At a time when warm, cozy, and feel-good content seems few and far between, Wholesome Games showcases more than 70 indie games packaged in a familiar Nintendo-style event aptly named “Wholesome Direct” last June 12.
With its aspiration to present indie games beyond the niche and puzzle game market, the Wholesome Games community seeks to indulge the industry’s attention that there’s a myriad of other games away from the heavily marketed ones with graphically detailed worlds and serious themes and narratives.
The presentation clocked at around an hour, doubling the 30-minute event in last year’s Direct highlighting new and upcoming indie games that stay true with the community’s celebration and promotion of ‘wholesome games’ that are good for the soul.
‘Bird Problems’ (Wishlist now on Steam)
Complete with a laugh track and cheery background music, Bird Problems is a sitcom-based narrative game about a canary off to make friends and enjoy cold drinks.
Recolit is an adventure game set in a mysterious town that unfolds its secrets, as you use items illuminated by light to progress in the story.
Snacko is a farming cat-venture slated for Steam and Nintendo Switch release in 2022.
‘Alekon’ (Available now on Steam)
Let your creative juices flow in this photo journey game, Alekon, to capture wacky characters and befriending all of them to play unique minigames and host parties.
‘A Little to the Left’ (Oct 21, 2021 release date on Steam)
A Little to the Left is a puzzle game that presents slightly eschewed everyday items like a crooked picture that needs your help organizing.
‘Ooblets’ (Port Forward Update available now on Steam)
Continue your farm life along with these friendly creatures knows as Ooblets as the new Port Forward update becomes available on Steam today.
‘Spirit Swap’ (2022)
Spirit Swap is an action-puzzle, title matching game set in a rich world of spirits, accompanied by a chill vibe of lo-fi music, perfect in a single session or play with friends.
‘Behind the Frame’ (Coming Soon)
Guide the journey of this aspiring painter in Behind the Frame as she reveals emotional connections within the artworks while on her path in creating a masterpiece… and staving off her pesky cat.
‘Skatebird’ (Coming Soon)
In Skatebird, pull off tricks and kick flips as a bird on a skateboard game that presents a more accessible way to shred your way to success.
‘Here Comes Nikko!’ (Coming Soon)
A 3-D platformer from Tired People. A colorful world and a band of interesting creatures is coming soon to Steam and Switch.
If you love tea and cats, Pekoe is the game for you. Settle in a cozy tea making simulator in a world of cats as the town’s new tea maker. You’ll learn the nuances of tea making along with the different personalities of the townspeople.
‘Lake’ (September 1, 2021)
Play as Meredith Weiss in Lake as she puts her big city life on hold to return to her hometown to be a mail carrier.
‘Yokai Inn’ (In development)
Filled with tons of personality, Yokai Inn is a retro-style inn simulator that lets you build relationships with various animal creatures that frequents your place of work.
‘Mythic Ocean’ (Coming soon)
Meet the gods and explore the vast aquatic world of Mythic Ocean coming soon on multiple platforms.
‘Kokopa’s Atlas’ (Wishlist on Steam)
Journey on an uncharted planet with Kokopa’s Atlas to uncover a beautiful world and untold secrets.
‘Button City’ (Q3 2021)
This adorable furry ensemble of Button City is a narrative driven game filled with cartoon-style visuals and minigames.
‘Letters’ (Q4 2021)
Developed by 5am Games, join Sara as she finds her voice with the use of words in Letters that determines changes in the story based on how you influence Sara’s writing.
‘Loddlenaut’ (Coming soon)
Play the role of a futuristic diver in Loodlenaut tasked to clean the bottom of the ocean and make sea critters safe in their habitat again.
Here are some of the other games showcased and announced during the presentation:
- Hot Pot for One (Available Now)
- Garden Story (Coming to Steam 2021)
- Tracks of Thought (Demo available on Steam)
- Beast of Maravilla Island ( Available Now)
- Hoa (August 21, 2021)
- We Are OFK (Available on Steam)
- Paralives (Support on Patreon)
- KeyWe (August 31, 2021)
- Walk With Yiayia (TBD)
- Dordogne 1982 (2021)
- The Gecko Gods (Soon on Steam)
- Behind the Twilight Tasomachi (Coming to consoles on 2021)
- Please be Happy (Demo available now)
- Witchy Life Story (2022)
- Battle Cakes – Explore an enchanted kingdom in this turn-based RPG with adorable cupcakes as your party members.
- Bear & Breakfast (Coming soon)
- Passapartourt 2 (Coming soon)
- Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan (Coming soon)
- Unpacking (Q4 on Steam)
- Soup Pot (Q3 2021 on Steam)
- Cloud Jumper (Wishlist on Steam)
- Teacup (Q3 2021)
- Moonglow Bay (Coming soon to multiple platforms)
- Pupperazzi (Coming soon)
- Luna’s Fishing Garden (October 21, 2021)
- Witchery Academy (Coming to Steam and Nintendo Switch)
- Amber Isle (Coming Soon)
- Woodo (2022)
- Wytchwood (Q4 2021 on Steam)
- Moonshell Island (TBD on Steam)
- Frogsong (2022)
- Lego Builder’s Journey (June 22, 2021)
- Clawfish (Available on Steam)
- PowerWash Simulator
- Book of Travels (Wishlist on Steam)
- Toodee and Topdee (Wishlist on Steam)
- The Garden Path (Wishlist on Steam)
- Venba (Wishlist on Steam)
- The Outbound Ghost (Coming to kickstarter)
- The Magnificent Trufflepigs (Available now)
- Fossil Corner (Available on Steam)
- Dreamland Confectionery (Coming soon to Steam)
- Freshly Frosted (Wishlist on steam)
- APICO (wishlist on Steam)
- Cat Designer Mocha (Coming soon)
- Lonefarm (Coming soon to Steam)
- Shashingo (Coming soon to Steam)
- RoboCo (Coming soon to Steam)
- Kotodama Diary (Coming Soon)
- Co-open (Available on Itch.co)
- Cat Café Manager (Wishlist on Steam)
- Game Director Story (Wishlist on Steam)
- Princess Farmer ( Wishlist on Steam)
- KreatureKind (Support on Patreon)
- Seasonspree (Wishlist on Steam)
- Fire Tonight (Q3 Steam)
- Floppy Knights (Wishlist on Steam)
Paired with upbeat background music throughout the event, this year’s Wholesome Games Direct further encapsulates that not all potential Game of the Year candidates rely on powerhouse graphics and continuous frames on the screen. Video games as a medium can deliver the promise of enjoyable content and emotional complexities as long as the developer is committed to it.
(Images from Wholesome Games Direct)