If two gentle strangers made soft, sweet love during a digital therapy session to the sounds of 24/7 lo-fi hiphop radio – beats to study/chill/relax to, their child would look exactly like Kind Words. It would be that kid at school that you didn’t really KNOW, you know, but you felt a connection. Like they were friend-shaped. Years later, you’d find yourself thinking back on them and hoping they’re doing well. But also YOU were that kid? It’s a bit weird.

What the actual f*** is Kind Words even?

Like Animal Crossing if you were stuck in your house and could only write letters. But not as shit as that sounds. There’s also lo-fi music, and a magical talking deer that delivers post despite having no hands. Perfectly valid job choice, it’s 2022, stop being prejudiced with your blatant anti-deer agenda, fascist.

There are four parts to Kind Words. One, anonymously reading about and responding to people’s problems. Two, anonymously sharing your problems and reading responses from strangers. Three, decorating your room. Four, listening to lo-fi.

Kind Words is a contemplative experience that relies on generosity of spirit from internet strangers. If you don’t know what the internet is, basically it’s the collective noun for a bunch of bastards. Imagine my surprise when, actually, somehow, this works. I know why the internet is full of wankers now. All the GOOD people are on Kind Words.

Look, the best way of understanding the game is to play. A lovely, detailed intro from post deer runs you through it all. And it’s just writing letters to people who’ll never know you wrote them. That’s it. In case you’re not sold, though, I’m going to go through everything in the game.

Thank God you’re here, my last mail deer disappeared during venison season

View requests

Button numero uno is ‘View requests’. That is, get dealt a random handful of requests from those looking for a little empathy and maybe advice. You pick and choose which you’d rather respond to, which can be useful when the topics get heavy. Or, you know, not heavy enough. You might not feel like telling someone your favourite pop song.

These are all written by real people, so the topic can be anything. Like, telling you you’re beautiful, to asking how to deal with the loss of a loved one. You aren’t expected to be a councillor or psychologist. You’ve only got 14 short lines. What you’re asked to do, though, is show respect and care, anonymously.

If things get too heavy, and you’re concerned for their welfare, there’s an option to report the message. Same if they’re being a shitheel. Resources exist in-game to find help, or to offer more concrete help if needed.

Content varies from the flippant to the heavy

Make requests

Moving onto ‘Make requests’. Say whatever you want, it’s completely anonymous except for one initial. You COULD write your details, but this is against the T&Cs (no new Patrons for Dapper Android, darnit…). Like viewing requests, this can be about absolutely anything.

You have less room to write than responding, which seems unfair at first… but I find this really helps concentrate your feelings. No rambling, what precisely is wrong, and what exactly do you want input on. Basically, it’s journaling. But your journal is being read and responded to anonymously, which is somehow better.

Say nice things (Airplanes)

‘Say nice things’ does the work of cutting the spam from the requests pile. Overflowing with positivity and want to fling it into the void? Use this, and your message will appear as a paper airplane floating around rooms for anyone to click on. No response, not even an initial, just vibes.

As an example of the things you might find floating around:

  • Time is important, so when someone uses that time on you, that means you are important enough to give that time to!
  • OH MY GOD. WhAt Is ThAt ?? Oh, it’s just you, I thought it was a star

It’s a nice way of letting the community send out more general and less heavy messages, and these things drift around for weeks. I’ve even caught my own.

Dazzling, hot, mostly gas – all ways I’ve been described

Inbox

Want to check your requests? They’re stored in the ‘Inbox’ for you to scroll through freely. Nothing here yet for me, because I restarted my account to give you jackals the content you hunger for. Are you HAPPY NOW!?

Yeah, me too buddy, thanks for asking.

Oh no wait, here comes one now!

Marketing? Who does this guy think he is?

By the way, if you’ve enjoyed the content so far please don’t forget to like, subscribe and share. And if you want to be a Kindred Spirit and supporter of my work then you can, starting from the low low price of £2 per month. We do regular content and events, host game servers, stream twice a week(ish) which you can be a part of, and even do game giveaways!

Ahem…

I'[m just saying… patreon.com/dapperandroid

Decorate

Featureless void not sparking joy? Not a fan of city chic? Swap it out for natural wood, and a different coloured void. Or the sea! Those are your choices. Stickers you’ve been gifted by thankful recipients also provide you with decorations you can plonk in your room, though these are limited to certain themes.

This is how I work in real life, except with more snacks

Screensaver

If you just want Kind Words running in the background while you write other stuff or make a delicious pan of bran muffins, then you can select screensavers. This will flash up Airplane messages while you do your thang. You can even edit this to show messages faster, slower, whatevs.

Words to live by

Help

Most games would have generic info on the creators. Here, you’ll find mental health resources, notes on privacy and safety, advice on responding to and writing letters, and a feedback option in-game – which is nice. You can even send them something nice! I did. You’re welcome, you lovely people.

Unironically, this is such a beautiful thing to find in as gentle a game as Kind Words

And that’s it…

If I was being picky, I’d prefer more customisation options for my room and avatar. It sometimes feels such a shame that separated by everything but an initial is a community of lovely strangers, and I really want to know them better. I’ve never seen or had a bad response from someone. Everyone on the game looks genuinely chill AF…

However, that anonymity not only keeps people safe. It also, I feel, powers the special magic of Kind Words. It’s a place with no consequences or permanence, which makes talking about and responding to messages easy. I may not know how to help someone deal with a death in the family, but through Kind Words I can tell them I’m sorry, that things get better, and not feel like I’m putting myself in the spotlight. They’ve asked for these words, and I am delivering. That’s the contract.

So if you’re feeling like things have been pretty rough the last, oh, three years or so… maybe give Kind Words a try?

Liked the review, and want to play Kind Words?
You can find it for free on Humble Bundle if you’re a subscriber, or on Steam for a few quids.