Kind Words [Video Game Review]

Kind Words | Video Games | Gaming | Indie Game | PC | Doublexjump.com

Title: Kind Words
Developer: Popcannibal
Publisher: Popcannibal
Platform:
PC
Category:
Indie, chill word game
Release Date:
September 13, 2019
How we got the game: 
Bought and downloaded it on Steam

Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!

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Kind Words has been on my radar since I heard about it a few months ago, and it came right back up to the front of my to-play list thanks to the Game Awards having it as a nominee for the Games for Impact award. I was finally able to download it, and I am not disappointed in it.

Note that this review doesn’t use our typical template. Mechanically speaking, there’s not much to this game. You have a little avatar that relaxes in a small bedroom while scribbling away letters to other people. The goal is, simply, to be kind, to send words of encouragement, to give advice in response to other people’s letters, or to just let them know, “I am here and I hear you.”

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The menu on the side allows you to see requests that you can answer, send a request yourself to receive advice, send a paper airplane that floats through everyone’s room, and see your inbox, among options for the credits and settings. The setting is minimal, clean, and calming with the soft lights and the chill mix of music that you can adjust to your liking by clicking on the radio above the bed.

The game itself opens up and you meet the Mail Deer. This adorable creature claims that they are the one who sends your letters along, letting you know the gist of the game as well as warning you that you are communicating with real people and to be careful about giving away too much personal information. Mail Deer also speaks about how important they take cyber bullying or dangerous messages, and urges players to report any requests that fall under those categories. Security and safety are this game’s utmost priorities, and it shows in the community and how swiftly those reports are handled.

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One of the main criticisms of this game — and there are very few of those — is players asking for more room on the letters and paper airplanes to write their requests or advice. Sometimes the main point of a request gets lost when not all the context is there due to the lack of room, and the advice that follows doesn’t quite work.

While it can be somewhat of an issue to not have the full story, I do like the fact that the letters must be shorter. It helps with the anonymity of the game and helps to illustrate that one may not receive all the advice they hope to from a stranger online. Indeed, strangers helping out one another with advice and words of encouragement is wonderful, but there is only so much that a stranger can do. To help with that, Kind Words does have a link to mental health resources that is prominent at the bottom of the screen whenever a letter or airplane is written. If one truly needs help, that link is there for when simple advice cannot.

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Another criticism that I’ve heard about the game is that there is no method of keeping in touch or continuing to send and receive letters from the same strangers. Some have found that certain people give fantastic advice, others are wondering how well their advice was received or how someone who had written a particular letter is doing. While it would be nice to be able to keep in touch with someone else, especially since — despite the dangers — online relationships can be wonderful, I believe the one-time reply does its job well. People inherently want to help others, but it can be dangerous to be so involved with others’ problems, dangerous for both parties’ self-esteem and their mental health. To harp on a stranger’s issue, as well-meaning as one may be, can be destructive for both parties.

As the Mail Deer, sometimes the best you can do is to send along a kind word, and you have to hope that will be enough. Know that you did your best for a stranger in the form of an anonymous letter and that they will be able to take strength from your kindness.

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I believe every person has a little bit of, “I want to save the world,” in them, but it can be overwhelming when it appears that you, as only one person, can’t make as much of an impact as you think. To be able to help just one person enables one to realize that perhaps they cannot impact the whole world but, for that one person they helped, they were able to impact that one individual world, hopefully for the better.

Kind Words enables us to do just that.

Kind Words gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Gris and Gameplay Style

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Lately, I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn to games that have unique art styles, something that is different from the norm. The graphics of Cuphead were what drew me to that game, the imagery of Octopath Traveler was what piqued my interest, and there’s another game that I just found out about that looks amazing…

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‘Gris’

So, there’s this game that I recently heard about — from the article linked in the caption of that beautiful game image above — and that I’m gearing up for come December, presuming Smash Bros. Ultimate doesn’t take over my life.

The game is called Gris. It’s a 2D platformer with one of the most gorgeous and unique art styles I’ve seen in a long time. Catalan artist Conrad Roset, a freelancer whose clients include Disney, is credited with the game’s watercolor and Indian ink style, and the screenshots I’ve seen just look so damn pretty.

Aside from the art of the game, the other aspect that intrigued me was the article detailing how the game was supposed to be a smooth experience. Someone looking for a challenging platform may not find Gris to be their type of game. Instead, Gris has light puzzles and emphasizes the art and wordless story of loss and grief more than fancy jump combos.

It just got me thinking about the different types of video games out there. Certainly, a majority of gamers enjoy the challenges, saving the world, testing their skills and knowledge. On the other hand, there are more casual games, games that tend to make one think or just relax, and with these games comes the stigma of the players not being “true gamers.”

I personally believe that gamers are gamers — it doesn’t matter what kind of games you enjoy, be they hardcore or casual or somewhere in between. We all have our different reasons for wanting to play games and we all like what we like.

What do you think of the initial information on Gris? What kind of games do you prefer — challenging, casual, or somewhere in between?

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Samsung CGH90 Monitor

Double Jump Kris MiiRachel and I are generally Nintendo girls, having grown up with the consoles (and having the adults around us always call video games “Nintendo” no matter what kind of games they were). Fairly recently, though, I’ve been wanting to get more into the PC gaming scene, having used to play a couple of MMORPGs and now looking more into Twitch and games like Stardew Valley and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. With that, I’ve been more interested in PC gaming accessories, like pretty monitors…

Gamers generally want to be as immersed as possible in their video game worlds. Take a look at all the virtual reality consoles and games that are on the market nowadays.

Recently a friend of mine told me about this gaming monitor from Samsung, the Samsung CHG90. This massive screen that would keep you in the game without the need for virtual reality headsets. Just take a look at this baby:

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Spanning about 49-inches wide, it’ll probably be difficult to just to find the space for the monitor, but isn’t it gorgeous? Imagine the expanse of Minecraft’s landscape or being able to keep an eye on your surroundings in PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. It’s pretty pricey, though, coming at a whopping $1499.99 — for that amount of money, you could probably get a nice dual, or even triple, monitor set up.

It’s a nice dream for a P.C. gamer!

What do you think of this computer monitor? Too much or would you like a chance to experience how it would work with one of your favorite PC games?

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Flashback Friday: Sims 2

Double Jump Kris Mii It’s another Friday! Yay!

We’ve been going back and forth between playing our Switch Games and living out perfect lives on the Sims 4. This month I thought we’d go back to when Rachel and I had first gotten hooked onto the Sims series with Sims 2. 

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The Sims 2, first published in 2004, is the second installment of the Sims franchise published by EA Games and developed by Maxis. Like the original Sims, the Sims 2 is a real life simulator where the player controls the characters and aids them in living their lives day to day.

The game itself was released on a plethora of platforms, most notably the PC but also the Xbox, the Playstation 2, and Nintendo’s GameCube, Gameboy Advance, and DS. It was a commercial success, smashing records with its release, and sold over 13 million copies over all platforms by March 2012.

The Sims 2 allows the characters — the Sims — to age through life cycles, such as child, teen, and adult, with a 3D game engine. Players customize the Sims’ looks and personalities before throwing them into a world where they can get jobs, develop relationships, and grow old or die unfortunate premature deaths. The game allows the players to play the role of a god, choosing and manipulating every aspect of the Sims’ lives, or just letting the Sims choose their own fate however their personality dictates they would act.

Besides the base game, the Sims 2 had expansion packs to greatly expand the gameplay. For example, Pets included dogs and cats, Nightlife boasted clubs and a dating system, and Seasons brought weather to the Sims’ world. Expansions tended to bring new life forms for the Sims, such as PlantSims, Vampires, and Witches. Stuff Packs were also developed and sold separately, bringing new items to decorate the Sims’ world with.

Since then, the franchise has evolved to The Sims 3 and most recently The Sims 4, each bringing new content to the franchise. Despite initial glitches and problems with the games’ releases, the Sims franchise continues to be a success.

Have you ever played the Sims 2? What did you think of it?

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Rainway App

According to Nintendo News, there’s talk about this new app called Rainway for the Switch console. With this app, players will be able to stream their PC games directly onto the Switch console. There’s not much information regarding the app, but I thought it was an interesting find nonetheless. We’ve been getting into PC gaming a bit more lately, having a nice desktop and an almost-never used laptop for our PC games, but the thought of playing something like Stardew Valley on the Switch’s portable screen sounds like an interesting development.

Considering how heavy most gaming laptops are — as beautiful as they can be with their lovely graphics and sound systems — creating an app for the Switch that’ll showcase it’s portability seems like a good move by Nintendo. Rainway definitely seems like something we should keep our eye on. Not only that, but being able to dock the Switch and play the games on a larger television? That sounds good to us.

What do you all think of this idea? Are you excited about the prospect of playing PC games directly on the Switch, or are you good with your beloved gaming PC? If you don’t play PC games, does this kind of news think maybe you’ll start?

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Steam Haul

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’ve been getting so much snow this past week! I hope everyone else who may be getting hammered with snow are staying safe and warm.

On the bright side, snow days are one of the best excuses to play video games!

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My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I was graciously given a few gift cards for Steam, a platform that delivers tons of PC games right to your desktop. It’s a great place to find new games to try, with plenty from indie developers and a good handful even free to play. With the gaming laptop that we had bought off of a friend a few months ago, we figured it was about time to really get used to Steam.

I used up my gift cards to get three games that I’ve been looking forward to playing for a while now. The first was Batman: The Telltale Series which, lucky me, was half off for the weekend. Yay for video game sales! I haven’t tried out the visual novel just yet, but I’m excited to find a good hour or two to really get invested in the story.

The second was Stardew Valley, finally! The entire game — art, music, mechanics, characters, plot — was created by one person, and it utterly blows my mind. I played up to about a game’s week, and I’m enjoying the simple farming game. It’s reminiscent of the older Harvest Moon games, the ones where all you had to do was take care of and raise a farm, maybe get married if you wanted. The newer Harvest Moon games, while still enjoyable, are more goal-oriented, such as restoring entire towns and islands. Stardew Valley brings me back to the fun, simpler games that originally had gotten me into that franchise.

The third game is Death Road to Canada. It’s a zombie apocalypse survival game where the player controls a car full of people with different quirks and strengths on their journey from Florida in the U.S. to Canada, the last country standing against the zombies. Rachel and I made ourselves and, while we didn’t do too badly on our first run, we did end up dying before reaching Canada. I died first, then Rachel, and eventually the random NPC that we had picked up and a dog character croaked as well. It was entertaining!

Do any of you use Steam? Any favorite or recommended games? Have you played any of the three that I’ve mentioned above?

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Of Gaming Laptops

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday and new year, everyone! Here’s hoping that everyone is planning great things for 2017, both for personal and gaming goals!

 

A while ago, Rachel and I bought a barely used gaming laptop from a good friend for a very decent price. We’ve dabbled with it, mainly trying out Minecraft and downloading Steam, and we definitely have plans to use it more in the coming year.

Recently, I found an article describing a new concept laptop from the PC gaming company Razer: a 3-screen gaming laptop, and it looks gorgeous.

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Can you imagine setting this giant on your desk?

With each screen being 17 inches, you’re looking at 51 inches of 4K resolution screen to fully immerse yourself into World of Warcraft or the latest Marvel superhero movie (or, I dunno, have all the necessary programs up without needing to switch tabs to do your taxes, but that doesn’t sound as fun). According to Razer, it will also be able to handle virtual reality headsets, such as the HTC Vive.

At the moment, it’s still a concept laptop, so it’s a guess as to whether it will ever hit the markets. If and when it does, I’m sure this pretty laptop will cost a pretty penny, and probably won’t be too lightweight, either. Nevertheless, it’s fun to imagine how well the laptop will handle video games!

Of course, if you’re looking for a new gaming laptop right now, there’s the Acer Predator 21 X coming out in February. It’s the first gaming laptop with a 21-inch curved screen, but it’s a bit big to keep on your lap, considering it weighs about 20 pounds. Start saving your change now, though… This amazing piece of work costs about $9000! Still, it should pay for itself in spades with all of the specs crammed into it.

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Dive into Another World: MMORPGs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday and new year, everyone! Here’s hoping that everyone is planning great things for 2017, both for personal and gaming goals!

Rachel and I have been hard at work trying to improve this blog, to figure out bigger and better ways to connect to fellow gamers and writers. Because, honestly, isn’t that the point of gaming? Socializing and excitedly freaking out with your fellow nerds?

(Real talk, I’ve never understood where that old stereotype of gamers hanging out in the basement of their parents’ house alone came from.)

This year I would love to try my hand at more MMORPGs. Although they’re not required to enjoy the games, Rachel and I are comparing prices and reviews of microphones and headphones for such games so we can, you know, possibly communicate with other gamers (outside of the game’s chat system, of course).

I’m not entirely sure where to start. I used to play City of Heroes when it had been around, having tons of fun flying around, kicking butt, and teaming up with other players when I could. Back then, I was like Batman, working better alone if only due to my computer being just barely able to run the game. It wouldn’t have been fair to join a team of fellow superheroes only for my system to lag during an important battle.

Rachel and I were thinking of Lord of the Rings Online, figuring that it was a familiar enough franchise for us to dive into and play with each other. Star Trek Online is another world I would love to join. I would love to try perhaps World of Warcraft down the line, that kind of fantasy world being right up my alley. Overwatch is still on my list to play, too.

What about you out there — any MMORPGs that you enjoy playing? Any recommendations, for games or equipment?

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Creepers (and Skeletons) Be Creeping

Double Jump Kris MiiOctober is flying by, isn’t it? We’re already halfway done!

Rachel did a post about us getting Minecraft recently for a couple of our computers. While we haven’t played too much with it, we’re both enjoying it. This post is just about my perspective of the game.

Minecraft was never a game I was interesting in playing when it first appeared on the market. In fact, I thought it looked utterly ridiculous. I enjoy games that have compelling stories and characters with goals to head towards, with a healthy dose of exploration. Minecraft seemed to be all about exploration without an end in mind. I mean, sure, there were some boss characters that you could defeat, but there were so many loops and hurdles to go through in order to get to said bosses that it didn’t sound that enjoyable.

We only got mildly interested in the game due to some of our favorite YouTubers doing a Let’s Play series of the game. With the goal of defeating certain bosses, the YouTubers gave themselves the challenge of one life — once you died, you were out of the game. No respawns. It brought a sense of suspense, and it was helpful that the YouTubers are hilariously entertaining.

Anyway, while our XBox 360 version of the game wasn’t that great, we’ve been enjoying the computer version. And, surprisingly, Rachel and I aren’t falling into our usual co-op roles.

Usually, when Rachel and I play a game together, I’m the one diving into the fights, taking care of enemies, and moving forward. Rachel loves to collect the treasure and money, being sure that we leave no stone unturned (or, in the case of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, no pot unbroken) lest we miss something while exploring.

Minecraft, though? Here I go mining underground to explore the caves and see what kind of materials I can find for the crafting table and furnace, while Rachel is outside beating up skeletons and zombies. I thought I would be the one protecting our base while being ready to be blown up by creepers while Rachel takes care of the shelter, but it’s been the other way around. It’s definitely an interesting twist in our usual roles, and it signifies our growth, if you will, in playing games.

While I hope I’ll get used to the controls enough to jump into fights more often, switching up our usual roles is rather entertaining.

Friday Favorites: Sim Expansions

Double Jump Kris MiiAnyone else around here write? Rachel and I are avid writers as well as avid gamers. This month is Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the challenge to write 50k words (be they for a novel or a script or whatever) in a month. I’ve been doing well with mine but, well, I did something silly recently — I started playing the Sims again. Anyone who plays this franchise knows how addicting it can be! So, today I will be talking about my favorite expansion packs for the games, most of which are generic and have had some reincarnation for each of the Sims versions.

4. Seasons

Although sometimes the rain and snowstorms made the games run a bit slow, the season expansion packs were always a great addition to the games. The weather was a wonderful addition and, with Sims 3, the new social interactions and seasonal sports was awesome.

3. Nightlife/Late Night/Get Together

These expansion packs were lots of fun basically for the added content they gave the game. The new outfits were great, and they usually involved musical instruments as well. The band interactions were one of my favorite parts of Late Night for the Sims 3! More social interactions are always a plus in my book.

2. Ambitions

This Sims 3 expansion pack is near the top of the list mainly for the extended list of jobs that your sim could do. I wasn’t too thrilled with the “professions” aspect of the game, where you follow your sim around for their job rather than them disappearing into a rabbit-hole location, but the self-employed option was fantastic. I could have my sim-self be a successful writer instead of needing a desk job!

1. Pets

Anyone who knows me understands my four loves in life: writing, video games, chocolate, and animals. The Pets expansion pack for the Sims games were always my favorite if only because I could have adorable puppies and kittens to wreck havoc in my sims’ homes. Horses in the Sims 3 Pets expansion pack was an amazing bonus! Sims 4, I’m expecting great things from your Pets expansion pack!

Do you play the Sims? What’s your favorite part of the games?