Wholesome Direct Indie Games

Wholesome Direct Showcases Nearly 100 Indie Games, Here are a Fraction of the Ones We Loved

Nothing but good vibes (and occasional feels).

Now more than ever I feel like I want to play games that let me relax and peacefully zone out on my couch. After discovering the Wholesome Direct last year, I knew that this would be exactly what I needed to watch if I wanted a gaming catalog that would make me smile. This year’s presentation offered a bigger selection than last year with almost 100 games to run over and wishlist. Below is my attempt to narrow my favorites down to 25, but trust me, there was a lot more than this that I had my eye on. How many will I actually play? This is a judgment-free space, thank you very much.

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Little Bear Chef

Little Bear Chef key art
(Image: BananaBox)

Why I’m excited: It’s a bear so tiny that he can fit into the frying pan he’s trying to cook with! Also, something about the way he looks when he holds a knife…

Developer: BananaBox

Release date: 2023

How to support: Follow on Twitter!

Toroa

Toroa game
(Image: Atawhai Interactive)

Why I’m excited: According to the description, you get to relax and glide on the winds of a place called Tāwhirimātea, and it looks so beautiful and chill.

Developer: Atawhai Interactive

Release date: TBD

How to support: Follow on Twitter!

Paper Animal RPG

Paper Animal RPG game
(Image: Azurexis/Cuddling Raccoons Studio)

Why I’m excited: Listen. After Paper Mario I am here for “paper” games, especially ones with characters as cute as this.

Developer: Azurexis/Cuddling Raccoons Studio

Release date: 2023

How to support: Follow on Kickstarter!

Paper Trail

Paper Trail folding mechanics
(Image: Newfangled Games)

Why I’m excited: The gameplay for this is so intriguing. Treating the screen like foldable paper that you can move to create paths for your character? The puzzle game fan in me is so into this.

Developer: Newfangled Games

Release date: 2023 (Q1)

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Usagi Shima

Usagi Shima cute buns
(Image: pank0)

Why I’m excited: You. Get. To. Collect. BUNNIES! Decorate an abandoned island to GET BUNNIES TO VISIT YOU.

Developer: pank0

Release date: TBD

How to support: Subscribe to the Newsletter!

Petit Island

Petit Island cat
(Image: Xelo Games)

Why I’m excited: You’re a cat taking pictures on a tropical island to preserve your, get ready, grandpaw’s memories. Yes. Please. Thank you.

Developer: Xelo Games

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Kokopa’s Atlas

Kokopas Atlas
(Image: ian Labs, Hitcents)

Why I’m excited: More cats going on adventures! This time, a space cat!

Developer: Aesthetician Labs, Hitcents

Release date: 2023

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Melatonin

Melatonin game
(Image: Half Asleep)

Why I’m excited: A rhythm game. A rhythm game that navigates through dreams and reality. Did I mention it’s a rhythm game? Full of pastel colors? Gimme.

Developer: Half Asleep

Release date: 9/16/2022

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Freeride

Freeride Who Are You Really
(Image: Flightyfelon Games)

Why I’m excited: An action RPG? A personality test? Why not both! “You will not be told when you are making decisions. You will never be judged in terms of Good or Evil. You will simply face the consequences of your actions.”

Developer: Flightyfelon Games

Release date: 2023

How to support: Check out the Website to join the first round of testing on Steam!

Lovebirb

Lovebirb game
(Image: ymous Penguin Studio)

Why I’m excited: “Which birb will you swipe right for after having your heart broken,” is not something I thought I’d have to think about, yet here we are!

Developer: Anonymous Penguin Studio

Release date: 2022 (Q4)

How to support: Follow on Twitter!

Chicken Journey

Chicken Journey key art
(Image: loonyware)

Why I’m excited: A platformer with a cute chicken. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Developer: loonyware

Release date: 2022 (Q4)

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

How to Say Goodbye

How to Say Goodbye
(Image: ARTE France/Florian & Baptiste)

Why I’m excited: A puzzle game where you manipulate reality to help ghosts crossover to “the other side,” which is bound to be full of feels and delve into dealing with grief. “Excited” probably isn’t the right word, more like “ready to have this relate to me and cry.”

Developer: ARTE France/Florian & Baptiste

Release date: 2022 (Q3)

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Harmony’s Odyssey

Harmony's Odyssey
(Image: MythicOwl)

Why I’m excited: 3D fantasy adventure game with puzzle elements and a cute, cartoony witch. I’m in.

Developer: MythicOwl

Release date: 2022 (Q3)

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Fall of Porcupine

Fall of Porcupine
(Image: BUNTSPECHT.GAMES)

Why I’m excited: A commentary on an unhealthy health care system? Good. Goooood.

Developer: BUNTSPECHT.GAMES

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

SCHiM

SCHiM
(Image: Ewoud van der Werf)

Why I’m excited: I am absolutely intrigued with the idea of jumping into shadows in order to get through the game. I get the feeling that the puzzle elements of that concept are gonna kick my ass.

Developer: Ewoud van der Werf

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

ODDADA

Music based game ODDADA
(Image: Sven Ahlgrimm, Mathilde Hoffmann)

Why I’m excited: Stack a house on a house to make music. I’m gonna play this for hours on end.

Developer: Sven Ahlgrimm, Mathilde Hoffmann

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Mika and The Witch’s Mountain

Mika and the Witch Mountain
(Image: Chibig)

Why I’m excited: This is as close to a Kiki’s Delivery Service game as I’m gonna get. Also, the animation is adorable.

Developer: Chibig

Release date: 2023 (Q1)

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Puzzles for Clef

Puzzles for Clef
(Image: Weasel Token)

Why I’m excited: Magic. Cute art. Puzzles. And a promise of “something more” if you dig deeper. I’m ready to find all of this game’s secrets.

Developer: Weasel Token

Release date: 2023

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

A Frog’s Tale

A Frog's Tale
(Image: Norman Company/Mythcarver Games)

Why I’m excited: I am loving the number of games that are incorporating rhythm game elements into RPGs. Also. You’re literally a frog.

Developer: Norman Company/Mythcarver Games

Release date: 2023

How to support: Check out the Website!

PuffPals: Island Skies

Puffpals Island Skies
(Image: Fluffnest Inc.)

Why I’m excited: You had me at PuffPals if I’m being completely honest. It’s a wholesome life simulator with fluff nuggets. Bless.

Developer: Fluffnest Inc.

Release date: 2025

How to support: Follow on Twitter!

Love, Ghostie

Love, Ghostie
(Image: Janbeh Games)

Why I’m excited: You’re a ghost trying to make adorable ships canon. There’s a goth giraffe. I don’t have enough heart emojis for this.

Developer: Janbeh Games

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Hamster on Rails

Hamster on Rails
(Image: Virtual Arts Studio)

Why I’m excited: There’s railcars and tracks to connect and customizable, silly-faced hamsters. Thank you for my next “oops it’s been five hours and I haven’t gotten up” game.

Developer: Virtual Arts Studio

Release date: TBD

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Bread & Fred

Bread & Fred
(Image: Sand Castles Studio)

Why I’m excited: It straight up looks like a platforming sitcom where you have to maneuver two penguins, and really wish there was only one. Damnit Bread. Or Fred. Whichever one makes me fall the most.

Developer: Sand Castles Studio

Release date: 2022

How to support: Wishlist on Steam!

Kaichu: The Kaiji Dating Sim

Kaichu Dating Sim
(Image: Squiddershins)

Why I’m excited: It’s a dating sim with giant monsters who hook up and smooch. That’s all I need in life.

Developer: Squiddershins

Release date: 2022 (Q2)

How to support: Check out the Website to Wishlist on Steam!

Seal World

Seal World
(Image: Seal)

Why I’m excited: Chonky seals. Need I say more? Eat. Swim. Relax. Like a seal.

Developer: Seal

Release date: Available now!

How to support: Buy it on Steam!

(Featured image: pank0/Sand Castles Studio/Xelo Games)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)