Spirit Harvest

Spirit Harvests is a homebrew game for the N64 by Team Spirit Walkers and released on 30 Oct 2022 for the 2022 64brew Game jam. The game has you explore a creepy haunted environment as a spirit walker.

You can download the ROM from the download page for this homebrew game by using the password walkingspirits or see the source code on Github and download from Drive.

Spirit Harvest setting and gameplay

Setting & environment

The game doesn’t have much of an introduction, it just drops you right in there. There isn’t any text or story so the most interesting part about it is the setting in which it takes place.

You play as a shamam who starts off in a small tent with a small bonfire by a beach. It’s late at night with a full moon overhead. There’s a small boat on a pier, but you can’t use it or stand on it.

Up the hill there is a small village with a few huts. The lights are on, but the entrances are closed solid. There is one hut that you can walk into though, but it’s ethereal. You just walk out through the back wall.

Following that, there’s a path behind the village and a long rope bridge.

Then the scene darkens, the music stops and a chilling clattering sound starts playing in the distance… What could it be?

You’ll have to play the game to find out 😉

Gameplay

The gameplay in Spirit Harvest is not very complicated. It’s basically a 3D 3rd person walking simulator. You can stand, walk, run and jump, and that’s about it.

There’s a GUI in the corner showing various attacks taking up a large chunk of the screen, but it doesn’t do anything. It was intended to be part of the final game but the feature was cut due to time constraints.

‘Spooky’ theme

Having undead spirits, a creepy atmosphere, a chilling darkness and a final ‘trick’ gives it everything it needs to be considered spooky.

Credits

Spirit Harvest was made by Team Spirit Walkers:

  • WadeMalone – Concept, programming, art
  • Bryc – Music and SFX
  • Cobra! – 3D modelling and props

Conclusion and review

The term ‘walking simulator’ gets thrown around a lot since Gone Home got a 10/10, but I believe that Spirit Harvest actually does it justice, at least for the scale of a homebrew game. The inability to interact with anything helps enhance the atmosphere with a sense of loneliness an vulnerability.

That’s really the name of the game: atmosphere. Since there isn’t really any actual gameplay to speak of, its strength lies in the environment it creates. The village area is very detailed with a lot to explore, it honestly feels like it would be the kind of scene you would find in a retail game.

The ending does give me the chills and still scares me even after I know what’s coming. A great job on the spookiness of things.

The music and sound mixing is top-notch. It’s quiet when you’re near the campfire, the beach brings you waves and the creepy rattling at the end is spooky indeed.

The main issue with Spirit Harvest is that there isn’t really any ‘game’ to it, it’s just incomplete. There are some hints that there is more to it than ended up in the release, but it had to be cut due to time constraints. Team Spirit Walkers did say in the interview that they are planning to continue working on the game by implementing the battle mechanic, so I’m looking forward to what they have in store in the near future.

Boo!

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Spirit Harvest is a homebrew game for the Nintendo 64 by Team Spirit Walkers where you explore a haunted 3D environment.
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