The Wholesome Games Direct showed off a lot of new and interesting indie games, and we’ve rounded them all up into one simple summary for you to peruse.
With no further ado, let’s get into it. From developer Subliminal Game, Button City is a vibrant world of anthropomorphic animals, and though they don’t live on islands, they live in pretty dioramas for the players to scroll through. The characters are a group of young friends seeking to save their local arcade from shutting down, and the game promises ‘90s goodness in aesthetics and hijinks galore. It’ll launch in this year.
Errand Boy is actually a game about the apocalypse. In this dying world, the protagonist Watt tries to help everyone he meets, and attempts to “find meaning in his last days.” There is combat and puzzles to solve, and the muted shades of the world are a little reminiscent of Twilight Princess. Tree Interactive states that this game will launch in Q2 2021.
Glumberlands’ Ooblets will enter early access soon, and if you’re a fan of Pokémon, Animal Crossing, and/or Stardew Valley, you’ll want to keep tabs on this one. The titular Ooblets are little creatures grown in the player’s garden. They have their own personality and abilities, and engage in dance battles with other teams of Ooblets. Plus, there’s loads of customisation in this game, from the player’s appearance to their home, and a comedic cast of characters in this fantasy land. The studio says it’s coming “pretty soon” to PC and Xbox One.
Kind Words released last year, and it’s about sending and receiving letters from players all over the world to help them with their worries. It’s a cathartic means of communication and connection in especially stressful times, and developer Ziba Scott revealed that more than one million letters have been written in the game. A new room, new toys, and new stickers are available now in the game, as an expression of the developer’s gratitude.
An adventure and farming simulator game, Snacko merges 2D pixel art with soft 3D art on a mysterious and supposedly deserted island. Momo and Mikan, the city cats, will farm, fish, and explore the island to discover its secrets. It’s almost like a quieter Stardew Valley, and the cats will be able to harvest crops to turn into livestock feed, and grow their community. The Kickstarter for the game is live now, and developer Bluecurse Studios is targeting a launch for next year.
Chicory: A Colorful Tale looks like it’s been lifted from a children’s colouring book, and honestly, that’s not too far off the premise of the game. Chicory is a famously talented artist with a magical paintbrush which gives the world colour. One day, Chicory goes missing, and the colours of the world fade. The player will take on the role of Chicory’s number one fan, and go on an adventure to colour the world and find out what happened to the artist. Chicory: A Colorful Tale is in development for PC.
In The Spirit and the Mouse, a mouse and a ghost restore power to homes in a small French village. We don’t know a lot about this game, other than it’s a short exploration game and it will release in 2021. However, it’s got that je ne sais quoi of early adventure games for PC, and its soundtrack is wonderfully melancholic.
Spiritfarer is a management game about helping souls cross the other side. The art is frankly jaw-dropping, and the game is all about exploration and connection across mystical seas with those who must move on. Thunder Lotus says Spiritfarer will arrive later this year for Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Sayri: The Beginning is set on an alien planet, where the young Sayri has been severed from their homeworld. The player will encounter friends and foes alike, and teamwork and telekinetic abilities will let them solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. The game will come to PC in Q4 2020.
Much like Megaquarium or Two Point Hospital, Mondo Museum is a similar simulation game, but players will own a museum to construct and curate. Its early access period will go live later this year, and you can bet I will be the first in line. “Fill your exhibit halls with extraordinary artefacts, hire staff to keep things running smoothly, and do everything you can to expand your visitors’ horizons and blow their minds in Mondo Museum,” said Kitfox Games.
Bird Alone looks like a postcard from an art gallery, but the squawks from the game’s titular character will soon shatter that illusion. The parrot is only a little lonely, and wants a companion to chat to in the wake of the uncertainty all around them. You can’t fault them for being noisy. This looks like a game for smartphones, and it’s launching “quite soon.”
A cheerful life sim following a young girl studying the arcane arts, Little Witch in the Woods is coming to PC in 2021. “Make potions, study magical creatures, and help the local townspeople in Ellie’s journey to become a full-fledged witch,” read the description from developer Sunny Side Up. Plus, that pastelised pixel style? It’s gorgeous.
Something We Made’s TOEM is a game about photography, and more specifically, it’s about photography of TOEM. This is a strange environmental phenomena that occurs in a world inspired by Scandinavian landscape. The protagonist will set out on their journey, and meet new people and help them with their worries. TOEM shows off various locations with their own sights and architecture, and you can talk to a sock with buttons for eyes. This game will launch in Q1 2021.
Winding Worlds is out now for iOS through the Apple Arcade, from developer KO_OP. The heroine, Willow, will do her best to let her friends heal and move on from their experiences, with a little help from a cosmic worm. Puzzles and mysteries abound, and something tells me there’s more to Willow than meets the googly eye.
Tokotoko: Hako & Friends is an augmented reality game about solving puzzles with your own drawings to help Hako find the missing Tokotokos. If you’ve got little ones in lockdown, this looks like a creative and constructive game for them to play, and to get to grips with technology to boot. And, it’s out now for iOS and Android.
Mojiken Studio is developing When the Past was Around and A Space for the Unbound, which offer heartwarming stories about human connection. When the Past was Around is a bittersweet exploration of two people’s lives together, solving puzzles across time and space. A Space for the Unbound is a story about overcoming anxiety, depression, and the relationship between childhood sweethearts with supernatural powers which may just save the world.
A serene multiplayer RPG, Book of Travels is set in a moody fantasy world where players may explore the possibilities of non-linear storytelling together. This will launch in October 2020 for PC.
Developed by Picogram, Garden Story is a chirpy and cheerful adventure game about restoring life to an island in need of TLC. As the island’s Guardian, the player must nurture and protect its inhabitants, and become stronger for a shared future. The developer is still working on the game, but those intrigued by its fruity cast of characters should keep a look out for further updates.
Another offering from KO_OP, Dépanneur Nocturne is about finding the perfect gift for your girlfriend… only you’re not sure what that is yet. When the character encounters a kooky store open at this hour of the night, the player will solve puzzles, explore the depths of the shop, and generally make a nuisance of themselves until the perfect gift leaps out. I mean, it might do. The game is out now for PC.
Calico is a slice of life simulation game all about rebuilding and restoring the town’s cat café. Oh, and, there are magical girls, rideable giant cats, and cake decorating mini games. Calico is coming to PC and consoles in October 2020.
In Rainy Season, a family is hunkered down at home while a thunderstorm rages around their four walls. The child, pattering about the house, discovers a friendly monster sat watching telly in one of the rooms. “Listen to the rain, spend time with your family, and see for yourself how an ordinary day can lead to extraordinary moments,” said developer Inasa Fujio. The game comes to PC in summer 2020.
In Wayward Strand, Casey Beaumaris is an intrepid teenage journalist who visits an airborne hospital in 1970s Australia. Her conversations with patients and staff will give her invaluable insight to memories and experiences. The game is coming to PC this year.
This isn’t even the end of all of the games shown in the Direct, as we got a quickfire showcase of another 30 small wholesome games. KeyWe, Tracks of Thought, Melon Journey 2, Weaving Tides, A Fold Apart, SkateBIRD, Unpacking, Sylvan Meadows, Haven, Tracks - scifi pack DLC, Frogsong, Later Daters, Clouzy!, Creature Resort, Pushy and Pully in Blockland, Onsen Master, Old Friends Dog Sanctuary, Critter Cove, Roots of Pacha, A Monster’s Expedition, The Other Side, Battlecakes, Alchemic Cutie, Pekoe, Ollie-Oop, To The Rescue!, Rolling Hills, Himig, Orange Island, Misc., and Hoa were all featured too. The official Wholesome Games Direct website has extra information on these that wasn’t stated in the Direct.
If you made it all the way down here, then high-five. I’m going to get myself a coffee, but make it wholesome.