Kind Words is a tough game to sell to the average gamer. I’m not sure I’d even call it a game. It’s a title where players write nice responses to real strangers while listening to chill, lo-fi music. That’s it – there are no enemies, no boss battles, no story arc. It’s just you, your bedroom, and the opportunity to anonymously connect with others. Oh, and a deer delivers your mail.
I was feeling a little run down last night and couldn’t bring myself to jump back into Disco Elysium. I didn’t have the energy to invest myself in a story. Scanning my Steam library, I couldn’t bring myself to load up anything else; I didn’t want to collect resources or compete against other players. I just wanted to decompress. Then, I remembered reading about Kind Words and decided to give it a shot.
Kind Words was exactly what I needed when I was in that frame of mind.
We’ve all been in situations where we don’t want to share our thoughts with the people we know. Kind Words provides the opportunity to share your worries with an anonymous community. Fear not; the Kind Words community isn’t a vile cesspit of trolls looking to capitalise on the honesty of those opening up to others. From my experience, they are without exception the warmest, most encouraging community of gamers I’ve ever met. There is a report button if needed, just to be safe.
I poured over 4 hours into Kind Words last night. There was no artificial pressure, tension or objectives. I sent words of encouragement to invisible strangers going through break-ups, money troubles, exam pressures, and bankruptcy. I even sent a few letters of my own and received caring responses that helped me to move past the thoughts that were holding me back.
In addition to sharing fears or giving advice, players can also share stickers. Everyone begins the game with a random sticker, of which they have an infinite number. You can send those stickers to the people you’re responding to, or to say thank you to those who respond to your thoughts. These stickers all come with a corresponding item that you can pop on your bed, shelf or desk, adding a bit more character to your bedroom. It’s a nice little touch.
If you don’t feel like sharing your concerns or advising others, you can relax in your cozy bedroom and send a paper airplane message instead. These paper airplanes are positive messages that you want to share with the community as a whole. They randomly fly past intermittently, and players can choose whether to read them or not. They tend to be more general “good luck” and “you’re awesome” messages, but it’s still nice to see so much positivity being shared.
An interesting design decision in Kind Words is the inability to continue the conversation with those sharing their thoughts. Someone shares their thoughts, another person responds to those concerns, but the person receiving the advice can only thank respondents by sending stickers. It would be nice to forge friendships with some of the people you feel an affinity with. On the plus side, this decision by the developers helps to keep things anonymous and strengthens the relationship with the community, rather than individuals.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different to ‘play’, definitely try Kind Words. For just $4.99/£3.99, it will restore your faith in others and make you feel more connected to fellow gamers. It’s a truly unique experience.