Unpause Asia

Gaming News, Reviews and Pew Pews

Events Indie Games Top 10 Lists

Wholesome Direct 2021 – Cozy Games Out This Year (Part 1)

Wholesome Direct has returned this E3 2021! Last year we didn’t get an E3 (or many other shows) but we did get the introduction of a very important presentation – Wholesome Direct.

Wholesome Games Direct is something a little different from the regular game conferences. Instead, this laid back colourful show featured indie titles that followed a common theme – wholesomeness. Quite a different pace from the fast-paced gun-slinging E3 we’re used to. These games are more likely to be full of cats, rainbows and peaceful clicking on a farm and/or the magical world.

This year the number of new indie game titles on the show went up to whopping 75 games. That’s a lot to fit into an hour but they did it! Although in my opinion, I feel that we could have used more time to see more of the games. Some of these titles are old hats like Ooblets and ParaLives that have had a good amount of hype prior to this. But there are others like Dordogne and We Are OFK that I would’ve hated to have missed.

In this list we’re not going to cover all 75 games because that would be crazy… (would it though??). Instead, we’re listing all the games we’re looking forward to playing this year. Many of the titles at Wholesome Direct won’t be out for a while, on this list, we’re giving you some titles coming out within the next couple of months! Or that are out already. I know I need more things to look forward to this year!


Ooblets by Glumberland

Release Date: 14 June 2020 (Early Access), Full Release – TBA (Late 2021)

Platform: PC – Epic Games

So Ooblets doesn’t have an official release date but the game is already out on Early Access in Epic Games and is due out at full release by the end of the year. If you’ve never played Ooblets before or you’ve only just read about it then you may think that it’s akin to Animal Crossing or Pokémon. Well, the answer is both yes and no, but if you liked playing both those games then you’ll definitely like Ooblets.

Ooblets is a farming, creature collection, and town life game where you build up your farm, befriend townsfolk, grow ooblets, and have dance-offs. After Wholesome Direct the team released v0.8 of Ooblets Early Access. And if you’re worried that getting a game on Early Access means a ton of bugs and/or not enough content then don’t be! It’s already been so amazing so far and in my personal experience of playing I haven’t run into any bugs and still have tons to do.


We Are OFK by Team OFK

Release Date: Spring 2021

Platform: PC – Steam

We Are OFK is the story of how four friends came together to release their debut music without throwing their phones at walls in frustration. A making-of-the-band series & Interactive EP about dreaming, dating, and paying rent in Los Angeles. We Are OFK is an interactive narrative series of arguing over lyrics, sending sad texts, and playing Interactive Music Videos, including OFK’s debut single “Follow/Unfollow” and more. It’s past Spring 2021 but we’re hopeful that this game will be out soon!


Alekon by The Alekon Company

Release Date: 13 June 2021

Platform: PC – Steam

If there’s one gaming genre that’s making a comeback it’s photography! This year’s Wholesome Direct had at least three brand new ones of varying genres. With the resurgence of New Pokémon Snap and the success of Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, it looks like it’s this genre’s time to shine again!

Alekon brings you through a magical world where you’ll be taking photos of whimsical creatures known as fictions. Photograph dozens of whimsical creatures, solving puzzles to get them to strike collectable poses. Then befriend them through unique quests and minigames, from snowflake design, to tuning and playing crystal harps, to organizing parties.


Beasts of Maravilla Island by Banana Bird Studios

Release Date: 13 June 2021

Platform: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac

Beasts of Maravilla Island is another exciting 3D photography adventure game at Wholesome Direct! Here you take on the role of a young wildlife photographer in the magical ecosystem of Maravilla Island. Discover extraordinary creatures, learn their behaviours, and, most importantly, photograph their majesty. Explore a mysterious 3D island and solve puzzles in order to discover extraordinary creatures, interact with them in their natural habitat, and photograph what enchanting, unique behaviours you reveal.

Beasts of Maravilla Island will be coming later to PlayStation 4.


Luna’s Fishing Garden by Coldwild Games

Release Date: 16 June 2021

Platform: PC – Steam

Luna’s Fishing Garden is one of two cosy fishing at this year’s Wholesome Direct. Catch fish, trade with the fox spirit, and create the garden of your dreams by planting new trees, placing water objects, and bringing animals to the archipelago. Progress at your own pace and enjoy catching fish. After you have completed the main plotline, you are welcome to stay and build your garden any way you want to. You can’t lose in this one.


Seasonspree by Kitewing Studio

Release Date: Summer 2021

Platform: PC – Steam

Seasonspree is a wholesome time-nudging game where you play as Sunny, an adorable little tanuki walking around a tiny planet full of other animals. As Sunny walks to the right, she progresses through time in the direction you’d expect things to travel through time. But when she turns around and goes to the left, she can revisit days she’s already been to, changing decisions she’s made in the past to create new versions of the future.


Garden Story by Picogram

Release Date: Summer 2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC – Steam, Mac

Garden Story has already made our list of 10 Gorgeous Pixel Art Games You Don’t Want To Miss. And it’s here again on Wholesome Direct because it’s adorable. Play as Concord, the youngest grape in The Grove. He’s recently been appointed as the new Guardian and he’s got a lot to do! Unify the broken community in The Grove. Traverse a vibrant island to combat invasive Rot, inspire its inhabitants, and rebuild your home. You won’t have to do this alone: fruity friends await, ready to lend a hand.


SkateBIRD by Glass Bottom Games

Release Date: 12 August 2021

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac, Linux

Reviving the skating genre in the most adorable way possible at Wholesome Direct. SkateBIRD has you using your feathered friend to grind on bendy straws, kickflip over staplers, and carve killer lines through cardboard and sticky tape parks.

You’re a lonely lil’ bird, and your Big Friend has hung up their board for good. Their job sucks, and lately, they’re barely ever home to play with you. You’re gonna fix all that with the power of being a chill little skateboarding bird. You may be tiny, but the more you skate, the more friends you’ll make. Birds will come to check out your park, help you find more parks, and together you’ll (somehow) fix Big Friend’s life! Above all else, skate birds try their best.


Hoa by Skrollcat Studio

Release Date: 25 August 2021

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac

Hoa is a beautiful puzzle-platforming game that features breathtaking hand-painted art, lovely music, and a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. Experience the magic of nature and imagination as you play the main character, Hoa, on her journey through breathtaking environments back to where it all began.

Step into a painting that lives – explore a vast world of meticulously crafted sceneries of stunning hand-painted art. Keep an eye out for delightful magical creatures along the way. Most of them want to be friends, some might even tell you a little story or two. Cuteness guaranteed.


KeyWe by Stonewheat & Sons

Release Date: 25 August 2021

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC – Steam, Mac

KeyWe is a cute, cooperative postal puzzler starring Jeff and Debra, two small kiwi birds working in a whimsical post office. With no hands to help them, they must jump, flap, peck and butt-slam their way across an interactive landscape of levers, bells and buttons to get those messages delivered on time!


Lake by Gamious

Release Date: 1 September 2021

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC – Steam

It’s 1986 – Meredith Weiss takes a break from her career in the big city to deliver mail in her hometown. How will she experience two weeks in beautiful Providence Oaks, with its iconic lake and quirky community? And what will she do next? It’s up to you. Whatever happens, at the end of her stint she’ll have to make up her mind: return to her demanding job in the big city, or stay in the town she grew up in?


Soup Pot by Chikon Club

Release Date: Q3 2021

Platform: PC – Steam

Soup Pot is a cooking game with a focus on creativity. That’s just a fancy way of saying that there’s no recipe. There’s a hundred of different dishes for you to explore and create on your own. This is a safe space, whether you’re a seasoned cook or don’t know which end of the whisk to hold. You’re free to experiment and try new things without having to worry about the pressure of failing.

With over a hundred mouth-watering recipes, prepared and designed by our wonderful professional chefs with a system focused on making food but built on freedom. Explore Philippine, Korean and Japanese cuisine in three well-designed kitchens.


Wholesome Direct 2021

That’s the show from Wholesome Direct at this E3 2021! There were so many games we had to narrow it down to only about a third of the games and even then it was too much! So be sure to check out our part 2 list of Cozy Games to play this year right here!