UK child health startup and game development studio Brightlobe has launched Kai’s Sanctuary in beta. It’s a mobile game specifically made to help children improve their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.

UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK fully funded the development. The game is already available for free in the App Store, with the Google Play release scheduled for early November 2020. The devs emphasize that Kai’s Sanctuary features no hidden costs and no in-app purchases.

Kai’s Sanctuary Trailer

Kai’s Sanctuary offers a wide range of gamified exercises based on published clinical research on mindfulness CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). According to the press release, “Kai’s Sanctuary features a stunning feature set such as calming yoga exercises with a guru sloth, full body scanning games, deep breathing exercises with virtual creatures, and digital emotional assessment exercises, and soon to be added AR (Augmented Reality) adventures.” Kai, the game’s protagonist, is an apprentice healer who works in a futuristic sanctuary that takes in sick or wounded guardians. The guardians are protectors of children in a world inspired by an original children’s novel written by Brightlobe CEO and Founder Shivani Lamba.

As psychotherapist Jane O’Rourke claims, “Over 80% of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health. Children are feeling increasingly lonely and anxious, with a third unable to access the support they need. With Kai’s Sanctuary’s app exercises, children can build a sense of self-agency so they feel more in control of their anxiety.”

Kai’s Sanctuary is the first game from Brightlobe. The studio is currently working on the world’s first game-based developmental assessment platform. It will offer parents and physicians key insights into a child’s trajectory to inform interventions for conditions like ADHD and autism. The new product platform is due out in 2021.

Last year, Shivani Lamba, Brightlobe founder and CEO, wrote a piece on the so-called “serious games.” These are games that have an application beyond play and entertainment. According to Shivani, adding the serious gaming model to their existing titles can allow studios to diversify revenue streams by unlocking new markets.