News Of A Whopping 77 'Wholesome Games' Just Dropped, But We Think You'll Love These 26

The Summer Game Fest cute-overload includes some games that aren’t about farming!

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A triptych shows three scenes from newly revealed indie games.
Image: Cosy Computer / Antfood / Raw Fury / Kotaku

The annual Wholesome Direct stream always brings with it the same question: What exactly is a wholesome game? Well, if this year’s batch is any indication, it’s a game with a cartoony font where an animal or witch runs a farm on an island. More generally, it’s about games where the emphasis is on comfort rather than concern. Antagonists take a backseat, and you’re more likely to be bringing people together, rather than breaking them into bits. 77 games in one hour!

Wholesome Direct

There are a fair-few fascinating-looking games to discover within the Direct, and we’re going to highlight them for you here. God bless you if you are looking for a witch-based farming/cooking sim to accompany those already released in the last three months—like Homestead Arcana, Sun Haven, and The Witch of Fern Island, all while you’re waiting for Chucklefish’s Witchbrook—because you’ve now got Wylde Flowers, Grimoire Groves, Fields of Mistria, Garden Witch Life and Magical Delicacy. If you’re less fussy, and can tolerate your farming sims without witches, then you can get lost within Botany Manor, Garden Life, Garden Buddies, Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life

The Big Wholesome Game News

However, scattered within were a good mix of other ideas. And perhaps two big headlines: Firstly, there’s a new game coming from Studio Inkyfox, the team behind the beloved Omno. It’s called Kibu, and it’s about…OK, it’s about farming. By an animal. On an island. But it looks beautiful, and you play as what looks like a red panda in an autumnal world, where you mine, farm and…practice martial arts? This is just-announced, so details will likely appear soon.


The other is Beastieball, a new game from Wishes Unlimited, the loose team behind Chicory and Wandersong, which is a—wait for it—a turn-based volleyball game played by Pokémon-likes! The creatures even evolve! They don’t battle through violence, but rather by hoofing a ball back-and-forth across a high net, all presented like a cartoony RPG. So very yes.

However, the one we’re most immediately excited about? Snufkin: Melody of Moominvalley!


If you were never lucky enough to have the Moomins be a part of your childhood, it’s not too late. Get the books! The creation of Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson, these hippo-cow creatures were always so spooky, their melancholic stories always existing right on the edge of darkness, and now that’s looking to be realized in Snufkin. The titular character here is best friends with Moomintroll (the main protagonist of the books), a philosophical traveler who wanders the lands, playing his harmonica, and thinking deep thoughts. He’s stoic, entirely independent, and makes for such a great choice as the player character.

Raw Fury

Wholesome and wholly different

Another game that stood out from the pastel flowerbeds was Mars First Logistics, revealed to be coming out as soon as June 22. It’s all about transporting cargo around the surface of Mars, rendered in a superb combination of architectural line drawings and cheerful cartoons.

If you watch the trailer below, you’ll get a much better idea of just how involved this process is, building vehicles out of component parts, either following plans or imagining your own. It’s Lego Technic, but on Mars! Ooh, and it has a co-op mode too, which could be so much fun.

Shape Shop

But what about the opposite or growing or serving food? What about stealing food? Surely that’s not the way of a wholesome game? Well, it is if you’re a possum. That’s Pizza Possum, a hide-and-seek arcade game of thieving marsupials versus furious guard dogs.

Cosy Computer

It’s not all forthcoming games in a Wholesome Direct. Alongside a couple that were surprise-announced to be available as out right now, a few have already released. That includes the spectacular-looking Toasterball, a game about playing volleyball, but with toasters. Yes! This is why we wholesome!

Les Crafturs

Arriving in pairs

How about a couple of train games? They absolutely couldn’t be more different. First, and most strikingly, is Station to Station. As it happens, we mentioned this voxel-based train sim in a recent Indiegeddon, but it’s brilliant to see even more of it—and learn that there’s a demo on Steam. It’s just breathtakingly pretty and has an emphasis on being relaxing, rather than taxing.


A completely different train-themed game shown was Tracks of Thought, a game about being a nosy ladybug on a train, helping her fellow passengers to remember which station they’re supposed to be getting off at. The train looks enormous, and the whole game a lovely-looking adventure.

Another odd coincidence is the appearance of two games themed around stickers. A Tiny Sticker Tale has the potential to be an all-time classic puzzle game, with the ability to take any object from the cartoon world, turn it into a sticker, then stick it back into the world to solve puzzles. So see a bridge? Grab it, it becomes a sticker, and now you can attach it back onto the world where you want to cross a river. If handled well, this could be fabulous.


Or what about Sticky Business, a game about running your own sticker business, designing them, shipping them (complete with adding packaging and free candy), and in the process, getting to know your customers. It sounds lovely, although the claim, “Experience the joy of running your own cozy small business,” does rather suggest the developers might never have done this in real life. Running small businesses is only terrifying.

Two different frog games? Not a problem. There’s Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge, a game based on farming and crafting, where you breed frogs, and learning about biodiversity in the wetlands. Or there’s Frogsong, a super-cute RPG about being a little frog in the big green, fighting bugs and solving quests. That one came out right as the Direct finished.


And for a final pairing, it’s cat-based exploratory platforming. Everdeep Aurora is an astonishing-looking 2D pixel game about exploring, jumping, solving puzzles, mining, and minigames. Meanwhile, Cato is a platform puzzler based on the scientific truth that a cat with buttered toast on its back can never land, but instead must remain spinning just above the ground eternally.

Wholesome but tricky

Bemusing our tiny brains was Word Factori, a game in which you have only one resource: the letter i. Using this, you need to discover the recipes for other letters, by building ludicrous chains of letter factories, all with the goal of spelling words. It looks bonkers, and we can’t wait. There’s a demo on Steam.

Star Garden Games

Another one that had us gawp was Let’s! Revolution!, due June 28. It’s a game about flipping tiles to create paths—like a pipe puzzle—except that aligned tiles then allow amazing animations to play out within. Also, it’s apparently a “roguelike” puzzle about stopping a narcissistic king from ruining the world. And, yup, there’s a demo.

Buck / Antfood

A third tricky-looking puzzler shown was Feed All Monsters, due even sooner, June 22. This looks like a classic grid puzzle in which you need to get your monsters fed in the most optimal manner, calculating pathways between feeders and creatures as you go.


And just so much more wholeness

A fair few other games stood out within the 77 somehow crammed into an hour-long video. For instance, there was Tiny Book Shop, about running a mobile book store, driven around town. Or Fall of Porcupine, a much darker game than the norm that has Night In The Woods vibes, where we play a pigeon who works in a hospital, plays basketball, makes food… It’s out on June 15.


Surmount is a game about climbing rocky walls, using the age-old technique of windmilling your entire body around a single arm to fling yourself up higher. There’s a Zelda-like stamina wheel, and a whole lot of falling off for amusing (safe) tumbling. Meanwhile, I Am A Caterpillar is a platform game about a caterpillar that doesn’t want to become a butterfly, and seeks the secret of avoiding change.

Illustrative of the joyful mix you get in a Wholesome Direct is Venba, a short narrative game about cooking, where you play a 1980s Indian mom who’s living in Canada, cooking dishes and talking with her family (with a demo). Or you could look at The Palace on the Hill, an adventure set in India and based on the childhoods of the developers, where you play a young artist experiencing his first love.


Excellent weirdness abounds in Henry Halfhead, where you play…half a head, that’s capable of possessing inanimate objects, and then making them jump around. Be the apple, jump on the table, become the knife, slice the apple, don’t think about how the apple was sentient just moments ago. Or what about Karma Zoo, an up-to-10-player co-op game about working together to solve puzzles. Players can pick from 50 different animals, each with unique, bizarre abilities, that when used together allow you all to complete 2D platforming levels!

And that’s all the cuteness

Let’s finish with one more stand-out game from the frenzied mix of colors and cuddles. It’s Baladins, a gaming inspired by classic table-top RPGs, where one to four players can get together for hour-long sessions of questing, fighting and building. We can’t wait to see just how malleable this is for repeated play. It’s due out some time next year.

Seed By Seed

Kotaku is covering everything Summer Game Fest, from the main show on Thursday to other events happening throughout the next week. Whether you’re into larger-than-life triple-A games or intimate, offbeat indies, you can keep up with all things SGF here.