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Wholesome Direct – E3’s indie game showcase – was full of colourful, cosy and queer gaming energy

Ed Nightingale June 15, 2021
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Wholesome Direct We Are OFK

We Are OFK. (Team OFK / YouTube)

As part of this year’s E3, the endearing Wholesome Direct was full of colourful, queer gaming energy.

With its focus on small indie titles – 75 were shown in total – the Wholesome Direct was a cosy balm to the supposedly more mature titles shown at the main publisher presentations.

Instead of a sea of shooting games and samey, generic protagonists, here we saw developers experimenting with game mechanics, offering bright colourful visuals, and delivering smaller, queer-friendly, games.

If you’re after a cosy and relaxing gaming experience, then here were some of our favourites from the presentation.

If any take your fancy, make sure you wishlist them on Steam to help out the developers.

A Little To The Left

Perhaps the most satisfying game shown at E3, A Little To The Left is a puzzle game coming to Steam on 21 October in which you must organise objects. That might be straightening up a painting, ordering pencils, or stacking paper. It’s simple, but clicking objects into place with a satisfying clunk has therapeutic appeal.

Spirit Swap

This action puzzle game is set in a colourful world of “witchy demons”, allowing you to “cast spells, be queer, and crash the biggest concert of the year”. Swap gems in time to the low-fi beats and admire its cute artwork. The game is currently on Kickstarter.

 

Skatebird

Skateboarding games don’t have to be complicated, as trans developer Megan Fox explains in the latest trailer for Skatebird. Yes, it’s a bird on a skateboard but the simple controls ensure this amusing title is accessible for all. It’s coming to PC and Switch on 12 August.

Pekoe

This game is about taking time for self care. Naturally, that means making tea for cats. Through different relaxing tea rituals you’ll manage a cat cafe and make cute friends. It’s an adorable breath of fresh air coming to Steam next year.

Garden Story

Life sim and community building games are everywhere right now, but how about playing as a guardian grape? In this garden-set game of beautiful pastel graphics, you play as a grape developing a town and community, completing quests and exploring dungeons. Imagine Stardew Valley where you play as the produce. It’s coming to Switch and PC later this year.

Beasts of Maravilla Island

The success of Pokémon Snap was bound to inspire imitations, so here’s Beasts of Maravilla Island. It’s a photography game with enchanting creatures to discover, but has you solving various puzzles in order to take photos. And it’s out right now on PC!

Hoa

Hoa is a beautiful puzzle platformer game with Studio Ghibli inspired hand drawn graphics. The new trailer showed off some gameplay of the lead fairy character as well as a release date of 21 August (PC and consoles), so not long to see whether the gameplay can match the beautiful graphics.

We are OFK

This narrative music game is a must for any pop fans. It’s an interactive EP that’s all about the story of a pop band, managing both relationships and music. It’s queer friendly, it’s totally unique, and it features an infectious dream pop soundtrack. Coming to Steam later this year.

Dordogne

One of the most visually arresting games at the Wholesome Direct was Dordogne, due out later this year on Steam. You’re tasked with filling a journal with memories, made from photos, words and sounds, for a game that revels in nostalgia with stunning watercolour visuals.

BattleCakes

A cosy turn-based RPG featuring cupcake characters in an adorable pastel world full of food puns? Sign us up, we’re famished. It’s coming soon to Xbox and PC 

Unpacking

Another hugely satisfying puzzle game is Unpacking, in which you unpack stuff. Yes, that’s the game: unpack boxes in various rooms and subtly learn about the character’s life history along the way. Coming to Steam this year.

Pupperazzi

Another photography game here, but it’s all about taking photos of cute dogs – something we’re pretty adept at in real life. This new trailer introduces the city of Muttropolis that’s filled with puppers waiting to be snapped. There’s no release date yet but it’s coming to Steam.

To watch the Wholesome Direct in full, check out the stream below.

For more gaming news, follow Gaymeo on Facebook. You can also email us with any news or tips on [email protected]

Related topics: gaming

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