For the last couple of years, every few weeks or so I try to go through the Steam store and look for any games that I hadn’t seen advertised everywhere, but look interesting. It was around the time that I started doing this , that I began to develop a deep love for Indie games (games that are released without the financial support of a large publisher). With that new found love, I have picked up such gems as Gang Beasts, Nidhogg, and Don’t Starve, and the best part is that Indie games are often multiplayer, and usually lighter on the wallet than AAA titles.

This week I picked up a few games, but the specific game I am going to focus on is Kindergarten, an 8 bit art style game created by Connor Boyle and Sean Young. In Kindergarten, you take the role of a new student in a small classroom of 7 children, and partake in everyday school activities such as recess, show and tell, and watching the entire class die off one by one (okay maybe not everyday school activities). So the game does get a little gory at some points, but it is more of a fun South Park style gore than a horror movie gore.

The game is a story puzzle game that is played over a one school day period with multiple paths. The characters in the game are; Bugg the bully, Cindy the mean girl,  nugget the weird kid, Monty the resourceful nerd, Jerome the cool kid, Lily, the shy girl, the hall monitor,  the principal, the lunch lady, the janitor, and the teacher. Each student has a story path that you must compete while interacting with these other characters to unlock an item, and some of the stories interweave throughout the day.

So far, I have played three different paths in the game, and it took me quite a while to complete them. Let’s take Cindy’s path for example, which probably took me the longest. Sure, at the beginning it seems easy, she wants me to be her new boyfriend, and all I have to do is stick gum in Lily’s hair, and then play house with her, and then have lunch with her, and then continue to tease Lily, and there you go, she gives me a flower. Totally easy, until I mention how many times she stabbed me in the forehead because I said the wrong thing, or when the janitor beat me to death because he found me in his room, or when Bugg kills me because I showed the flower she gave me at show and tell, or how Cindy dumped me because I didn’t show her flower at show and tell. Every single decision you make throughout the day matters.

What Kindergarten Does Right:

  • The story puzzles are difficult, but not hard enough that you feel like giving up.
  • The humour is refreshing, even if it is a tad dark.
  • The art style will make you feel like you are playing an NES game, but with a teacher with giant boobs.

What Kindergarten Could Have Done Better:

  • I would have liked to see the days progress as opposed to playing the same day over and over. It is strange having the characters not remember all you did for them the day before, like you are stuck in Groundhog Day.

Now usually I write more under what could be done better, but since not only is this game still in early access, but it is only $5.49, I am going to cut them some slack. Overall, Kindergarten is a great, lighthearted indie puzzle game that absolutely needs to be experienced. So the next time you are scrolling through Steam, support an indie developer and grab this game.

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