I’m not shy about the fact that I have anxiety. Some days it’s completely silent; others, it’s there with me first thing in the morning. On those bad days, I’m always looking for ways to tame it so I can go on with my life.
A friend and fellow anxiety sufferer recommended Kind Words: lo fi chill beats to write to. Originally released back in July as a Humble Bundle exclusive, it’s now on Steam for $4.99. The concept sounded interesting: an anonymous space within which to send and receive messages of support.
Kind Words takes place in a square bedroom floating in space. There are a few things you can do here: send a request, answer requests from others, or send a paper airplane. All correspondence takes place anonymously, with your only identifier being the first initial of your username. That’s the first rule of Kind Words: we’re all strangers here.
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Paper airplanes are quick, seven-line notes sent out into the world by players. You’ll see them float by as you’re writing, and can click on them to get words of encouragement from another player. These can be favorite quotes, jokes, or general words of encouragement. I’ve also seen anime recommendations fly past on occasion.
The meat of the experience is in the requests. With the help of a “mail deer” (which is just as adorable as it sounds), you can send and receive short messages venting out concerns or asking for advice. Players can send a private reply with words of encouragement, advice, empathy, and a cute sticker.
In my time playing, I’ve seen (and sent) a decent number of these requests. Thanks to the game’s complete anonymity, players can vent candidly about relationships, family issues, work worries, or just not feeling quite right. Requests refresh regularly, and there’s no obligation to answer a certain amount.
In fact, you aren’t obligated or urged to do anything, save abide by the rules and hit the report button if someone is ruining the scene. The game encourages daily logins by having the Mail Deer gift you a new chill track by Slay the Spire composer Clark Aboud every 24 hours. And it subtly rewards interaction through stickers, which, once obtained in a letter, become decorations you can place in your room.
So far — and for as long as I’ve played — Kind Words really is just what it set out to be. Generally when I log on, I answer requests before I send any. Focusing up on others helps sort me sort out my own thoughts, and there have been days when my kind words to someone else ended up being what I needed to hear, too. The game also reminds me (and well it should) that we can’t solve everyone’s problems. For the hardest issues, mental health links and resources are available throughout.
Kind Words is five of the best dollars I’ve ever spent on a game. Since I bought it, I’ve found myself going back again and again either vent or take on someone else’s requests when things get difficult. It’s a both a wonderful resource and a lovely little world that’s always there whenever you want to visit.