Kimmy is a visual novel in which you spend a summer babysitting and teaching local kids to play games. There’s a warm and timeless feel to the setting, although certain details firmly root the action in 1968, like discussing who has a TV and what’s on at the cinema. Narrative themes including love, honesty and racism are touched on, but really this is the story of an unlikely, but very important, friendship. Although the characters are children, you might want to play through yourself, before deciding whether your children should play.
Pre-teen Dana, having been told that babies are given by God, mistakes a young girl on the street as a baby for her. She organises to look after Kimmy over several days and the player navigates four locations, choosing which of the neighbourhood groups to spend time with. You don’t actually play the games you’re sharing, like hopscotch and apple bobbing, you just buy the items required and describe them accurately to proceed. Each simple, but compelling, kid will tell you about their life, from the girl who loves animals to the harsh bully.
Sometimes, you’ll get a cutscene between days to advance the main plot. At one point a character mentioned a detail about someone that I hadn’t noticed. I immediately went to look at screenshots I’d taken of the game and realised they were correct. This story is framed as a mystery, but it’s also quite transparently obvious as to what is happening. Player agency and lack of control are nicely balanced. As told by young characters, don’t expect complicated or inspiring dialogue, but it is a story worth hearing.