All gacha game boys and romanceable RPG party members, please exit the stage—there’s a new best boy of gaming and he’s from a survival and crafting game, of all things. Sons of the Forest’s faithful companion Kelvin is now my favorite NPC.
After a helicopter crash dumped us unceremoniously on the island, I found Kelvin struggling nearby and quickly assessed that he seemed to have escaped a brain injury but had ruptured his eardrums and couldn’t hear. My instinct to protect Kelvin piqued. Since he can’t hear, I communicate with him by writing in a notebook, giving commands like “follow me” or “collect sticks and bring them to me.” He’s a handy little worker bee whose real purpose is to assuage the boredom of those typical early survival game tasks. But Kelvin is so much more than my personal lumber-butler.
Here are some things Kelvin is good at:
- Fishing with his bare hands and dumping them in a pile
- Seeing danger and sprinting in the opposite direction
- Cutting down trees, including the one your treehouse is in
- Taking his union-mandated breaks (when you give him permission)
- Giving a little wave that will melt your heart
Within half an hour, I became fiercely protective of Kelvin. I’ll fight a cannibal that gets too close, even if they haven’t noticed him. I’ll walk to the other side of a river any time he’s struggling to pathfind to me because otherwise he’ll sprint very far away in confusion. I’ll watch his little pip on my GPS when he’s out of sight with the anxiety of a first-time mom.
Kelvin is not a dog. He is not a toddler. But my friends and I have been cheering on every one of his little feats as if he were. He runs with small, fast-paced little steps. He tosses items you request exactly where he’s told (what a smart boy). He smiles in a dazed, happy-to-be-here way, and look at how good he is at fishing.
And that’s the best part: Kelvin really is a good AI helper. I mean sure, sometimes he does self-sabotage a little. But I hate fishing in games and he easily saves me from the dread of it by coaxing six fish out of a stream in two minutes. He spares me hacking my way through scrub pines for sticks by tossing them helpfully at my feet. He won’t come into the deep dark caves to help me fight monsters, but I don’t begrudge him that. I had fully expected my automated buddy to be more of a hassle than he was worth but Kelvin proved me wrong while wearing a dopey smile.
And I’m not his only fan: One day in, players are tripping over themselves with praise and tributes to Kelvin, who’s easily the most-talked-about subject of this early access survival game. “Protect Kelvin at all costs,” they say and “I absolutely love this guy” all while cackling as loudly as I have been.
Do not kill Kelvin. He’s the darling of survival games now.
He’s the only thing that matters#sonsoftheforest #kelvin pic.twitter.com/9bWBwud1i7February 24, 2023
KELVIN APPRECIATION THREAD GO!gotta be one of my favorite sons of the forest NPCs pic.twitter.com/nlbvbWnbpXFebruary 24, 2023