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Spirit City: Lofi Sessions Review (PC)



Spirit City: Lofi Sessions Promotional Art

If you’ve ever ”accidentally” slipped into one of those ten-hour-long lo-fi playlists on YouTube—the videos that often depict a frog smoking marijuana, or BMO from Adventure Time watching stars volleying back and forth with Bart Simpson—then you’re probably going to like what Mooncube Games has just rustled up for PC. That’s right, a lo-fi game has finally come to fruition, and it promises to bring just about everything you’d expect from an interactive representation of a space cadet sporting a quill and an astronaut’s helmet. This is, unmistakably, Spirit City: Lofi Sessions, and it’s currently making its rounds on Steam.

I know what you’re thinking: how can this be, well, a thing? Or another question would simply be, what would a game like this even have you do, if not bear witness to a series of “cozy” and flawlessly therapeutic thematic experiences for a short while? Well, to put it simply, yes, it is a game, and yes, it does go a little further than simply resorting to cheap tricks and emulations of endless streams of lo-fi set lists. Sure enough, Spirit City: Lofi Sessions does have both of these things — but it also has a great deal more, believe it or not. But, of course, I’m getting ahead of myself on this one, so allow me to restart the loop and brew a fresh pot of coffee. Care to join us as unpack Mooncube Games’ latest creation? Then let’s jump right in.

Spiritual Cleansing

Ambient lighting in floral room (Spirit City: Lofi Sessions)

In a nutshell, Spirit City: Lofi Sessions is a point-and-click, interactive storyboard that essentially allows you to mold, customize, and ultimately utilize your own virtual workspace—a cozy and mellow world in which you can earn XP by completing relatively simple to-do lists, and unlocking small companions known as Spirits. The game, while not entirely story-driven, as such, serves as a custom soundscape over anything else, which means that there aren’t any real objectives to complete, other than the ones that you create for yourself between sections of either personalizing or upgrading other room features and cosmetics. In other words, it isn’t a game-game, but rather, an interactive backdrop that can be tailored to suit your interests and needs, whether it’s for studying, or simply for the sake of having a custom art installation to unwind to.

First and foremost, there’s the art style—a rich and vibrant design that harkens back to some of the all-time favorite lo-fi playlists that flesh out a huge portion of YouTube’s music culture. If you’ve ever taken the opportunity to sink your teeth into one of its many, many playlists, then you’ll no doubt have a good idea of what it looks like; it’s anime-meets-cozy surrealism, and it does all in its power to conjure a gentle atmospheric vibe that can span the length of a day-long stream. This is, in short, another iteration of that same vibe, only with a few more customizable features and a couple of mini-games to boost its overall appeal, to boot. Simply put, it’s a living, breathing, lo-fi canvas — and it’s yours for the taking.

Feeling Mellow Like Jello

Spiritdex menu (Spirit City: Lofi Sessions)

As far as gameplay goes, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about, as a lot of its features tend to take a back seat in order for other, slightly less non-interactive elements to shine through the margins of its given pamphlet. And that’s precisely what the game’s developers wanted to create: a suite that was not only minimalistic and easy to navigate, but also short on any unwarranted clutter and technical complexity. This isn’t a frustrating experience, and at no point is it made to feel that way; it’s nigh impossible to feel stressed out when it comes to lo-fi, to be fair. But then, that’s sort of the point.

In a simple loop-type motion, you must acquire XP by carrying out various tasks on a makeshift docket, and use said points to invest in one of several things—decor, outfits, and companions, to round off just a few. From there, it’s merely the case of experimenting with new backdrops and soundscapes, and altering your own virtual reality in order to formulate enough vials of serotonin fuel to satisfy your needs. Again, it isn’t so much about completing trials, but rather, doing the bare minimum in order to release some level of underlying psychological blockage. In other words, it isn’t your typical balls-out RPG — so it’s best not to expect anything of the sort, basically.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few things that require your attention here, though they don’t ask a great deal of you; it’s merely the case of the game presenting you with a catalog of new pieces of attire for your character, or declarations for your humble abode, and asking which of them you’d like to insert into your collection for the sake of mixing things up and keeping your surroundings fresh.

A Streamer’s Dream

Character customization screen (Spirit City: Lofi Sessions)

Thanks to the game featuring an entirely royalty-free soundtrack, the story (or whatever it is) can be streamed live without any major hiccups or monetized setbacks. Granted, this isn’t a huge thing, but the fact that its creators made the effort to conceive a score of genuinely beautiful and harmonic tracks that not only encompass the base qualities of lo-fi culture, but also provide a safe space for fledgling streamers to share their experiences, is yet another reason to sing its praises. I can’t say that I’ll be taking full advantage of this opportunity at any point in the foreseeable future, but I can assure you that countless others will.

The fact that Spirit City: Lofi Sessions doesn’t ask a great deal of you does make it something of a perfect idle clicker to keep stowed away in the back of your browser or chosen launch software. Again, seeing as there isn’t a whole lot to do, it does manage to alleviate the need to keep tabs on it — which is perfect, because, every now and then, a simple lo-fi ambiance is enough to satisfy the senses, in spite of there being little room to manipulate its functions.

Of course, if you’re hell-bent on spending some time with something that won’t dare to ask you for, well, anything, then you’ll probably love the carefree nature of Spirit City: Lofi Sessions. But, eh, don’t expect to receive too much creative control over a lot of the items in its cabinet. To echo, this isn’t so much about playing a game, but rather, tweaking a few minor aspects to create an idyllic atmosphere that’ll help revitalize your senses and keep your focus levels in tip-top shape.


General gameplay (Spirit City: Lofi Sessions)

Spirit City: Lofi Sessions is a lot like virtual therapy; it doesn’t ask that you spill out your deepest, darkest secrets, but rather, reflect on your inner desires and emotions as you experience the lo-fi equivalent of, I don’t know, whale music. This isn’t your traditional video game by any stretch, and therefore, I’m unable to call it that, for it hails from a completely different brand of entertainment, and I’m not entirely sure whether or not die-hard gamers will be content with exploring that particular side of the die. Given the fact that Lofi Sessions pretty much wears its true colors on its sleeve, though, it’s hard to imagine that there’ll be too much confusion about what sorts of boxes it’ll likely tick.

If you’ve ever felt the urge to tweak a few aspects of a bog-standard lo-fi video, then you’ve certainly come to the right place, that’s for sure. Aside from it being incredibly easy on the eyes, Spirit City: Lofi Sessions also benefits from a wholesome soundboard that ticks all the right boxes and pays homage to the culture — and then some. The fact that it also includes a cutesy selection of companions (or Spirits, in this case) does also boost its overall appeal, and provides enough of an incentive to keep you unearthing additional secrets and trucking towards another milestone, whether it’s a personal one, or a work-related thing.

There’s a lot to love about Spirit City: Lofi Sessions, I’ll say that much. Granted, it isn’t as much of a game as I would’ve liked, but given the fact that I was more than willing to keep the snowball rolling for several hours without ever feeling the urge to abandon it does, in all honesty, speak volumes for its character.

Spirit City: Lofi Sessions Review (PC)

Whale Music for Gamers

Spirit City: Lofi Sessions isn’t a game; it’s the virtual embodiment of an entire culture — and a good one, at that. It’s whale music for gamers, and it’s bound to give you something to unwind to, regardless of the path you’re on, be it academical or spiritual.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.