Video Game Review | Venba: A Game Filled With Heart And Love

Video Game Review | Venba: A Game Filled With Heart And Love

There is something so comforting and calming about cooking games. This is a genre of games that I tend to come back to occasionally here and there. While there are a lot of fun cooking games that bring the usual good vibes to them and are great to zone out to occasionally there comes one that sticks with me long after I finish the game. One such cooking game is Venba.

Venba is a narrative cooking game where you get to experience the story of an Indian family who immigrated to Canada in the 1980’s and try their best to have a good life there. From the perspective of the mother you as the player get to make different authentic Indian dishes and recover old recipes while also experiencing a story filled with love and loss, pain and happiness. With each chapter you get to step into different moments in this family’s life and see the different struggles and hurdles they have to overcome. 

The story is one of the highlights of the game. Throughout the span of the game you get to witness the struggles of living in a place that is different from your own culture. You see how it isn’t easy being an immigrant in a foreign country and how it can wear down on you. In the game you see how Venba and her husband Paavalan struggle to find long term stability while also trying to deal with their son Kavin pushing away from their culture for the sake of fitting in at school. I won’t go into more detail than that since I want you readers to enjoy the different emotional beats of this game and all it has to offer. What I can say is that it is a great story which helps show the nuisance of the different perspectives of the family and where they come from.

As for the gameplay, it is simple and chill. With each chapter you get a cooking section where you put together a dish. While cooking you can look at an old cookbook that is important to Venba but has been damaged. So it is almost a little bit of a puzzle sometimes as how to properly cook the dish. Of course there is a help button if you are stuck and unsure of what to do. Along with that there is some dialogue in different chapters where the characters interact and where they can share a bit about the dish. It is a very charming and pleasant way to make food and to learn about some dishes that you may have never heard of before. While cooking, Venba turns on the radio which plays different original Indian music.. There is a variety of the style of songs and all of them are great bops to tap your foot to while you figure out a new recipe. Some of my personal favorites are “Kanni Kanini” and “Nee Dhaane”. Although honestly all of them are really enjoyable to listen to and they help the player relate to Venba more and get to grow more attached to her. Listening to music while cooking is such a universal good time vibe. The two things work so well hand in hand so to see it in this game is great. 

Along with the gameplay the art style of Venba is extremely charming. It goes to show how diverse art styles can be within games and how certain ones work best for certain games. I believe that this style helps lift up the game to another level as well and brings with it a certain type of charm. 

In a year with such stellar games that have come out throughout the year like Spiderman 2, the Resident Evil 4 remake, Baldur’s Gate 3 and many more it can be easy to have some smaller games get lost in the cracks. However I would urge you to add Venba to your list of must plays from 2023. It is a charming game that is filled with so much passion and heart. Just as how you can tell when food is cooked with love you can feel that same kind of love baked into Venba. This indie game stands on its own two feet amongst the other indie greats.

So what are you waiting for? Want something to play during the Thanksgiving season? Looking for a short and charming game to unwind to? Or interested in experiencing a game that focus on a culture that isn’t always highlighted in the world of games? Then pick up Venba! It is available on the Nintendo Switch, PS5, MS Windows, Xbox Series and Xbox One. At only $15 you can enjoy one of the best indie games to come out in 2023.