Yin Indie’s Wholesome Direct Highlights, 2021

At Yin Indie, we are the entirely self-proclaimed “home of peaceful video games”, so one of the showcases we were looking forward to this summer was the Wholesome Direct Indie Game Showcase. Wholesome Direct is an independent, volunteer-run showcase run by Wholesome Games to “spotlight uplifting and thoughtful indie games”.

PERFECT.

If you want to watch the entire showcase, here it is:

If you can’t be arsed and you trust our judgment, then, in no particular order, here are our Wholesome Direct Highlights: 12 games that stood out for us and will be going straight into our peaceful video games directory upon their release.

1. A Little To The Left

I like to be organised. People pretend like it’s my most annoying quality, but then I don’t see them falling over each other to be the one to book the restaurant, collect the deposits, carry the beer purse, and get everyone safely into a taxi in a manner not dissimilar to herding feral cats.

So, you can imagine my joy when I discovered A Little to the Left, a cosy game in which you happily sort and organise different household items whilst enjoying a musical score straight from the tearoom of a colonial hotel. From straightening pencils in a neat little line to making sure picture frames are level, this satisfying piece of gaming art will soothe your soul. It might not flex an epic storyline or complex characters, but it has quirk, aesthetics, and originality galore.

Planned release date: October 21st – PC

2. Lake

When my husband was at school he was really good at math, so the school career adviser recommended he become a mailman. He became a mechanical engineer instead, but thanks to Lake, he will soon be able to get his mail delivery kicks virtually. Phew!

In this relaxing game, you take a break from your software job in the city to fill in for your dad delivering mail in your beautiful, rustic home town. Throughout your stay you’ll drive around the lake in his trusty mail van making friends, helping neighbours, or just chilling at home with a book. But when the time comes to return to the city, will you want to leave?

Oh, and did we mention that it’s set in the 80s? This game is just ticking all our mailboxes.

Planned release date: September 1st – Xbox/PC

3. Beasts of Maravilla Island

The world is photo obsessed. Selfies, pet pics, influencers, food porn, actual porn – you can’t escape it. In Beasts of Maravilla Island, they’ve taken the popularity of photography and built a game around it. But, don’t worry, there’s no porn here, just you, your camera, and some magical wildlife to capture.

This game is all about escaping. During the various lockdowns over the past year, a lot of us really struggled with being separated from nature. It may not be the real thing, but Beasts of Maravilla Island is the next best thing for those of us looking for some environmental eye candy.

Out now on Nintendo Switch and PC – Coming soon to PS4 and Xbox

4. Dordogne

I’m a whore for hand-drawn games and I don’t care who knows it. Dordogne looks delightful, and like it will press all my hopeless nostalgic buttons. In this narrative adventure game you play as Mimi, a woman visiting the house of her recently deceased grandmother who has left behind letters and puzzles for Mimi to solve that will remind her to make the most out of life.

I’ve never been to Dordogne, and my grandmother was from Glasgow so the only thing she left behind was a genetic heart condition, but I’ll still find a way to relate to this storyline and, as a result, definitely cry.

Planned release date: 2021 – Nintendo Switch/PC

5. Tasomachi – Behind the Twilight

The beauty of this game instantly caught my eye. So much so that I had to Google what the game was actually about because I wasn’t paying attention to any words. Anyway, turns out you’re a young girl traveling the world in an airship (nice). When your airship breaks down, you stop in this INSANELY beautiful town, only to discover that the inhabitants have disappeared.

I can’t wait to get stuck into this one; a bit of mystery, a lot of scenery, and a god damn airship. Be still my beating heart!

Planned release date: Out now on PC. Coming 2021 to PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

6. Passpartout 2: The Lost Artist

The handmade puppet style and unique concept of Passpartout 2 has made me wildly curious about this game. The first one was made on a shoestring budget, so I’m looking forward to seeing how far they’ve come. From what I have seen in the trailer, there’s a crazy amount of detail in the game’s visuals, the way it plays with light really makes you feel like you are inside Passpartout’s quirky world.

You play as a starving artist who paints and sells your work on the go. You’ll do commissions for the townsfolk, collect playful tools, and get to know all the characters on your journey to the Museum of the Masters.
*Adds to wishlist with gusto*

Planned release date and platforms: TBC

7. Sally

So, this is the second game on this list that features an airship. You’re welcome. Sally looks like a straight-up-happy sim game in which you hop onto a flying transport ship and help to maintain it as it guides passengers to their destination. You’ll craft items, produce food, take care of other crewmates, maintain the ship, and discover new ways to improve the travel experience as you float over beautiful vistas.

I’m getting Studio Ghibli vibes from the trailer, and I am absolutely, positively okay with that.

Planned release date: Currently in prototype phase, follow the game’s development on their YouTube channel.

8. Unpacking

I try to avoid a straight copy and paste from a game’s website, but I really couldn’t word it better than Witch Beam, the developers behind this dream come true: “Unpacking is a game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home. Part block-fitting puzzle, part home decoration, you are invited to create a satisfying living space while learning clues about the life you’re unpacking. Over the course of eight house moves, you are given a chance to experience a sense of intimacy with a character you never see and a story you’re never told.”

Have you ever heard anything so wonderful?

Planned release date: 2021 – PC and Nintendo Switch

9. Powerwash Simulator

I’m not going to insult you by trying to explain why you should play this game. Just shut up and watch the video.

Planned release date: Early access available now on Steam.

10. Book of Travels

Book of Travels is a TMORPG (Tiny Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game), so if you hate people but like playing online, then this is the game for you since actual interaction isn’t as frequent as in MMOs. This open world game puts you completely in control of your destiny, allowing you to explore it’s fairy-tale land freely and at your own pace.

Craft your character to have its own unique personality then head out on adventure alone, or with the other characters you’ll meet along the way. But probably alone.

Planned release date: August 9th, 2021 – PC 

11. The Garden Path

If farming sims are way too rock n’ roll for you then you, my friend, are in luck. The Garden Path is a cosy gardening sim that celebrates “the quiet moments of a life well lived.” It is a hand-drawn oasis of calm that runs in real time, allowing you to dip in and out as you wish to watch your garden take shape and to participate in a wealth of stories and activities with the charming local inhabitants.

My life at the moment consists of working, parenting, trying to change nappies without touching poop, washing my hands a lot, cooking food that no one will eat, and wondering if my legs will ever be clean shaven again. So, when my two-year-old finally goes down for the night, I know where I’ll be going to recharge my batteries…
My hairy legs can wait.

Planned release date: 2021 on PC

12. The Magnificent Truffle Pigs

The description of this game is just too perfect: “The Magnificent Truffle Pigs combines laid-back metal detecting and exploration with a dramatic story, all set in a beautiful English countryside.”

Metal detecting drama in the countryside? For the love of God, give these guys a knighthood.

Planned release date: Available now on PC

We’re looking forward to playing our way through these beautiful, quirky, and relaxing titles over the next few months. If you’ve played any of the games in our Wholesome Direct Highlights, make sure to click a star review for the game in our directory.

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