Welcome to this week’s installment of F2P Friday, where we highlight our favorite Free-2-Play games. The video game market is oversaturated, and sometimes hidden gems can fall through the cracks. This is where we do all the digging for you and feature a new F2P game every week that we know you will enjoy. Let’s dive in!

Kinoko

The forest spirit looking over a flower he planted in Kinoko.

The Basics

Kinoko is a beautiful mix of simple yet rewarding gameplay and a beautiful environment to explore. It is a student project from the team Thunderlime and released on PC through Steam in July of 2020. Players guide the forest spirit in his task to clear the winter snow as spring begins to emerge. Through exploring the world the player will find one of three different small puzzles to interact with. The entire opening zone serves to teach the player just how to interact with each puzzle. This includes clearing snow piles using the forest spirit’s staff, shaking snow out of trees, or planting new life.

Once all of the tasks in one area are cleared, the player can activate platforms that guide them to the next area. As Kinoko progresses, the zones become larger. The number of each task needed grows along with an increased difficulty in finding them. This sends players down winding paths and into valleys searching for their next task. When the player finally completes all of their tasks and reaches the final plateau, they are treated to a beautiful cinematic of the forest spirit fully welcoming spring.

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Why You Should Play

It doesn’t always take a AAA game to have an impact on a player. In fact, I find that many indie games have so much heart it is impossible to ignore how beautiful they are. Kinoko may not have nail biting game play or an overly emotional story that will have grown men crying, but it has heart. The story of the small forest spirit working hard to help clear the last remaining reminiscence of snow is so pleasing. With each task, the green beneath begins to peek through, showing us what is under the cold surface.

Thunderlime did a terrific job in both the music and art department to bring this small world to life. The third person over the shoulder helps the player feel more immersed within the world. During my gameplay I found myself stopping and just letting the world take me in. Even though the game can be completed in under 20 minutes, I felt like I wanted to spend a lifetime roaming the islands. And might I add my favorite part of the entire game? The small little animation of our forest spirit gripping his hat as he runs to keep it from blowing away. Truly priceless.

 

 

Julia Roth
Catch Me