The Kindred is a creative sandbox experience by indie developers Persistent Studios, with an emphasis on world building. This style of game has become particularly popular over recent years due to Minecraft leading the way for this kind of creative exploration in video games, however I believe there is enough in The Kindred to set it aside from this title and make it its own beast.
It unfortunately hasn’t taken me very long to mention ol’ Minecraft, because really comparison is something that cannot be avoided. The game involves many of the similar objectives that Minecraft presents players in building, acquiring resources and letting your creative impulses run wild. On a visual level also the blocky nature of the characters and the world around you is something that will immediately make you think of this title. So, what is to stop you from just playing Minecraft?
The Kindred is very much about starting a civilisation and community rather than being out in the world alone. You are tasked with providing roles for your characters to contribute to these endeavours which I think is a nice touch. You can task characters with being hunters, gatherers, builders, woodcutters, which does add a new dimension to a genre that is at risk of becoming repetitive.
I also found the game to be a very calming experience which made playing less of a chore and more fun in my exploration to create. This was achieved through the tranquil use of music in the game, the vibrant use of colour and also the act of building your civilisation without any real feeling of exterior threat. This was a welcome feature to the game, and the option to set your own difficulty and world size gives you the option to either challenge yourself with a large open world to best or sit back and play at your leisure.
The game uses elements from many different games and implements them to make it its own thing. It incorporates the civilisation building of Banished, farming that with its colourful and cartoony atmosphere reminded me of classic Harvest Moon, to create a relaxing experience focusing on the creative aspects of these games rather than the monotony of questing or grinding.
The game isn’t without its faults. I feel that the game would benefit from following a Sims style system of stacking tasks that your characters carry out, as it did feel confusing at first fully understanding who was carrying out what task and whether they were going to move onto other requests after this. I also feel that currently there isn’t too much feature-wise that does set it apart from its peers in this genre, as the concept of building and creating in a cube-tastic world isn’t something that is new to gaming. However, I do need to point out that this game is still in Alpha and Persistent Studios, being true to their name, have developed the game much in the time that it has been in this stage, listening to audience critique and praise, so I have no doubt that this game will only improve over time.
I recommend delving deeper into whether this game is for you given its current price and the stage that it is at, particularly as there are many games within this genre which may appeal more to to you or even offer you something similar. However, I will say that for its emphasis on creating a relaxing environment from which you are free to play and build; and the developers’ endeavours to continue to improve this game by listening to their audience, this is definitely a title to keep an eye on.
I give this game a 6.5/10 and recommend checking it out on Steam and their website for more information.