Wholesome Direct Showcase 2024 Highlights

Exciting, Fun, and Thoughtful Games to Chill With

Jun 25, 2024
Wholesome Direct 2024 Highlights.png

Next Fest may be over, but summer is just getting started and I can think of no better way to beat the heat than sitting back with some chill games to pass the time (I mean air conditioning would be nice too. Also ice cream). Thanks to the Wholesome Direct Showcase, we’ve got a great list of games to play, try, and look forward to for a fun and enjoyable experience.

Now there’s some 70+ games that were showcased here, and I am but a simple video game journalist newbie, so I’ve grabbed a few that look fun, quirky, and have some interesting ideas behind them. Particularly, I looked at games with mechanics that aren’t normally seen in bigger budget games, or that are used in inventive ways. So with that in mind, here are seven games to look forward to!

MythMatch–Merge 3 Divinity

One of the more unique selections in the presentation, MythMatch sees you playing as Artemis in her quest to become goddess of the hunt. To do so, she’ll need to help the town of Ithaca rebuild by merging objects to suit the towns needs. Now when I first saw the trailer, I wasn’t entirely sold on it. It just seemed like merge 3 game with a greek myth spin. After trying the demo however, I was surprised by how much I liked it!

Mythmatch Gameplay Preview.png

Unlike many merger games, where you can freely drag and drop objects on a grid to merge them, in this game you control a character that moves around the grid. You can pick up items in front of you, but you can act at a distance using your bow to grab and a throw to…well throw things. Furthermore, you don’t have control over what resources are produced; you’ll have to rely on the townsfolk to do that for you. The developers did a great job enforcing the drive for community building and problem solving by taking advantage of Artemis’s archetypal traits and I’m looking forward to seeing more!

Été–Paint the Town Every Color

There are two things I appreciate in games about exploring your environment: Clear indications of progress, and tangible rewards for exploring. And wouldn’t you know it, Été has both in spades! The trailer shows us exploring a mall town and painting it as we go, so we can clearly tell where we’ve been, and it’s filled with a charming hand-painted looking environments and people. It feels like you make the world come alive just by experiencing it.

Ete Gameplay Screenshot.jpg

And in exploring the world, you’re given stickers and paint colors that you can use to craft your own paintings and commissions for people around town. Or you can hve an art show in a gallery of your own design! The game comes out on July 23rd and I can’t wait to see more of what’s to come!

Discounty–For All Your Wholesome(?) Capitalist Needs

Watching the trailer for this game was my first indication that just because a game is wholesome doesn’t not necessarily mean it will be relaxing. Then again customer service was never a very relaxing role. In Discounty, you run a convenience store and do your best to keep it running and profitable. You of course have full control over your store’s layout stock, and you’ll be able to talk to neighbors and create business partnerships. But there’s a darker side to this game, with images of pollutant dumping, boycotts and the implication of a dark underbelly in this town.

Discounty Gameplay Preview.png

Do yourself a favor and watch the trailer for this one. Out of this whole list, its very much the wildcard.

The steam page tells us a little more, suggesting you can go to great lengths to make your store an empire, and the townspeople don’t trust strangers. Call me a sucker for mysteries, but I want to know more about what’s lurking here. The games not slated to come out until 2025, though, so gt your shopping list ready now!

Into the Emberlands–Rediscovering a World in the Dark

I’m going to come right out of the gate and say what I like most about this game from their trailer: there’s no fighting, and there’s no death. Now the game is described as a “cozy exploration game with a rogue-lite twist,” so you would expect some level of losing a life in this game. And “losing” is the operative term there.

You’ll play a Lightbearer for your village, venturing out into the Miasma-covered and procedurally generated lands to find materials and helpful creatures to help rebuild your village. If you’re not careful though, your light could run out and you’ll get lost in the Miasma.

Into The Emberlands Gameplay.png

But you know that phrase “It takes a village…”? Well when one villager is lost, another comes along to help! You just go out as a new Lightbearer and pick up where the last left off. You can even rescue the old Lightbearer so they can help out in town again!

Into the Emberlands is now available for early access on steam for under $8, so go explore!

Crab God–Even Helping the World Just Evolves Into Crabs

Yes, everything evolves into crabs, and this game is no exception. You are a god of crabs and it’s your job to raise new crabs to help build, maintain, and protect various biomes in the ocean. You’ll upgrade your crabs to perform various tasks, reintroduce flora and fauna to ensure a healthy ecosystem, and raise a new god to lead the next generation.

Everything about this game looks adorable, and the gameplay shown in the trailer looks like fun, but the best reason to play the game is only really alluded to in the trailer. Chaos Theory Games and Firesquid teamed up with dots.eco to help contribute to ocean conservation and protection through in game actions.

Crab God - Steam Page Screenshot Worship.png

Crab God is already available on Steam with positive reviews, so go help some sea life before it all becomes crabs!

While Waiting–Patience is a Virtue and a Gamplay Mechanic

We’ve all been there. You’re stuck in line, the bus is taking forever, your food just will not cook fast enough. You just have to wait. And maybe distract yourself. So while you’re waiting, why not play While Waiting?

I was debating whether or not to put this in my review, since the point is to…well, wait and do nothing. But that’s not entirely true. There are plenty of things to do in each scenario of the game, some fun and silly, some that just look like time wasters. It’s just that none of them will actually help you advance your overall goal. You just have to wait, and that’s what the devs are hoping you’ll find the magic in. As you navigate a story of everyday life, you’ll learn to enjoy the quiet, quirky, and quite profound moments in life that comes from having to be patient.

While Waiting Game.png

This game is so bizarre, it's either going to go by barely noticed or become another Untitled Goose Game style phenomenon.

There’s not release date for the game yet, but a demo is available now on Steam, and the game will release on PC, Android, and iPhone. So you can try out the game... but you’ll have to wait until it fully releases,

Tracks of Thought–This Train is Heading to…Someplace!

Everyone on the train just suffered a case of amnesia about where their going. Cool. You’re suddenly expected to fix things. Awesome. And there’s this person who’s helping who is…your polar opposite.


Tracks of Thought Video Game.png

That’s the situation you find yourself in in Tracks of Thought, a very cute game of discovery, communication, and conflict resolution. Everyone is a bug of some kind on a train filled with non-train environments that make you feel like you stepped into an episode of Infinity Train. Your partner in all of this is one of 7 possible companions based on how you interact with people in the first car and will be the most opposite of you possible. Which leans nicely into the “combat” of this game; talking to people! Particularly stressful conversations will require you to use a variety of conversation-based cards to de-escalate situations or find consensus with the other person. I love seeing unique ways of handling combat and using a card based battle system for dialogue scratches an itch for something new that excites me!

Tracks of Thought is available now on Steam, so hop on board and forget where your going with the rest of us!

Even More Wholesome Game are Waiting to be Discovered

There’s of course way more treats waiting for you in the Wholesome Direct. There’s Critter Café and Nom Nom: Cozy Forest Café if you want that business sim flavor, Caravan SandWitch and Albatroz for different flavors of open world exploration, and Building Relationships and Pretty Coo’ if you really want to try that one weird flavor no one knew existed. The showcase is still up on Youtube for your viewing pleasure, so check out the menu here!

Make sure to stay cool this summer and enjoy yourself some wholesome gaming! Whether its one of these highlights or another neat game you find in the direct, I’m sure you’ll find something you love.

Now about that air conditioning…

James Donaldson

Guest Writer