Beginner Tips For How To Say Goodbye


Collage Of Characters By Doors In How To Say Goodbye

How to Say Goodbye, from Florian Veltman, Baptiste Portefaix, and Arte France, is a thought-provoking puzzle game with a lovely hand-drawn aesthetic. The game begins with an unnamed protagonist finding themselves to have died and arrived in the afterlife. As you guide this ghost through each stage — collecting keys, pressing buttons, and unlocking the pathways to each exit door — they will meet new friends and wrestle with serious questions about death and loss.

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While HtSG is a short and gentle game, it has some tricky puzzles and deals with heavier subjects, so you may want to learn more about it before you get started. Here’s a brief primer of things to know before your post-death adventure.


5/5 It’s About Death, But It’s Not Dark

First, you should know that How to Say Goodbye is a story about death. It approaches this theme in a sensitive and accessible way, much like a kindly children’s book might, but it doesn’t shy away from the fact that losing the people we love is always an experience of letting go.

As the characters navigate a world between life and death, they have time to reflect on their lives and prepare themselves to pass on. Their conversations with the other characters they meet are often cute and charming, but some, particularly the Wizard, experience profound grief and try to prevent the cast from moving on.

It’s also worth noting the game gives you the option to customize the main character if you want to base them on a real person you’ve lost. But this is purely optional, and you won’t miss anything in the game by using a made-up character (as most players likely will).

4/5 It’s Inspired By Classic Children’s Books

Ghost At Hospital In How To Say Goodbye

While it might have some serious themes at the center, HtSG is a welcoming game with a beautiful art style inspired by some of the greats of children’s literature. The developers have specifically cited Tomi Ungerer, Tove Jansson, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Maurice Sendak as influences, but it has a look all its own.

This aesthetic turns the experience into a kind of virtual storybook, and it may remind you of other classic tales that help children (and adults) process difficult themes in simple, nurturing, but not unsophisticated ways. You may even find yourself replaying certain sections, even after the puzzles are solved, just to enjoy the art and the touching narrative.

3/5 The Puzzles Rely On A Few Recurring Elements

Room With Lock In How To Say Goodbye

The puzzles in the game are based on sliding characters and objects along a grid until the characters are aligned with the exit door. You may have to push buttons, turn windmills, or use keys and other tools to help you, so it’s good to keep a few things in mind when interacting with these objects.

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For keys, remember that you can move a key to you, especially if a character must remain on a button. Also, any character can use a key once one of them collects it, so if one character is stuck, another character may have to find the key for them.

For the windmill-like devices, move the spaces in front of them to raise or lower the platforms they control. Keep your character at a distance so they don’t move, too, and then once the platform is where you want it, move the ghost where they need to go without turning the windmill further.

2/5 In Larger Stages, Remember Where You’ve Been

How To Say Goodbye Room With Doors

While the stages are generally not mazes, some involve multiple, similar-looking rooms and can get a bit labyrinthine. Be sure to keep track of which doors you’ve already been through and remember how you arranged the characters in front of each door. If you don’t, you may find yourself having to solve the same puzzles multiple times if you need to backtrack or go through certain rooms more than once.

The puzzles in HtSG involve clever lateral thinking, but they aren’t intimidating. Even if you’re feeling a little stuck, with enough trial and error, you’ll likely arrive at a solution before long. You can never get cornered or make a mistake you can’t recover from, but if you feel like resetting a stage and just taking it from the top, you can return to the main menu. (On a similar note, beware that the game only saves at the end of each chapter.)

1/5 You May Want To Experiment With Different Controls

A white Nintendo Switch OLED console with two white joy cons in a black controller grip.

HtSG is currently available on multiple platforms, and moving your cursor along its isometric grids can be tricky, depending on your controls. Using a control stick sometimes feels imprecise, but a stylus can also get cumbersome (especially on stages where the camera zooms out and the individual squares get smaller).

Playing on the Switch, which has the benefit of both traditional controls and the touch screen, is recommended. But if that’s not an option, the game will certainly work on other platforms. While wrapping your head around the angled nature of the stages will take some getting used to, no matter how you control them, as long as you have a method you’re comfortable with, you should be fine.

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