Wholesome Games Direct 2022

A dark background, with cute pastel imagery of planets and creatures, with the words "wholesome direct 2022"

The 3rd Wholesome Direct has come and gone, and it was by far the biggest so far! Wholesome Games is a community started on Twitter in 2020, and their Wholesome Directs are independent, volunteer-run showcases highlighting indie games that are uplifting, thoughtful and compassionate.

Opening with a time lapse of a watercolour painting to soft music, Wholesome Direct set the scene for the exact vibe it was going for. Hosted by Jenny Windom (@kimchica25), with Mary Kish (@merrykish) and Josh Boykin (@wallstormer) as co-hosts, it was a non-stop barrage of exclusive footage and trailers.

Three portraits of the hosts, surrounded by cute contrasting pastel imagery of stars.
L-R: Josh Boykin, Jenny Windom, Mary Kish

Wholesome Direct 2022 showcased a whopping 94 titles, and I will do my best to condense it down to information you may want to know.

GENRE

A wholesome game is not a specific genre within itself – wholesome games can come in many forms. The most common genres showcased at Wholesome Direct were: Adventure (28), Puzzle (25) and Simulation (25+, including Dating Sims and Farming Sims). There were a dozen platforming games, both 2D and 3D, and about 10 RPGs of varying types. Even Match-3 and Skateboard Game genres got 2 entries apiece. Just about any game that did not include guns was covered (except Frogun, but, that doesn’t count – your gun is a frog).

PLATFORMS

The vast majority of the games covered either are, or will be, available on Steam. Almost half of the games are, or will be, available on the Nintendo Switch. Some games didn’t specify what consoles they would be available on, while 4 titles are yet to be determined.

a frog constellation outlined, and the frog asks "isn't it just ribbiting?"
A screenshot from Paradise Marsh

RELEASE

12 of the titles showcased are OUT NOW! Either as a special release, or they used Wholesome Direct to announce updates.

  • LumBearJack
  • Freshly Frosted
  • Calico (Update)
  • Princess Farmer (Update)
  • Here Comes Niko (Update)
  • Lemon Cake
  • Skatebird (Update)
  • Garden of the Sea
  • With You
  • The Last Clockwinder
  • The Hundred Year Kingdom
  • Bloom

22 Titles are set to release later this year, including The Spirit and the Mouse, Potion Permit, Frogun, Lil Gator Game (which I covered before here) and A Little to the Left. 13 more are set to be released in 2023, including a sequel to the visual novel about owning a coffee shop, Coffee Talk.

The following titles have a Kickstarter, should you wish to help bring these games into reality:

  • Paper Animal RPG
  • Kulebra and the Souls of Limbo

SPOTLIGHT

I wanted to spotlight some stand-out games that grabbed my attention.

Snufkin from "Snufkin: Melody of Moomin Valley" jumping over a stream using stones

Snufkin: Melody of Moomin Valley

A musical adventure game about restoring harmony and balance to Moomin Valley, based on the works of Tove Jansson. The developers, Hyper Games, clearly love the source material, and have put a lot of attention into this title. It is set to release on PC and Consoles in 2023.

A anthropomorphic bear honey container looking into a life-size oven, watching his casserole dish cook, which contains ratatouille

Little Bear Chef

In the words of one of its developers, Little Bear Chef is a game about a very small bear in a very large kitchen, who is trying to start his own successful restaurant. You are a bear-shaped container of honey, and ingrediants float in on balloons, and no matter how small you may be, you find a way to use the tools of your kitchen to create wonderful meals!

Two Kaiju, large monsters, look at each other. The pink Kaiju on the left has speech bubbles above their head for "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and the blue and green Kaiju on the right has a speech bubble with a question mark. A woman at the bottom in a text box states "Magaricus wants to know what most attracted Gigachu to them. 1) Powers 2) Mushroom tips 3) Forcefields"

Kaichu

Three Words: Kaiju. Dating. Sim. Yes, you read that correctly. Kaichu is a Kaiju Dating Simulator, and you stomp around the world as you woo fellow Kaiju in your quest for love. Do I really need to say any more?

IS THERE A DEMO?

While not every title showcased had a demo on offer, over 30 of them did, and I’ve collected each and every one here for you! Each of the following games have demos available on steam, right now!

  • 30 Birds
  • The Spirit and the Mouse
  • Spirit Swap
  • Tracks of Thought
  • Tiny Witch
  • Melatonin
  • How to say Goodbye
  • A Little to the Left
  • The Wandering Village
  • Harmony’s Odyssey
  • Hamster on Rails
  • Coffee Talk 2
  • Togges
  • Feed All Monsters
  • Hello GoodBoy
  • Mail Time
  • Puzzles for Clef
  • Critter Crops
  • Terra Nil
  • The Courier
  • Paradise Marsh
  • Lost in Play
  • Bread and Fred
  • Kity Builder
  • Townseek
  • Star Stuff
  • Kulebra and the Souls of Limbo
  • The Hundred Year Kingdom
  • Lonesome Village
  • Paper Trail

The following four games do not have a demo available on Steam, but they do have demos available on their own websites to download.

The full list is available at the Wholesome Games website and the VOD of the Direct is separated into helpful sections on YouTube. You can watch it here. An article highlighting some of the demos can be found here.

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