Houseplant game Kinder World blends play with science-backed self-care

Like a crossing between Tamagotchi and a mindfulness app, Kinder World is a game that invites players to decorate a calm interior and care for virtual houseplants. Unlike Tamagotchi's potentially short-lived pets or fussy physical figs and ferns, Kinder World comes with the reassuring promise that its plants will never die. This game isn't about achieving or competing — the goal is to relax and unwind.

Players nurture their potted plants by taking care of themselves through short and simple exercises like naming emotions, recalling a pleasing scent and other activities that are scientifically proven to improve mental wellbeing. Users aren't required to follow those prompts every time they play; they can also just water their plants, collect new ones and watch them grow.

Kinder World was built by female-founded game studio Lumi Interactive, which is based in Naarm (Melbourne) and just raised USD 6.75 million in a funding round led by a16z.

Trend Bite

Apps and games can be hard to put down. No wonder, since most are deliberately designed to hook our attention for as long as possible.

Kinder World's guide is Samy, a fluffy white dog in a straw hat who gently nudges users to do the opposite: "I'm sure you have things to get to as well, so don't worry about spending too much time here. Your plants only need a few moments of care twice a day — once in the morning and once at night!"

The experience is akin to short-play games like Wordle and its many offshoots, where limited use is built-in. As awareness of screen time's detrimental effects grows, opportunities abound for tech that's consciously created to be unsticky. And even, like Kinder World, conceived to do the mind good.

Innovation of the day

For more concrete examples of brands equipping people with the mental tools they need to thrive, check out our MINDCRAFT trend briefing.

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