Wholesome Games Direct Highlights

The banner for the Wholesome Games direct 2021, with a television in nature motif

The Wholesome Games community was created in response to the cancellation of gaming events due to the pandemic. Focusing on games with more light-hearted themes in comparison to triple-A titles, the Wholesome Games team has showcased many incredible games and developers since its inception. To coincide with other big gaming events like the Summer Game Fest and E3, a presentation of upcoming games was shown on June 12th. Featuring almost 75 (wow!!!) games, it would take forever for me to cover all of them, so I picked out a few that stood out to me personally. To check out the full line-up be sure to visit their YouTube.

Bear and Breakfast

A top down view of an inn, with several bedrooms and a kitchen
Bear and Breakfast: Now with more bears

The title really says it all; you’re a bear, and you run a Bed & Breakfast in the woods! Expand your business to attract more customers and discover the secrets hidden in the woods. Each room in your B+B can be customized with furniture and fixtures, and there are side quests to get more items to bring back to the inn. A free demo will be available on Steam from June 16th to June 22nd. Also coming to the Nintendo Switch!

Behind the Frame

A woman looks out her window to see her neighbour, an old man in a smock

A point-and-click with an artistic twist, Behind the Frame features some gorgeous Studio Ghibli-like animation and a comforting tone. Intrigued by her mysterious neighbour, who is also a painter, the main character will solve puzzles and create art for an upcoming show. I love the drawing mechanic, scribbling back and forth across a page to reveal a picture in an art style called rubbing. You also use the mouse to add details to your paintings, like a circle that becomes a sun. Look out for this one on mobile platforms and Steam.

Cloud Jumper

A series of floating islands with an airship approacing

I absolutely love all things with airships and floating islands, so this is a very “me” game. Pilot a tiny flying tugboat as you travel the skies searching for lost relics, meeting new people, crafting items, and repairing structures. The soft pixelated art style is super cozy and I can’t wait to jump into this one. Cloud Jumper is coming to Steam sometime in the future.

Floppy Knights

A top down view of a forest laid out in a grid pattern, with several monsters standing around. On the bottom of the screen is a hand of cards

By summoning constructs with floppy discs, you become…The Floppy KnightsCombining tactics-style battles with deck-building mechanics, there’s a lot of potential for this game to be very addictive. Slay the Spire and Dicey Dungeons, two other deck-building games, have me coming back again and again. Add to that adorable grid battles? I’m there. The retro-tech gives it a fresh spin and I hope they go all the way with that concept. Floppy Knights will be having a beta later this month.

Garden Story

A small pixelated village with characters made of fruits. Concord the grape uses his fishing rod on a river in the middle of the screen

I’ve been following the development of Garden Story since 2019 and it’s become one of my most anticipated games. Combining classics like Zelda and Harvest Moon with adorable characters who are mostly fruits and vegetables, Garden Story has a charming and relaxing art style where you’ll help rebuild your island as the newly appointed Guardian of the Grove. Fend off the mysterious Rot as you explore, gather materials, fish and craft items and structures. I simply cannot wait to play it later this year! Coming to Steam and Nintendo Switch.

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan

Billy stands on a small platform, the ocean and a boat behind him

Taking nods from Paper Mario and CupheadRainbow Billy is a 2.5D adventure game with an old cartoon aesthetic. Travel this whimsical world with your talking fishing rod and bring colour back to the World of Imagination. There’s the trademark puzzles of these types of games, and fishing (you’ve got a talking rod after all!) as well as encounters with creatures you’ll need to solve in a non-violent manner, helping them return to their true selves before the Leviathan went and mucked everything up! Coming to Steam, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Playstation and

The Gecko Gods

a small green lizard walks along a beach

All you really need to know about this game is you play as a lizard, and I love it! Climb effortlessly up walls, eating bugs and solving puzzles as you go. The animations of the gecko are fluid and smooth, and I like how minimalistic the entire game appears. Coming soon to Steam.

These are just a few of the many, many games featured during the Wholesome Direct. For more information and to see the entire lineup, be sure to visit the Wholesome Games website.

Written by Lor Gislason

Lor is the resident Indie Game Outreach Expert (patent pending) of 25YL Gaming who will talk your ear off about Wholesome games and Roguelites.

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