It’s a bit hard to describe Kind Words as a game, because it isn’t a traditional game with win conditions and rules like that. It’s really more of a platform for people who are feeling beat down by life and want to experience something genuinely good out of the Internet.
In that sense, Kind Words is a great concept. Essentially, you write nice letters to other people. You read about the problems they’re going through, then send them some encouragement in the form of a short letter. Alternatively, you can write about your own problems to see if anyone has some advice or encouragement for you. Or you can just write some good vibes and float it out there to make someone’s day.
Most of the time, you’ll find yourself reading. There are a lot of people hurting out there, feeling lost, isolated, or in desperate need of some reassurance, so there is no end to the letters available to read. So far, the problems are quite young and you’ll find plenty of school-related concerns and issues, and unrequited crushes. That isn’t to say there aren’t older issues as well. I saw a few letters that were definitely from older people, as they dealt with topics like investment opportunities and job pressures.
When you see one that resonates with you, it’s a simple matter of clicking Reply to write a short letter to this person. Don’t worry about this taking too long, as the way the game is set up, you’re not likely to write more than a couple of paragraphs. In a ten minute session, you might even write three or four replies.
I tried writing a letter, so I sent one out about some difficulties I’m having with my son. Within five minutes, I started receiving encouragement and some helpful advice from a different perspective. No trolls, no negativity. Just people who wanted me to feel better.
When you’re in the main screen, you’ll also see paper planes fly across the room. Clicking on these will open up a note that someone had written with positive vibes, like a motivational quote or just open encouragement. It’s nice to see that enough people are sending out a constant stream of goodwill like this.
The execution is just as wonderful as this concept. The interface places you in your virtual room, with little else going on except your bed, your writing desk and a radio constantly piping out some nice music. The visuals and audio work well together to put you in a comfortable and pleasant environment, where you are free from distractions and can focus on just reading and writing letters.
The soundtrack is so enjoyable, it’s worth getting as DLC to listen to outside of the game.
The game is also set up in a way that protects its users. Everything is anonymous, and you are repeatedly reminded not to share any identifying details or outside communication channels. The depth of interaction is also restricted to short single replies. The deepest you can go is this: User A writes a letter. User B replies with a short letter. User A thanks user B with a sticker.
You can’t go past a single letter, so there is no chance for two people to have an extended conversation. You won’t be able to reconnect with that person, aside from a single sticker being sent their way. This is a deliberate move from the developers to keep the encouragement at a shallow level and prevent any malicious interaction.
Kind Words is about letting people know that their concerns are being heard, and there are people who care enough to write to you. It doesn’t allow for the development of friendships, and this makes it safer for younger, vulnerable kids to use. With the advent of cyber-bullying and the sheer negativity that comes with many social media platforms, a safe environment like this is a breath of fresh air.
If things feel really bad, the game is also peppered with links to mental health support sites.
It’s admirable that someone has taken the time to create a platform for goodwill like this. Only time will tell if the Kind Words community stays so good-natured and supportive, but we hope that careful moderation and the S$5 price tag will keep the trolls away.
There are enough negative creeps in our regular lives, so let’s hope this little subspace of the Internet can stay positive and protected against bullies. We need more kindness in the world! Try the game out, let some more sunshine into your world, and then be the sunshine for a fellow human being out there. You may not play this every night like other games, but it’s something nice to go to once in a while for 15-20 minutes at a time.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
It’s some genuine goodwill and sunshine for those who need it, and a fulfilling way to spend an evening.
Gameplay - 8/10
Presentation - 9/10
Value - 9.5/10
User Review( votes)
Drew used to be a professional videogame reviewer, then he took an adulthood arrow to the knee. Now he is a content strategist, helping brands tell their stories without resorting to overused videogame memes.