Hi, I’m Kayleigh. I enjoy RPGs, love a good horror game, and avoid things that make me go ‘eww, feelings.’ Well, I do love Life is Strange, but that’s something of an enigma in my gaming repertoire, and I tend to avoid wholesome games that give you that warm fuzzy feeling. I’m a superhero, Pokémon, Resident Evil, Dark Souls, Mass Effect, Fallout, The Simpsons, and Crash Bandicoot (to name a few) kind of girl. None of those evoke tears, and outside of LiS, I’ve not played a game that impacted me in such a way for some time.
2023 changed that, for at Gamescom I got to experience 20 minutes with Song of Nunu, a game that instantly intrigued me. I enjoyed a bit of League of Legends back in the day and even spent a fair few hours in Wild Rift, but I never played as Nunu and Willump because I hate being a jungler. As such, I missed out on the wholesome goodness that surrounds these two.
My intrigue led to my Song of Nunu review in which I state that this game is essentially my Grinch moment. ‘Help me, I’m feeling’ became my mantra throughout my time with the game. Now, I’m not entirely heartless, for, like I said, I adore Life is Strange and can open my heart to any game with a strong narrative (though it certainly helps if I get to slay some fools and bash some skulls – looking at you, God of War), but I don’t typically go for warm and fuzzy feeling titles. Song of Nunu is certainly a wholesome game that may have passed me by had it not been a LoL game, and what a tragedy that would be.
Within minutes of diving in, I could feel my heart swelling with warmth; the profound friendship between Nunu and Willump is a joy to behold. The second you step out of that cave at the beginning of the game, Willump throws a snowball at his buddy, giving a ferocious belly laugh that leaves me with no choice but to join in.
While family and friendship play a part in some games I play (you can’t beat the reapers without a little help from your friends, after all), few of them emphasize those dynamics like Song of Nunu does. Not only is his unlikely friendship with Willump at the forefront of this adventure, so is his love for his mum, as the pair embark on a quest to find her. As someone who doesn’t have her mum around anymore, the story of Song of Nunu touches me in a way that just one other game has managed to do – Life is Strange: True Colors (you can read more of my thoughts on that in our Life is Strange: True Colors review).
Watching Nunu speak to his mum in his dreams is almost therapeutic for me, considering I do the same thing occasionally. On that level, this wholesome game speaks to me in a way I wasn’t expecting, but it doesn’t make me sad. Instead, I look on with a tender smile and determination to reunite this young boy with his mum.
Luckily for me, a certain Yeti wants to make this happen for his friend, too, and that leads me to what truly made this wholesome game melt my heart. It’s the jovialness of the journey. From snowball fights, playing music, dancing, and listening to two friends joke around, to riding Willump down a mountain, it all gives me such a carefree feeling, something I don’t often feel when playing games.
Games are a great escape from reality for me, but, believe it or not, they rarely make me feel like a kid again – even the ones I played in my youth. I return to Crash Bandicoot games and fall down every hole I come across – I didn’t do that as a kid. It leaves me so bitter as I’m sure I must have had super gaming powers that I have since lost (I still love you, Crash). Song of Nunu, on the other hand, makes me feel like I’m ten years old again. The world is huge, beautiful, and I’m having fun with my best pal.
It’s endearing, and it has me wondering what other experiences I may have missed out on due to my avoidance of ‘feelings.’ Perhaps I’ll make it my New Year’s resolution to try more cute games like this. Then again, new games that fit into my usual repertoire are constantly coming out, and I still need to complete Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, so who really knows when I’ll next experience some wholesome goodness? Unless my annual visit with Geralt counts. In which case, our games like The Witcher 3 list is full of such titles.