Spirit City: Lofi Sessions brings gamification to your lofi beats

Posted on April 8, 2024

The act of gamifying productivity isn’t new. There are tonnes of software and apps available via your computer or phone’s respective app store. So why are people gamifying their lives? Well, a lot of it comes down to science and how our brains work. Of course, it doesn’t work for everyone, but different elements can help improve someone’s motivation. Seeing badges, leaderboards or “performance graphs” often pushed people to complete the project at hand. Gamification doesn’t have to be habits or to-dos, it can also include playing video games to work out. And those of us with ADHD can benefit from these sorts of games. The act of rewards for completing a 25-minute timer makes our brains enjoy that dopamine rush, as well as being able to manage tasks.

All of the reasons why gamification is exciting is also why I was quite thrilled to be able to give Spirit City: Lofi Sessions, from Canadian indie dev team Mooncube Games, a try. I’ve used timer apps to get me focused to write, and even subscribed to music YouTube channels. Spirit City isn’t necessarily a game because you’re not talking to NPCs to get your next quest or trying to fight off an alien invasion. But what it does offer is rewards, achievements, and other motivators, much like a more traditional game.

Spirit City: Lofi Sessions, as the subtitle suggests, allows you to listen to lofi hits. Each track is from popular music label, Homework Radio, and they’re even stream-friendly. There are currently four different playlists for you to choose from. At the moment there’s no way to create your own playlists or upload your own music. There is however a built-in web browser that loads Homework Radio’s YouTube channel. From there you can search for other playlists, or videos right from the web. If you like those ambient videos of fire crackling or rain pouring down, you can set that up as well. Spirit City offers 12 different sounds from the spinning vinyl or even food sizzling and they both offer a visual and audible component which is neat.

While Spirit City offers chill music and sounds to relax to, its other component (and the way that it’s gamified) are the productivity tools. You can set your own to-do lists, there’s a Pomodoro timer where you can set how long the timer goes for including breaks. There’s also a habit tracker, and even a journal to put all your thoughts in. The journal offers different prompts and you can be free to write to your heart’s content, or write down what challenges you might face today. If the idea of journaling scares you, you’re not subjected to the dreaded blank page.

Another gamified tool present here is the ability to find spirits, a total of 15. Spirit City gives you a cryptic clue based on a particular activity or time of day. Maybe the sound of rain will attract a spirit, or by lying on your bed you could find one. You can also customise the room you’re in, your avatar, and even the little spirit that joins you. There is a large range of options to choose from, and there’s no “body A, body B” option, only a slider bar between two body types.

The customisation in clothes, the room and the sprites also have a large range. But some of the options you’ll have to spend Spirit Credits on. You gain experience points which turn into credits each time you rank higher. You can acquire credits from daily logins, task completion and using the timer. Also, you’ll earn points every minute and discover spirits. Though, with the customisation, there isn’t an option to preview the choices. While there is an image, it’s not much to go off on compared to previewing it. Hopefully, Mooncube will implement this in a later update.

Spirit City: Lofi Sessions is a cute game, with a wide range of customisation too. It’s a neat bit of software that gets you in the mood to work. For fans of the Pomodoro method in apps like Forest, with the lofi beats found in games like Kind Words, it’s a no-brainer. Spirit City: Lofi Sessions is available on PC via Steam. So why don’t you pick up a project, and let those chill vibes carry you onto productivity land?