“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
Chill Panda is a wholesome and family-friendly adventure game set in Chill Ville! Players take on the role of Chill Panda to find hidden objects, play mini-games, complete quests and learn how to relax!
Developer: CGA Studio
Released: 14th December 2020
Price: Free with in-app-purchases – £15.49
Chill Panda eases the player into the game with short, linear series of quests beginning with fixing the Well of Wellbeing and visiting the chill, do and play zones! The chill zone offers a couple of different breathing techniques to help lower heart rate (it worked!), the do zone offers warm-up exercises, poga or a five-minute workout to help improve well-being and the play zone includes colouring in and mini-games such as a matching pairs memory game to help reduce anxiety. There are also regular troughs where chill panda can drink some water, a casual reminder for the player to do the same.
The Well of Wellbeing indicates how good Chill Panda feels and can be filled by completing quests for other local pandas, visiting the different zones and doing activities it can be filled once per day and doing so grants a reward, for example, the first time it is filled it grants access to a new area, the beach! Quests are quite wholesome and involve doing things like cleaning up the local pond and helping somebody start the fire in their home, which involves another breathing technique. Other activities that will fill the well include things such as completing a maze, or running a race, after some real-life warm-up exercises of course!
Chill Panda also has their own house in which all of the colouring in pictures are displayed, there are also options to buy furniture with coins that can be collected while exploring. Items for the park can also be purchased and upgraded. In addition, there is a flower garden that can be planted and tended to and a wardrobe where Chill Panda’s outfit can be changed slightly.
The game is definitely designed with a younger audience in mind, everything is explained clearly and succinctly and nothing in the game is particularly challenging, including the physical exercises which are mostly stretches. There is also a ‘quick chill’ mode in which the chill, do and play zones can be accessed independently and just used as tools on their own.
Unfortunately, when frequenting the do zones, sometimes Chill Panda’s animations would freeze making it hard to recognise what action the player is meant to be copying. It is also possible to get stuck in the memory game in quick chill mode and there was a fair bit of screen tearing going on with no graphic setting available in the options. Luckily these issues didn’t effect game saves or impact enjoyment too much but they are worth being aware of. The controls are a little unconventional and take a bit of getting used to and it is clear from the camera, visuals and some of the instructions that it was originally designed as a mobile application.
Narrative and Styling
The simple premise behind the game is that the young Chill Panda is about to go out into the world but is worried about exploring their own. It is the player’s job to monitor and look after their well-being. This makes up the bulk of the minimal narrative elements with the addition of a few tidbits of story about NPCs.
Simple 3D models, cute characters, Traditional Chinese architecture and super vibrant colours make up Chill Pandas jolly aesthetic which is matched well by the relaxing background music and simple ambient sound effects such as birds chirping. The overall effect is simultaneously very upbeat and calming.
Chill Panda is a very wholesome game and does a nice job of encouraging mindfulness and trying to teach children about self-care and emotional and physical well-being in a fun and accessible way. It offers ways to relax and have fun, calming audio and colourful visual elements as well as being full of heartfelt messages and ideologies such as remembering to check up on friends!
However, there is quite the variation in price tag depending on which platform one chooses to purchase the game but this review is based on the PC version which is perhaps a little overpriced for the current amount of content and the slightly unpolished feel. I do recommend this game but I would definitely suggest getting it on sale if possible.
EDIT/UPDATE: Since this review published the price of the game on PC has dropped from £15.49 and is now £11.39 which I think is entirely reasonable for the content. I have also been reliably informed that updates and bug fixes are coming.
For more wholesome gaming why not check out the following article:
10 Uplifting Games for Self Care and Mental Wellbeing