E3 2021’s Comfiest Showcase Yet

The Wholesome Direct is pretty colors, beautiful sounds, and good vibes

The comfy logo for Wholesome Direct 2021.
The comfy logo for Wholesome Direct 2021.
Image: Wholesome Games

Tucked into a quieter corner of E3 2021 was today’s Wholesome Direct, a showcase of the chillest, happiest, and most uplifting games around.

Advertisement

What is the Wholesome Direct?

Put on by Wholesome Games, a collective of indie game devs, Wholesome Direct is a presentation of games chosen for their “feelings of comfort, compassion, and coziness.” Don’t expect to find excessively violent or thematically dark games here. Instead, the Wholesome Direct showed off a collection of games that encourage good vibes and self-care.

Are you comfy? Got your water and your blanket? Then let’s dig into some of Wholesome Direct’s best and most interesting games. There were over 70 games showcased during today’s Wholesome Direct, (and you can watch it here) but here are some that I’m really excited about.


*gasp* Kitty!
*gasp* Kitty!
Image: Bluecurse Studio

Snacko

Billed as a “farming cat-venture sim,” Snacko is a game about two cute kitties building their new home from the cat-grass up.

Advertisement

Lofi beats? Match-3? Say no more.
Lofi beats? Match-3? Say no more.
Image: Soft Not Weak
Advertisement

Spirit Swap

Spirit Swap is a vibrantly colored, queer dating sim puzzle game filled with “lofi beats to match-3 to.”

Advertisement

Do a kickflip!
Do a kickflip!
Screenshot: Glass Bottom Games
Advertisement

SkateBIRD

Kotaku’s already excited about SkateBIRD. Today, SkateBIRD director Megan Fox gave a look at some of the neat customization options she added to make SkateBIRD accessible to all kinds of players at all kinds of skill levels and abilities.

Advertisement

We Are OFK is a stylish narrative game full of dreamy vibes.
Gif: Team OFK
Advertisement

We Are OFK

We Are OFK is an interactive story of how indie pop band OFK came together. They held a special concert at the end of E3’s Day of the Devs showcase on Thursday. I’m always down to check out any game that has a character wearing a ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ shirt.

Advertisement

All of the backgrounds in Dordogne are hand painted watercolors and that’s amazing
All of the backgrounds in Dordogne are hand painted watercolors and that’s amazing
Image: UN JE NE SAIS QUOI
Advertisement

Dordogne

I’m a sucker for games with unique and complex artstyles. In Dordogne, a new game from French developer (with the Frenchiest name possible) UN JE NE SAIS QUOI, you play in a world of lush, hand-painted watercolors. It looks so lovely.

Advertisement

Catch me in the crib building my...crib.
Catch me in the crib building my...crib.
Screenshot: Alex Massé
Advertisement

Paralives

Paralives is a home-builder sim game perfect for the Pinterest addict (a.k.a. me). You can build your dream home, customize it then populate it with people whose lives you can shape and manage The Sims style.

Advertisement

I already know Moonglow Bay is going to take up all my time
I already know Moonglow Bay is going to take up all my time
Screenshot: Bunnyhug
Advertisement

Moonglow Bay

In Moonglow Bay, the way to a friend’s heart is through their stomach. Today we got to see how Moonglow Bay’s friendship-building mechanic works. By talking to your friends, you learn their favorite foods, which you can then fish up and fry up, deepening your relationship and unlocking new story paths.

Advertisement

In Pupperazzi you can pet, then shoot (as in picture you monster) the puppies!
In Pupperazzi you can pet, then shoot (as in picture you monster) the puppies!
Screenshot: Sundae Month
Advertisement

PUPPERAZZI

Pupperazzi seeks to answer a question that should be asked often and always: What if we lived in a world of dogs and spent our days taking pictures of them? The answer is Pupperazzi, one of my most anticipated games of the Wholesome Direct. I can’t wait.

Advertisement

This is but a tiny taste of all the sweet games showcased during the Wholesome Direct. Visit Wholesome Games’ website if you’re eager for more cat cafe management sims, donut frosting factory builders, or frog warrior RPGs.

Advertisement

 

DISCUSSION

By
centen

I’ve got my eyes on Dordogne, Amber Isle (shop sim with dinos), Bear & Breakfast (b&b sim), Button City (arcade games), Dreamland Confectionery (crafting/exploration?), Garden Story (LoZ but as a grape?), Witchery Academy (Story of Seasons but as a witch).

Also removed a couple from my “to keep an eye on” list, since the fuller trailers aren’t really my cup of tea. But so many cozy games! I’m glad I only have a Switch so I had a limited list to check out.