. You need to have this. They have toggled running, so you don’t have to hold down the run button. You press the run button and now you’re running, and then you press it to stop running. Every game needs to have this. Please and thank you.
(0:20:28) Jonnie: I thought you were talking about the fact that Roast Carrot no longer has a special effect.
(0:20:32) Jonnie: But no, you’re right. The…
(0:20:36) Al: What does that mean?
(0:20:38) Jonnie: You just got like…
(0:20:38) Al: What is the special effect that it no longer has?
(0:20:42) Al: Ugh.
(0:20:44) Jonnie: You’re totally right. The run being an option, or like a toggleable thing… toggleable?
(0:20:54) Jonnie: Rather than holding down a button is nice.
(0:20:56) Al: a toggle because I mean we’ll get on to we’ll get on to yeah the the the art style does seem still really weird compared to the initial ones they did but anyway that’s beside the point I was especially we’ll get back we’ll get on to spirit tea later but I was especially annoyed and having to hold down one button and spirit tea because it’s like such a slow movement anyway and it’s I’m so fed up.
(0:21:00) Jonnie: But this game still weirds me out. I don’t know.
(0:21:26) Al: Why do we have running and walking? Just give me the fastest speed that you’re willing to give me, just give me that. I don’t need anything else. I don’t need to go slow. Nobody cares. Make me go fast.
(0:21:36) Jonnie: I totally agree. It feels like one of those things that’s built-in as an option, but the option doesn’t mean anything because, like, is there a benefit to walking?
(0:21:46) Jonnie: No. Okay, so I will just run all of the time, which means I just have to hold down this button all of the time, which is stupid.
(0:21:51) Jonnie: So like, the one thing one lonely-out-personnel needs to do is remove walking. Because why would you walk?
(0:21:56) Al: Yeah, yeah. There’s a lot of other updates in this as well. We’re not going to go through them. We’ll have the link in the show notes if you want to see all those updates. Moonstone Island is coming to Switch in Spring 2024. This was one of the things that was announced in the Nindies update.
(0:22:18) Jonnie: Yeah, cool.
(0:22:20) Jonnie: I feel like I’ve forgotten which one Moonstone Island is in this slew of absurd games that are coming out.
(0:22:27) Al: Yeah, so this one is the Creature Collection one on our series of floating sky islands.
(0:22:36) Jonnie: that’s right and this is the one where that has like quite strong RPG elements from the looks of it and it just feels like every time I see this one they’ve got another thing that’s kind of like in at the moment because it’s got the card based combat now and it kind of feels like word salad of like all of the pop
(0:22:52) Al: It’s like they got a tom bowler full of different things that you can describe your game as and they pulled out 10 of them.
(0:23:04) Jonnie: yep yep I mean cool that it’s coming to switch I don’t know this one’s particularly high on my you know anticipation bliss
(0:23:13) Al: I really like the look of it, and I think I do want to play it at some point, but yeah,
(0:23:17) Al: I don’t know when. Because the problem is, right, with every game you’ve got to play,
(0:23:21) Al: you’ve got to demote a different game. Like, you can’t play every game. So, it’s like,
(0:23:26) Al: which game is this going to take the place of? I don’t know. Just now, I’m just going to play
(0:23:32) Jonnie: That sounds amazing. I’m not mad about that.
(0:23:36) Jonnie: They also have a patch for Moonstar Island.
(0:23:40) Jonnie: I don’t know if there’s anything exciting in the patch notes, but they have…
(0:23:42) Al: Oh yeah. There’s one thing exciting, and that’s… no. No, that wasn’t what I was going to say.
(0:23:47) Jonnie: Is that they have difficulty for fishing?
(0:23:51) Jonnie: I just like the idea that fishing is often…
(0:23:59) Jonnie: you know, as fishing month that we did sort of show.
(0:24:02) Jonnie: It’s quite divisive in terms of what people like or don’t like, or you know, the stardew valley fishing, right?
(0:24:07) Jonnie: Some people really like the challenge, some people really hate it.
(0:24:10) Jonnie: And so I think having the ability to scale your difficulty for that one in particular because it’s often one of the few more dexterity or skill-based things in cottagecore games I think is a really good accessibility.
(0:24:24) Al: Yeah, yeah, I don’t I don’t disagree.
(0:24:26) Al: That’s a good a good point.
(0:24:28) Al: Now, the thing that I was really excited about is they’ve added a new gardening tool, the Boomerang.
(0:24:35) Al: Who expected the Boomerang to be a gardening tool?
(0:24:37) Jonnie: So wait, how do you farm using a boomerang, Al?
(0:24:41) Jonnie: I really want to hate that, but I actually think that’s kind of amazing.
(0:24:42) Al: So it’s for it’s for cutting down crops.
(0:24:49) Jonnie: As a way of doing the, you know, “Hey, your scythe or whatever can extend in a distance.”
(0:24:55) Jonnie: Actually just throw a boomerang and it will just cut them all down.
(0:24:59) Jonnie: That’s a cool idea.
(0:24:59) Al: Yeah. It’s great, isn’t it? I feel like maybe I feel like I need to make a joke about you being in Australia now and now liking a boomerang thing. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with that.
(0:25:09) Jonnie: Yes, I feel like you do. Go.
(0:25:12) Jonnie: Listeners, make up your own joke and then present our set-up.
(0:25:20) Al: My problem is that I quite often have like good ideas for jokes, but I’ve never good on the execution of them, so I just like bring up the idea I have, and then sometimes people chuckle at it and I go “Comedy!”
(0:25:36) Jonnie: I mean, look, if you get a laugh, right, that’s all you need.
(0:25:43) Al: It’s deconstruction of jokes, right?
(0:25:45) Al: That’s what it is.
(0:25:46) Jonnie: Yep, I’m just serving you the idea of a joke, not the actual joke itself.
(0:25:53) Al: Still better than a lot of comedians.
(0:25:57) Jonnie: I’m now just imagining a comedy club where it’s just people talking about their ideas for jokes, and like, no actual jokes.
(0:26:02) Al: It’s like a, well, I’m thinking of more like an AA meeting for people who like just can’t stop thinking about ideas for jokes, but they can’t actually make them into jokes.
(0:26:03) Jonnie: Like, I feel like it’s maybe just an improv workshop.
(0:26:23) Al: This morning I had three ideas for jokes, but I couldn’t fully farm them.
(0:26:24) Jonnie: Who’s yours?
(0:26:32) Al: Oh, I mean, isn’t that basically just sketch shows, right?
(0:26:34) Jonnie: No, I think sketch shows are ideas for jokes that are then badly executed.
(0:26:35) Al: Sketch shows are just ideas for jokes.
(0:26:44) Al: This is a boomerang. So, Spirit Tea have detailed their upcoming stuff. It’s not really a roadmap.
(0:26:50) Jonnie: Alright-ish.
(0:27:03) Al: It’s not as fully functioning and concrete as that, but there’s a list of things that want to change, including some bugs and stuff.
(0:27:14) Al: So I’ve got a list of that in the show notes.
(0:27:17) Al: There’s nothing particularly I think we need to bring up,
(0:27:22) Jonnie: No, it’s all relatively… It’s very bug focused, I would say.
(0:27:22) Al: but good that they’re looking into it.
(0:27:25) Al: Yes, yeah, yeah.
(0:27:30) Al: What’s next? Sorry, half asleep.
(0:27:32) Jonnie: What or not?
(0:27:32) Al: Coral Island.
(0:27:34) Jonnie: What?
(0:27:34) Al: No, Coral Island.
(0:27:36) Jonnie: Oh yeah, we have a Carlisle other one. Sorry, I skipped that. I skipped that.
(0:27:38) Al: I missed one. Come on.
(0:27:41) Al: Carl Island. There are PS5 keys.
(0:27:44) Al: Apparently, there was an issue getting the PS5 keys for backers on Kickstarter, so too bad. I guess you’ll get it, son. I guess we’re in the quick fire around here, so we’ve got Laudenot as well. They’ve said they’re going to donate to charity for each sale. So that’s good. Yes. And above
(0:28:04) Jonnie: That’s great, and I love saying “lot or not”. “Lot or not”. It’s a very fun mouthfeel.
(0:28:14) Al: snakes are now available on GOG. So if you wanted that. Now you might say, “Oh, just another sale.” Well, the good thing about GOG compared to other games shops is that they are DRM free. So you can now get the game without
(0:28:35) Jonnie: And it’s always weird to see a Steam store page about advertising that you’re available for sale on another platform.
(0:28:40) Al: That’s a good point, I hadn’t even noticed that.
(0:28:47) Al: And finally there’s a new game that’s been announced called Little Known Galaxy. I’ll just read out the little blurb for this one. Join Space Alliance as a new captain in training and work with your crew to solve the mysteries of an ancient relic found on the grey planet.
(0:29:05) Al: Little Known Galaxy is a cosy single player RPG space adventure full of friendly characters exploration, crafting, and farming.
(0:29:14) Jonnie: So, this one confused me because it had similar vibes to another game that we’ve talked about on the show that I can’t remember the name of, where I think you’re like a delivery person in space.
(0:29:26) Al: Oh yes, Starstruck Vagabond.
(0:29:26) Jonnie: That’s the one. Yes, I couldn’t think of the name of it.
(0:29:34) Jonnie: So it just feels like space is now the new thing for Cozy Games.
(0:29:40) Jonnie: also it is the final frontier
(0:29:40) Al: is the final frontier. There’s some stuff that takes away the fumes and deals with it.
(0:29:44) Jonnie: also this person is building a fireplace in their spaceship and I don’t know how I feel about that
(0:29:55) Al: Magic. Wow. Science. I think the thing about space games is that I suspect they’re really hard to do well, but there’s also a lot of potential in them if you…
(0:29:56) Jonnie: okay uh… I mean it looks cool
(0:30:11) Jonnie: Yeah, I mean like one of the things I am liking from what I’m seeing in the trailer for Little Known Galaxy is like rather than having seasons you just have different planets is the impression that the game is giving off, right?
(0:30:25) Jonnie: Because presumably you won’t have seasons on your spaceship because you can entirely regulate the temperature and everything in there but then if you go to, you know, an ice planet or whatever you could get more varied sort of places.
(0:30:41) Jonnie: where you’re doing stuff which seems kind of…
(0:30:44) Al: Yeah. I feel like I suspect… I wonder whether… I mean, I’m just watching this trailer for the first time, but I wonder whether you make your ship bigger or whether it’s always the same size and you just kind of get new things to fill it with. Because there are different bits that look smaller and bigger, but maybe they’re just different parts.
(0:31:06) Jonnie: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to tell. It seemed like there was sort of one main zone that they showed in the trailer where all of your automation and buildings and stuff are going, so I could see that being a space that you expand over time.
(0:31:21) Jonnie: You know, it’s one of the cool things about spaceships is you can presumably just add more to it, add more space, so…
(0:31:30) Al: I like the look of this. I think I like the art.
(0:31:32) Jonnie: I also really like to look at this.
(0:31:36) Jonnie: When I saw that it was a new game, I was a little bit like, “Really? Do we need another thing that’s doing this thing?”
(0:31:43) Jonnie: And then watching the trailer, I was like, “Actually, I think I’m kind of into this. The art style’s really… it’s good without being too much the same as a Stardew Valley.
(0:31:54) Jonnie: It’s definitely inspired by, but it does have its own distinct visual style.
(0:31:59) Jonnie: And I think the trailer does a really good job of showing off the sorts of different places that you’ll be going in the course of this game.
(0:32:06) Jonnie: And it’s very vibrant, right? It looks quite good.
(0:32:10) Jonnie: And the shot that they show of the main zone looks kind of like a lot of automation-y sort of stuff, which is appealing.
(0:32:18) Al: think what I really like about the art style is it feels like it’s in this sort of same style as Asnes or a Game Boy or Game Boy Advance game and that sort of thing but it doesn’t feel dated like it feels like the graphics are like if we were doing that now right like they feel a lot you know they’re higher fidelity sprites and stuff like that so it feels like I mean I still like Stardew and I I still like what it does, but…
(0:32:48) Al: The sprites sometimes feel a little bit dated in them, which I know is kind of the point,
(0:32:55) Al: but I like how this is doing the same feeling of that, but with modern sprites, if that makes sense.
(0:33:02) Jonnie: It totally does. I think that’s a really good description of what it is. It feels like, you know, this is inspired by that statue art style, but it’s kept up with modern times where Star Trek is a little bit more of a callback to the past and it’s been replicated so many times now, it like feels tired, right?
(0:33:20) Jonnie: If you see that exact style replicated in another game, you kind of just, ugh, like, it’s fine, but it’s not like a great art style that absolutely needs to be copied 100%.
(0:33:31) Jonnie: like this feels like it’s
(0:33:32) Jonnie: doing a modern take on that which you know also makes sense because it’s a space game so you know a more up-to-date art style definitely makes sense.
(0:33:46) Al: I think it’s going to be interesting to see what they do because I suspect travel will take time and that’s why there’s lots of things to do on the ship and that’s where, you know,
(0:33:55) Al: between travelling, between planets to do your RPG part of it is where you do your farming and your crafting and kind of keeping up with things and that gives you stuff to do while still having that sort of vaguely realistic travel aspect of things.
(0:34:12) Jonnie: Yeah, I suspect you’re right and one of the things that I’ve seen in the in a trailer that kind of is appealing is In the center of what looks like some of the crops is a fan rather than a sprinkler and The reason that makes me excited is they just haven’t said like okay So just grow crops on your ship and it’s just traditional farming mechanics in space like no idea what the fan is doing or what purpose it serves but it just at least to me is saying hey we are we have
(0:34:42) Jonnie: about what it is that we are doing in our own location and it’s not just a direct copy and paste of the mechanics you’ve seen in every other game but space I have no idea but that’s just yeah
(0:34:52) Al: What are those doing? That’s interesting. Yeah, there’s lots of other bits and pieces like there’s clearly a bit that is where you’re generating water. There’s some different looking trees. You’ve got a little robot that’s been going around. There’s some interesting looking chests. There’s greenhouses within this area as well, which presumably means that you can set greenhouses to like specific temperates stuff like that
(0:35:22) Jonnie: Yeah, the whole thing just looks really well thought out, so I’m excited to learn more about this.
(0:35:28) Al: Yeah, yeah, it definitely doesn’t feel like farming is kind of bolted on. It feels like they’ve thought a lot about that, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes.
(0:35:35) Al: All right.
(0:35:35) Jonnie: And they don’t have anything in terms of release date do they? Sorry, just…
(0:35:37) Al: Uh, that’s a good question. They’ve said coming soon.
(0:35:39) Jonnie: I haven’t s-
(0:35:44) Jonnie: So, coming soon, so stay tuned to future episodes for more updates, ‘cause I will have them when they come.
(0:35:52) Al: Yep. And they’ve said they’re coming on Windows and Mac. So Cody will be happy. Just check their website to see if there’s anything. They don’t have a website. Right. Moving on then. That’s the news.
(0:36:04) Jonnie: Woo-hoo!
(0:36:05) Al: So we’re going to talk about Spirit Tea. So I guess quick intro. So this is a game.
(0:36:17) Al: They describe it as stardew crossed with spirited away. And.
(0:36:22) Al: The the overall idea is you are you’ve moved into a town as you do. You’re always moving somewhere and you have you drink some special tea called the spirit tea. And this allows you to see spirits that are caught in your world and the spirits basically tell you that you have to run the bathhouse, the old bathhouse, which is a spirit bathhouse, which for some reason you can see the the spirits in the bathhouse but we’ll get to that.
(0:36:52) Al: So that’s the game, you’re running this bathhouse, the spirits come in and you make sure that they’re happy in the bathhouse.
(0:37:00) Al: And that’s how you make the money.
(0:37:02) Al: And there’s lots of other things around expanding things and blah blah blah blah blah.
(0:37:07) Al: But that’s kind of like the main, it’s not farming game, it is our bathhouse running.
(0:37:15) Jonnie: I was wondering, because this was announced a long time ago I feel, right?
(0:37:20) Jonnie: Was this one of the first games that was sort of like talked about from a news perspective on the harvest season? Because it’s one of the first ones I sort of was- when I went to play it I was like “Man, I remember this being announced years ago!” So I was just curious if this was- if you remember if this was one of the first games that was sort of talked about from a news perspective.
(0:37:42) Al: I do not remember, but I am currently searching because I have everything so I can search.
(0:37:48) Al: The first time we talked about it was in June 2022.
(0:37:54) Jonnie: What? My timeline is totally messed up, then.
(0:37:56) Al: Covid broke us all.
(0:37:58) Jonnie: Right.
(0:38:00) Al: Sorry.
(0:38:02) Al: Sorry.
(0:38:02) Jonnie: Anyway, now that I’ve taken this totally off track…
(0:38:06) Jonnie: Before we talk too much about the detail of the game, where are you at?
(0:38:14) Jonnie: Are you thumbs up, thumbs in the middle, thumbs to be determined?
(0:38:19) Al: So, I think this is a really - so there are some issues with this game, obviously, every game has some bugs and some issues, blah, blah, blah - but I think overall, I think this is a really nice game if it catches you.
(0:38:35) Al: Now, I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that’s going to grab me, like Stardew Valley did, like Coral Island did, like Summer in Mara did, like some other games have.
(0:38:49) Al: But I don’t think that’s a - I mean, ignoring, like we’ll talk about the onboarding because obviously we have some stuff to talk about that.
(0:38:58) Al: But I think other than that, I don’t think there’s like a fundamental “this is why I’m not jiving with this game as much as I normally would.”
(0:39:07) Al: I don’t know whether it’s, you know, maybe I’m being unfair to it because I’m playing Coral Island just now as well and that’s kind of where I’m, you know, my brain is wanting me to go so maybe that’s part of it.
(0:39:19) Al: And I’m just going, “Oh, I just want to be playing ‘Coddle Island’ just now.”
(0:39:21) Al: But, yeah, there’s something about the gameplay loop of the bathhouse that I’m not finding hugely satisfying.
(0:39:30) Al: But I wouldn’t be surprised if that was our personal preference thing rather than a game design issue.
(0:39:38) Jonnie: Yeah it does because I think I feel fairly similarly to you, but not in a- sometimes you play a game and you’re really just ready to go like thumbs down. I don’t think there’s much,
(0:39:49) Jonnie: you know, good about this game and I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s not where I’m at with Spirity. I just don’t feel like it’s a game for me, but I can totally see there being people that are like “no this is absolutely the game for me” and I really enjoy it, so I think I’m right there
(0:40:06) Al: Yeah, I think because it has that repetitive nature, which is enjoyable for these games,
(0:40:16) Al: but it also has it where you’ve got your upgrades for your bathhouse, so you’re slowly expanding things, so it still manages to have that lit that a lot of farming games have that’s quite satisfying.
(0:40:27) Al: It also has a slight exploration thing in that you are constantly having to find new spirits,
(0:40:34) Al: and there’s it’s
(0:40:36) Al: kind of puzzle-y but not really difficult puzzles right but you get like a little bit like oh here’s a thing here’s a hint towards how you do and then you go to a place that the hint tells you to basically and then you find a spirit and and that that kind of is another different aspect to it that I think could lead to slightly longer term i’m enjoying this because i’m you know slowly building up the list of spirits that i’ve found that also then adds more complexity to the bath path hosted in and of itself.
(0:41:05) Jonnie: Yeah, and one of the things I wonder is the nature of the game and being, you know, running a bathhouse and running the bathhouse requires effort and consistent effort, I guess at least in the early game.
(0:41:21) Jonnie: I wonder if part of the reason it’s not grabbing me is because it didn’t feel like there’s a lot of choice, you know.
(0:41:28) Jonnie: Where you talked about Stardew fairly earlier, where they, you know, you don’t have to do anything but ostensibly you’re picked up the game.
(0:41:35) Jonnie: Because you want to run a farm. And the thing is to grow some parsnips, right? And that doesn’t take your full day to do, you just plant them and water them and then you can work out what else you want to do with the day.
(0:41:49) Jonnie: But it felt like I was very locked into, right, spend my full day at the bathhouse, running the bathhouse.
(0:41:56) Al: Yeah, that’s that’s very fair. Yeah, because that’s that’s one of the things that as you say, certainly many of us on this podcast have really loved about games like Stardew. And I think Coral Island is the same where there’s so much variation in different things you can do. And there’s very little you need to do. And I really like that. But yeah, what is this is like, you have to run the bathrooms, like that’s the game. It’s a it’s a one. It’s a one, you know, I wrote down on the I always on the show notes, I always write down the list of mechanics that we’re going to talk about. And there’s there’s three things there. One of which is the bathhouse. One of which is spirit view, which we’ll talk about later, because that’s that’s that’s where you’re finding the other spirits, right? So it’s like a different thing to the bathhouse. And then I put lol fishing, because for some reason, this game has fishing and I’ve not even tried it because I’m not I’m not doing that. I don’t I don’t want to play fishing, please. And thank you. And I think that’s basically it, right?
(0:42:56) Al: - There isn’t another mechanic. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, like simple games can work really well. And I know a lot of people’s problems with Stardew Valley is I don’t know what to do this too much. And this doesn’t have that issue. It is here is the thing, go and do this thing. But certainly that’s we are not those people, we love Stardew and other games like it because of the choice
(0:43:22) Jonnie: Yeah, because I think my sort of takeaway with the bathhouse is like, “Oh, this is cool,” and maybe we should talk a little more in detail about sort of what the bathhouse is, but my feeling was probably more that, like, in a game with more optionality, I would have gone away and found some other way to make money so I could skip through a few of the things that I didn’t love about how I thought the bathhouse was set up, right? So I could buy some of those early upgrades through another means, but that doesn’t really
(0:43:50) Al: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think that’s totally fair.
(0:43:54) Al: Yeah, let’s talk about the bathhouse mechanics then.
(0:43:56) Al: So the idea is you have these spirits,
(0:44:01) Al: and they come in various different forms,
(0:44:05) Al: and you start off with two of them,
(0:44:07) Al: and then you add them on, and blah, blah, blah.
(0:44:09) Al: The idea is you have,
(0:44:11) Al: so there’s a few different things you need to do in the bathhouse.
(0:44:13) Al: First of all is you need to have towels.
(0:44:15) Al: So you need to get clean towels, clean and dry towels,
(0:44:18) Al: and then you put them at the front.
(0:44:20) Al: The spirit will then grab a towel,
(0:44:21) Al: and you can then take that spirit to a place in the bathhouse.
(0:44:25) Al: And you have, you start out with one bath,
(0:44:27) Al: and you can slowly add more baths.
(0:44:29) Al: And your job is to decide on places for the spirits to go where they have preferences on who they’re sitting next to,
(0:44:39) Al: and you have to make sure that you can lay it out in an efficient way to have the most number of spirits in there as possible, therefore making the most money.
(0:44:50) Al: On top of that, you have to then obviously keep washing and drying the towels,
(0:44:54) Al: and you have to keep the fire in the basement lit for both heating the water and drying the towels.
(0:45:02) Al: Is that a fair description of the mechanics of this?
(0:45:04) Jonnie: Yeah, I think so. There’s not too much to be like, so when you’re chopping the log to fuel the fire or washing the towels, it’s usually just like a, you know, hold A to complete the activity sort of minigames, there’s nothing particularly, you know, there’s no additional aspect to those, you’re kind of just completing the task.
(0:45:29) Al: Yes, the challenge in the Bathhouse is not any of the minigames it’s in. It’s an organisational game.
(0:45:38) Al: You have to figure out the way to be most efficient to make the most money and to not make your spirits upset.
(0:45:46) Jonnie: Yes, and one of the things they do tell you very early on is that it will require trial and error to work out what your spirits do and don’t like, and they kind of guide you that the two spirits you start with don’t like to sit next to each other, which I think is kind of handy because you kind of know to start separating them.
(0:46:08) Jonnie: And then one of the things I think I found is that, because I was just lining up, you red spirits on the left and blue spirits on the right, or… I think they’re red.
(0:46:16) Jonnie: red and blue. And then I think I got too many red spirits all in a line and the ones in the middle started to get less happy.
(0:46:23) Jonnie: So there was clearly some like, you know, it’s not just who do you like sitting next to games, but there’s some bigger context clues going on.
(0:46:30) Jonnie: Bye.
(0:46:32) Al: Yeah. Yeah. So I think that’s probably the main thrust of why I’m not a huge fan is like in my repetitive mechanical nature of a cottagecore game, I’m personally not looking for puzzles.
(0:46:59) Al: Right?
(0:47:00) Al: Like, I don’t…
(0:47:02) Al: This is why I like farming so much. It’s like, this is what you do and if you do the same thing every time it will work the same way and you don’t have to like, you know,
(0:47:11) Al: your seed tells you when it likes to be and you know that it needs water. Right? These things are very clear. I like to know how this works. I like to have the clear rules and I’m not a huge fan of kind of trying to figure these things out. That’s definitely a me thing. I can imagine, like, lots of people love puzzle games so I suspect if you love
(0:47:32) Al: puzzle games and you love puzzle games, that might be where this game is leading to. That might be the kind of person that’s looking to this game.
(0:47:40) Jonnie: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense and I think I’m probably more similar to you, because one of the things I was kind of looking for was like which of these spirits should I prioritize, right?
(0:47:52) Jonnie: Like red spirits may be easier to keep happy but provide this money and blue spirits are, you know, more valuable but maybe they’re harder to keep happy or, you know, what’s the balance so I can make a choice, right?
(0:48:06) Jonnie: I want the puzzle when I play a life-some game. I want the puzzle to be in
(0:48:10) Jonnie: making the choice. Do I want to buy the crop that grows in four days and is less profitable,
(0:48:15) Jonnie: or do I want the one that grows in 20 days but has a much wider profit margin,
(0:48:20) Jonnie: or do I want the thing that recurs over the course of the month? Those sorts of decisions are easier because the outcome is deterministic and the pace that these games move at,
(0:48:31) Jonnie: you kind of need that, right? Because if you got to the end of summer and you found that you’ve made all of the wrong choices based on what you want to do and now you have to wait, you know,
(0:48:40) Jonnie: time before you get back to summer to be able to do those things again, that would be very frustrating. And that’s where I think some of my lack of enjoyment came from when I was playing,
(0:48:50) Jonnie: is just the outcomes of what I was doing wasn’t particular.
(0:48:56) Al: Um, Johnny, are you racially profiling the spirits?
(0:49:00) Al: I mean, it is an interesting thing, right? Because one of the things that they tell you,
(0:49:00) Jonnie: Ah, yes.
(0:49:06) Jonnie: And this will be my last episode on THS.
(0:49:08) Jonnie: I look forward to being cancelled.
(0:49:15) Al: your lovely floating cat on a donut, I think, whatever, one of the things he tells you is that
(0:49:25) Al: You don’t have to ex–
(0:49:26) Al: Except any of the spirits, right? If a spirit comes in and grabs a towel, you can take the towel and put it back at the door and the spirit will go away. Which, I mean, is obviously an important part of the puzzle aspect of things, otherwise you’re like, you could get in a situation where you can’t solve anything, and sometimes the solution is telling this one to go away.
(0:49:46) Al: But just when you make them, like, essentially dead people, it becomes a little bit awkward in terms of like, I’m just gonna tell you to-
(0:49:56) Al: go away now please, don’t come. I don’t want you. Because it’s like, especially one of the things that he says about turning them away is like, he says something along the lines of, if you think they’ll like, you know, cause problems or there’s some- like, I can’t remember the exact word, but like basically have a negative effect on your bath house.
(0:50:14) Al: So it’s like you’re being a bouncer in the bath house, right? Which just seems a little bit- I don’t know.
(0:50:21) Jonnie: Yeah, it feels very uncomfortable, and this one seems like, “I would never want to do that.”
(0:50:27) Jonnie: The whole point of the game of running a bathhouse is meant to be like,
(0:50:30) Jonnie: “I want the spirits to come and use my bathhouse,” and I get the puzzle aspect of being like,
(0:50:35) Jonnie: “Oh, you might want to turn this one away, because you’ve got nowhere for them to go,”
(0:50:38) Jonnie: but that’s just not a feel-good moment, right?
(0:50:41) Jonnie: It’s…
(0:50:42) Al: social anxiety the game but I mean this is the thing we just we keep that all the points that we’re bringing up are very much like yeah this is not for me but I can absolutely see why people would like that right like what makes any particular aspect of life more or less real you know something that is legitimate for a game and just you know just because we are not a huge fan of that doesn’t mean that someone else will-
(0:50:43) Jonnie: Right?
(0:51:12) Jonnie: Yeah, and just on the bathhouse and sort of I think what I Wasn’t grabbed by immediately is the was when you take over the bathhouse It’s obviously very run down you’ve only got one pool as I’ll mentioned and it’s kind of dirty or Sort of cluttered everywhere and it’s yeah seems clearly designed to that’s what you’re supposed to level up and make the bathhouse look nice and there was something that sort of was
(0:51:42) Jonnie: Kind of like of my brain that was kind of like but this is where I want to just kind of come in Having earned a bit of money doing something else and just get a few upgrades. So at least it looks Visually appealing because the starting bathhouse does not grab me Which I had a real problem with
(0:51:54) Al: Yeah.
(0:51:56) Al: There’s like tree roots everywhere.
(0:52:00) Al: There’s dirt and dust and I just want to clean it up.
(0:52:04) Al: Let me do that. Yeah.
(0:52:06) Jonnie: Yeah, even if it was like, you know, it started a little bit worse than what they presented and one of the things you do at the start is just like, tidy it a little bit.
(0:52:14) Jonnie: I think that would have helped me cross a hurdle, but it just looked so messy and I was like, no no, my character would just tidy this place up for like, a week before we even let anybody out.
(0:52:23) Al: Yeah, because you don’t - this is the thing, right? Like, you don’t even need to, like,
(0:52:26) Jonnie: We’re just gonna clean.
(0:52:27) Jonnie: That’s all we need to do.
(0:52:33) Al: upgrade the other baths, right? Or unlock the other rooms or whatever. But, like, at least dust, right? Come on, the entranceway is dusty. Yeah, it is interesting to me that that wasn’t one of the things you can do, because that feels very much like a - like
(0:52:39) Jonnie: Exactly, yep.
(0:52:42) Jonnie: Yup.
(0:52:53) Al: a cottagecore type thing of having menial tasks that you do. And it doesn’t need to be something that you’re doing on a regular basis, but it’s absolutely something that you could be doing.
(0:53:04) Jonnie: Yeah, my assumption is that if you pay somebody to come and clean and then that will make the the spirits happier, which…
(0:53:04) Al: Yeah.
(0:53:12) Jonnie: But I just…
(0:53:13) Jonnie: So this is one of the things, and maybe we can transition this to talking a little bit about the onboarding,
(0:53:18) Jonnie: but it was one of those things that was like, ugh. But in my time with the game, I didn’t even get to see how we would upgrade the bathhouse.
(0:53:28) Jonnie: So I didn’t have that roadmap sort of laid out in front of me, and you know,
(0:53:34) Jonnie: through four or five days, had a couple of days at the bathhouse. So it was…
(0:53:39) Jonnie: The fact that it wasn’t there was a little frustrating, right? And, you know, we’ll do what we always do and compare things back to Stardew. But one of the first things that you inevitably end up doing in Stardew is you visit Piers, and you see the expanded bag on the counter.
(0:53:56) Jonnie: You can’t afford it then, but you know that that’s a thing that you can do and work towards.
(0:54:01) Jonnie: so it’s very clearly laid out as a goal.
(0:54:04) Jonnie: I was very early on and I just didn’t see those goals, like I could intuit what those goals were going to be, but I had no frame of reference of like “so I earned this much money on day 1”
(0:54:14) Jonnie: Is that 10% of what I need towards an upgrade, or is it 1%?
(0:54:19) Al: Yeah, that’s the part because you obviously have an aspect of like you can see that there are other abats with roots growing through them, you can see the stairs with more roots going over them.
(0:54:30) Al: So you’re aware that there’s going to be some upgrades but it takes quite a while for you to actually know anything about how to do them in the first place, never mind how much they cost.
(0:54:39) Al: It is a theoretical thing and it could as well just not exist.
(0:54:46) Jonnie: Exactly. I feel like it was sort of the final part of what I found to be a very frustrating onboard.
(0:54:54) Al: Let’s talk about that onboarding experience then. Tell me your thoughts.
(0:54:58) Jonnie: So the game starts and you arrive in the town and a resident of the town who describes herself as like the grandmother of the town comes and talks at you and talks at you a lot and I’m sure explains some stuff about the game and then starts to make jokes about how much this character is talking which to me is the most frustrating thing that games do is they’re self-aware that they’ve put a bad experience in the game so that
(0:55:28) Jonnie: they make the character joke about it. But all that does is basically tell me that hey,
(0:55:34) Jonnie: we as the game developers are aware that this is bad and not fun and now we’re kind of making jokes about it. And so that happens and then you wake up the next day and a different old woman character comes and talks at you a whole bunch more and it just feels like this endless cycle of NPCs talking at you and then your very first quest is
(0:55:58) Jonnie: to go around and talk to all of the NPCs in the game and none of them have anything really interesting to say. It doesn’t really introduce you to any of the mechanics that are relevant to the game. I’m not even sure how relevant most of the NPCs are to the game.
(0:56:13) Jonnie: So it was just this whole disconnected experience that kind of took, you know, like half an hour before you even start getting into the spirit stuff, which is the reason I picked up the game. It’s just…
(0:56:28) Al: Yeah, so I definitely agree with you. I think the game could get a lot quicker into getting to the actual point of the game, right? Because it’s not just like why you picked it up. It is the mechanic as well. It’s like that this is the point of the game. I do think that I can see why they’ve done some of the things. So it definitely needs to not be just telling you everything upfront. Like that’s a thing that games need to stop doing. Don’t tell
(0:56:28) Jonnie: too much dialogue that’s not relevant to what you’re doing.
(0:56:58) Al: me. Even if you’re going to explain everything to me in detail, do it as I need to know them,
(0:57:02) Al: not all at the front. Because apart from anything, I don’t take anything in that way. Like my brain just can’t handle all that information all at once. And if you give me that information just before I need it, I get the information and then I put it into practice. And that is what has been shown time and time again to keep the information in people’s brains.
(0:57:23) Al: What I think is interesting about the tell, I suspect they want you to go and talk to
(0:57:28) Al: everybody because it shows you where everything is, right? Because after that, the next day,
(0:57:36) Al: you have to go and figure out where some spirits are based on knowing the village and knowing all the different shops or well, knowing one of the shops. And so I suspect go and see all the NPCs. It basically shows you the whole village, right? You go around everywhere to see everybody. I don’t think that’s the best way to do what they did, but I do think that’s why they did it. Why I will say that I have one positive thing about this is that I think the dog that will take you to the other NPCs is a fantastic thing. And I’m really sad that he’s gone now. I want him through the whole gate. I want to be able to find this dog at any point and ask him where any NPC is, please and thank you. I will also say my last point about this. A lot of game games do this where they’re like, “Oh, go and talk to everyone in the village.” Stardew does it. Core Island does it. But the key point that I think Spirity missed is Spirity makes you do it before you can do anything else. Whereas with the other ones, it’s a quest that you can do at your leisure or completely ignore if you don’t care about it.
(0:58:14) Jonnie: It’s so good.
(0:58:46) Jonnie: Exactly, yep, like the fact that you have to do it is what’s kind of annoying because sometimes like you just want to wander the village and see like what can I what can I do here but there wasn’t anything to do. I totally agree the dog was great so the way the dog works you just interact with it you say I want to go see this person and it takes you to that person just excellent excellent mechanic and the other that like so the final point that I’ll make on the onboarding the thing that I remember out of all of the dialogue is that they
(0:59:16) Jonnie: explain why you can just wander into anyone’s house and they make a comment about how in this village everyone trusts each other and so no one locks their doors and you can basically just free to wander into anyone’s house which is one of those dumb things that happens in games that’s like that doesn’t happen in the real world and it’s never really explained it’s funny that they came up with an explanation for why you can do it but it’s not it’s not really relevant because we everyone knows that you can do that in games you don’t need to explain it to us like then in your million lines of dialogue
(0:59:46) Jonnie: But that’s the guy remember
(0:59:50) Al: And I don’t even remember that because I struggled to read lots of stuff as it is and front-loading all that. I didn’t take in anything that they said, so I wasn’t even aware that they’d made that joke. I did notice a few, I will say, when we’re going onto dialogue, I think that a lot of the dialogue from your… I can’t even remember, what’s the cat’s name, the
(1:00:14) Jonnie: Uh, it’s like “nya”, it’s “ny”, there’s another “nya” in there.
(1:00:18) Jonnie: We’ll just call it “nanket”.
(1:00:19) Al: Anyway, your Chitorio dead cat, right? I find a lot of his dialogue legitimately amusing.
(1:00:29) Al: Not like laugh-out-light funny, but I chuckle a little bit when I read some of them. I’m actually finding his dialogue quite amusing.
(1:00:38) Jonnie: Yeah, ‘cause he’s very capitalist, but trying to be secretly capitalist in a way that comes across a lot better than I’m probably describing it, but yeah, he’s very good.
(1:00:51) Al: So I think that what I would say is like, in weird ways. Yeah. Yeah. I think my point is like, I think the developer of this game like clearly has the ability to do good dialogue that can be amusing. And I think they need to lean into that and move away from what they think they have to do and do what they what they think they want to do. Because I I feel like the–
(1:00:52) Jonnie: He’s very interested in the bathhouse for the money, right?
(1:01:21) Al: The onboarding stuff feels a lot like, “Oh, I need to do onboarding,” and not actually wanting to do it, and therefore doing it in a way that you feel is the easiest way to
(1:01:32) Jonnie: Yeah, exactly. And the cat’s name is Wonyan. I’ve probably butchered the pronunciation, but there we go.
(1:01:37) Al: Okay, we’re not going to talk about the fishing. I don’t think this game needed fishing. I didn’t even try the fishing. I don’t care. If you’re going to add any mechanic into a game that is a traditional farming game mechanic, don’t let it be fishing. Oh my word.
(1:02:03) Jonnie: Yeah, I feel like I’ve made my views on fishing in these sorts of games very clear, and I support their position.
(1:02:10) Al: I do like that Spirit Tea does not have romance. This is good because you can still have relationships and friendships with the NPCs and you can build up those. But I do like playing through Coral Island just now and I am having a lot of fun trying to figure out the right person that I want to romance and figuring out the right ways to do that. But as we’ve discussed,
(1:02:38) Al: not every game needs that and I don’t think this can be a good game.
(1:02:40) Al: I think there are probably some things that this game could do with but it is not romance, please do not add romance into this game.
(1:02:51) Jonnie: I totally agree, because to me, the point of this game is about the spirits, right?
(1:02:56) Jonnie: Like, yes, you’re part of a village, and that’s an important part, but it’s the backdrop for interacting with the spirits.
(1:03:03) Jonnie: So Romance is like a pull away from that into an era of the game that isn’t really needed.
(1:03:09) Jonnie: And what I was thinking about when thinking about that is like Fey Farm, right?
(1:03:13) Jonnie: Where Fey Farm has Romance, which is very tacked on, it’s not necessary for the same reason that it doesn’t
(1:03:21) Jonnie: necessary for spirit, it’s like Fey Farm is meant to be about the Fey Realms and, you know, all of these weird creatures.
(1:03:27) Jonnie: Like, why does it need that additional element just because it’s a staple of the genre?
(1:03:34) Al: Absolutely. So, I’m trying to think how to finish this up. Is there anything else? I guess we haven’t really talked too much about the spirit view. Let’s go. So, I mentioned how you have hints towards where there are spirits kind of just randomly around the village because I think the story is something like they get lost in this realm, they can’t figure out what they’re meant to do, and so you have to go and find them and you convince them to go have a bath, right? Basically that’s…
(1:04:04) Al: It’s fine. It’s ridiculous. I like it, but that’s kind of the idea.
(1:04:04) Jonnie: Yeah, and when they get lost and they sort of disturb the villagers, right?
(1:04:12) Jonnie: So weird things happening in the real world, it’s an indication that there’s spirits there.
(1:04:14) Al: Yes. Yeah, so you get these little hints and you go to a specific place and you know you’re in the right place because your cat tells you, “Oh, this is the right place. Let’s turn on Spirit View.” And Spirit View is the thing that you drink the tea or you sleep apparently you can get it just by sleeping but whatever that’s fine. And you can turn on Spirit View and that allows you to see spirits. Interestingly, you can always see the spirits in the bath house that’s a it doesn’t matter they they have a little story
(1:04:44) Al: to say oh I think it’s because I don’t care it doesn’t matter it’s fine but I feel like there’s a trend here right of the game trying to over explain a few things that were like we don’t really care it’s because it would be a bad game if you couldn’t do that right like that we know that’s how it is it would be like if pokemon went well actually these villages are always really small because actually it’s from the mind of a 10 year old and they don’t pay attention to things No, we don’t care, right?
(1:04:58) Jonnie: Right? Yep.
(1:05:12) Jonnie: Yep, I mean explain it cuz the bathhouse is on top of the mountain You can see them on the mountain, but you can’t see them in the village fine Done.
(1:05:14) Al: Yeah. Yeah. There you go. Done. Yeah. We don’t care. There’s a reason. It doesn’t matter. That’s fine. Great. But yes, you turn on your spirit view when you’re in a specific place and you see the spirit and then you and your cat talk to the spirit and convince them to stop being annoying and come and have a bath and calm down, basically. And then once you’ve done that, you then have another type of spirit, which as we’ve discussed,
(1:05:41) Al: all have different things that they want to do.
(1:05:44) Al: So it adds more complexity, but also then can increase your money.
(1:05:48) Al: And as you go, you unlock different bits and allow you to have more.
(1:05:52) Al: More spirits and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
(1:05:56) Al: I don’t know. Is there anything else we need to talk about, Spirit View?
(1:05:59) Jonnie: I just really enjoy that to get Spirit View, you basically have to get high, right?
(1:06:05) Jonnie: Like that’s what’s happening, you just get stoned and then you can see spirits.
(1:06:08) Al: Yeah.
(1:06:09) Al: Is no one else drinking this tea?
(1:06:11) Al: Right?
(1:06:12) Al: Are they growing tea and nobody’s having it and I’m the only one that drink it and suddenly seeing all these spirits?
(1:06:18) Jonnie: I assume they are not drinking it and then going ghost hunting.
(1:06:22) Jonnie: They’re just getting stoned in their own home and then, you know, falling asleep.
(1:06:26) Jonnie: Also, maybe if they are seeing the spirits, they’re not sure that they’re actual spirits and they think they’re just hallucinating because they don’t have a cat spirit.
(1:06:30) Al: That’s a good point. That is a good… Yep, I didn’t even think about that, of course. If you’re going to take drugs and then you come down from that, your automatic thing is not,
(1:06:39) Al: “Yes, what I saw was real!” Yeah, that’s totally fair. Totally fair. Okay,
(1:06:47) Al: anything that we’ve missed in this game that you want to talk about other than a summary.
(1:06:50) Jonnie: We don’t need to have a conversation about it, but it’s got your house designing and some of those other usual features within these sorts of games, so some of those things look like they’re there.
(1:07:06) Jonnie: And there was an area in the top left of the map that looked like it was covered in clouds, which I didn’t get far enough in to unlock, I’m not sure if you know what’s underneath those clouds.
(1:07:14) Al: No, I was assuming it wasn’t something… I don’t know. I saw it and thought, “Huh,”
(1:07:23) Al: and then kind of ignored it. But I’m assuming at this point it’s either future content or maybe it’s something you unlock later on. Because neither of us have played 10.
(1:07:34) Jonnie: But other than that, I don’t think I have anything else to say. I think this is the sort of game that I would really recommend that if you’re thinking about buying it to maybe go and find a YouTube video of someone doing a Let’s Play and watch the first 10 minutes, or at least find someone running through the bathhouse and see if that is appealing to you.
(1:07:57) Jonnie: Because if it’s not, there’s just not much else going on in this game, right? So you’ve got to be grabbed by that puzzle element.
(1:08:04) Jonnie: Which I ultimately think is a good thing for the sort of cottagecore genre, right? I like that we’ve got games that are kind of doing the thing that they said they were going to do. They’re not adding a bunch else other than fishing.
(1:08:18) Jonnie: And just kind of being what they are. And it’s not for me, but it will be for some people, which I think is a good thing.
(1:08:30) Al: I think that’s the thing I want people to take away. We are not saying this game is bad by any means. We think we’re actually saying that we’re glad this game exists because it’s doing things in a different way that some people will really like, especially if they’ve not liked some other cottagecore games and that this is good, we don’t want everything to be the same.
(1:08:50) Al: I keep talking about Coral Island’s episode. Everything doesn’t need to be that because if everything was that, I’m not going to play them all. I’m not going to enjoy them all because they
(1:09:00) Al: can’t all be good like that, whereas you can be different and you can have things in your game that are slightly different and slightly interesting. This has gone full in on that mechanic, which I think is a good thing because it’s focusing on the one thing that it does differently. If you like cottagecore games and you like puzzles and the thing you like about cottagecore games is that this word is not a bad thing. The monotony, the regularity of what it’s
(1:09:30) Al: about, you don’t have to think about lots of things. You’ve got a few things to think about and you also like puzzle games. This is probably a good game for you.
(1:09:36) Al: Well, we can agree sometimes on a game.
(1:09:36) Jonnie: I completely agree.
(1:09:38) Jonnie: Once, once here, once here.
(1:09:40) Al: All right, cool. Well, thank you, Johnny, for joining me to talk about Spirit Tea.
(1:09:52) Jonnie: Thanks for having me. It’s been fun.
(1:09:55) Al: Where can do you want people to find you anywhere in the internet?
(1:10:00) Al: are just come and join us Slack again.
(1:10:02) Jonnie: Come and join the Slack,, sign up, support, this great endeavor that Al puts a ton of work into, and you know some of us show up and just flap our gums, but come and chat with us in the Slack, have lots of fun conversations. I mean it’s such a good time,
(1:10:21) Jonnie: right, because there’s so many games coming out, there’s so much being announced,
(1:10:24) Jonnie: we can’t get to all of the games on the show, so we pick what looks, you know, most interesting
(1:10:32) Jonnie: but you might be playing something that you think is worth covering, and you know places like the Slack are a great place to share what it is that you’re doing, because there’s just a lot,
(1:10:44) Jonnie: and we love to hear about it, and we love to talk about it. Come join us.
(1:10:48) Al: Yes, we can’t play and cover all the games.
(1:10:50) Al: So I take I take input from the slack in terms of what people are interested in.
(1:10:55) Al: There have been times where somebody’s mentioned something about, yeah, OK,
(1:10:58) Al: let’s let’s cover that game because I hadn’t really been considering it.
(1:11:00) Al: But it seems like people are interested in it.
(1:11:04) Al: You can follow me on Mastodon.
(1:11:09) Al: Scott and on X as the Scottbot.
(1:11:13) Al: You can follow the podcast on Tumblr and on Twitter @THSPod.
(1:11:18) Al: You can find links to everything to do with the podcast and our feedback form on our website,
(1:11:25) Al: As Johnny mentioned, we do have the Patreon. There’s a link on the website.
(1:11:31) Al: You can also just go to and support the podcast that way. Really appreciate any support that people give. If you can’t give financially, that’s totally fine. You can also just share the podcast, tell people about it. People like to hear about things that they…
(1:11:48) Al: are interested in. Oh, I think that’s everything. Thank you, Jonny, again for joining me.
(1:11:54) Jonnie: Thanks for having me. It is very early for me and very late for you, so I think…
(1:11:54) Al: Yes, I’m going to bed and you’re probably going back to bed.
(1:12:00) Jonnie: I hope we’ve been high enough energy for this one.
(1:12:04) Jonnie: Correct.
(1:12:06) Al: Until next time, farmers, have a good harvest.
(1:12:10) Jonnie: Have a good harvest.
(1:12:13) Theme Tune: The harvest season is created by Al McInley, with support from our patrons, including our pro farmers, Kevin, Stuart and Alisa.
(1:12:28) Theme Tune: Our art is done by Micah the Brave, and our music is done by Nick Burgess.
(1:12:33) Theme Tune: Feel free to visit our website,, for show notes and links to things we discussed in this episode.
(1:12:39) Theme Tune: this episode.
(1:12:48) Al: Oh, what on earth happened there with your audio? Oh, no, no, no, it’s not you. Never mind.
(1:12:51) Jonnie: Hm? Oh.
(1:12:53) Jonnie: Okay.
(1:12:53) Al: I clicked on a link. Ignore me. Let’s keep going. So, yes, yeah, I clicked on their video and I thought something had gone. Did you do the exact same thing there? That is really off-putting.
(1:12:57) Jonnie: Oh, it’s their video.
(1:13:01) Jonnie: ‘Cause I… [laughs]
(1:13:03) Jonnie: I did the same thing and I was like, “Oh, it’s happening to me.” [laughs]
(1:13:08) Jonnie: Uhh…
(1:13:11) Al: Anyway.
(1:13:12) Jonnie: That is… [laughs]