Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) is an indie game by Popcannibal aimed at healing toxicity online and helping people encourage one another.
Kind Words is the newest project from indie studio Popcannibal and is more of a digital community than a game. New players find themselves in a small 3d bedroom. There is warm light pouring through a window onto a small desk. A small cartoon character sits at the desk. A “mail deer” greets you (yes, it’s an adorable deer with a hat on that delivers mail). Players are quickly guided to the task at hand: Letter Writing!
Kind Words Heals Toxicity by Design
Everything to do in Kind Words is related to writing and receiving letters. Every letter in the game exists to serve the overall goal of bringing positivity and encouragement to people who need it. Players can check out the list of letter requests, which include everything from people wanting to hear about people’s days, to very intense personal feelings and thoughts. Writers can send anonymous messages that are not traced to them. In Kind Words, there are no channels for continued communication and no identifying info about profiles. That way, there is no method to target a particular account or user.
The project’s aim is simple: provide a place where people can send and receive letters from strangers for the sole purpose of encouraging each other. This delightful title achieves it’s goal reasonably well with a few simple moderation tools in place. Kind Words costs $4.99, which is cheap enough to let a large number of people play it yet keeps some trolls away. Though it’s unlikely for people to pay to join a positive, focused community, there are likely to be occasional trolls to deal with. It’s worth mentioning that I’ve been playing for about three weeks and have not run into any negativity at all myself. Also, the report message button is always right there when reading, and it’s easy to send feedback.
If you are just hanging out for a bit listening to some of the chill lo-fi tunes, you will start to notice paper airplanes drifting into your room. These are one-off messages that are sent not as a response to a particular person but fly into everyone’s rooms. Clicking on these is sure to give you a quick burst of positivity. The current community likes to send quotes sometimes as well. It’s like getting a little proverb on your teabag tag.
Kind Words Helps you Help Others, and Yourself
Popcannible knows that not every problem is one we can fix. Kind Words is here to heal toxicity through the practice of compassion and empathy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Many people write about issues that are too complex, deep, or personal for a quick fix. Some people need professional help, especially when dealing with issues like suicidal thoughts. And people will be that open with you in this community. It may change as more people join, but the current community at least is sincere and transparent. For these times, there are resources available in-game like the phone numbers for several emergency hotlines. If you see a letter request with an issue that is beyond your ability to help, rather than tackle it yourself, point your penpal to these resources. But this doesn’t mean you can’t say “everything will be ok” or “I feel your pain.”
Kind Words has a secondary, more subtle way of helping it’s players as well. As players continue to write letters over more prolonged periods, they find a new positive effect lifting their spirits. The act of writing itself becomes cathartic. The field of positive psychology has long known the healthful benefits of repeated optimistic behavior. This, combined with the practice of learning to express worries, can be really good for people. Kind Words is not only a place to seek advice; it subtly teaches empathy, reciprocity, and emotional processing too.
Kind Words Also Aims to Delight Players
Ziba Scott has been making games for a while, and his collection of projects is very diverse. He has also worked on Make Sail, Girls Like Robots, Elegy for a Dead World, and others. In Kind Words, players can collect and gift stickers in their letters. Ziba has included references to his past titles by making each sticker in your collection from one of his other games. Each sticker also awards a small trinket to decorate your room with.
Another great touch is the soundtrack. The soundtrack is comprised of all lo-fi jams (I hear they are very good to write to). What you may not realize is that the soundtrack is entirely original and written for the game. Clark Abound is the artist that makes all the music for Kind Words, and new songs are added periodically. The mail deer informs players when there is a new track out. Clark Aboud has been doing videogame soundtracks for a while, and has worked on music for Make Sail, The Monster Inside, and Slay the Spire, among others. If you like lo-fi music, check out our article about how Pokemon got the lo-fi treatment. Also worth a read is this excellent piece about the music of Celeste, another game that deals with themes of emotional health.
Safe spaces (especially online) can be hard to find, and it’s good that someone is putting in the work to make them more commonplace. Kind Words will not heal online toxicity overnight, but it’s a great tool to empower people to help each other. For only $4.99 this is a great title to try out and interact with a hugely positive community of people. Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) is available for PC and has versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Healthy Gaming Friends!