Venba, the tried and true of a culinary puzzle game with a strong narrative meaning

Venba, the tried and true of a culinary puzzle game with a strong narrative meaning


The nice thing about independent development, without a doubt, is its ability to give birth to real pearls that no big publisher would have the courage to finance. The nice thing about the Tribeca Film Festival, then, is that it selects only the most fascinating of these, it doesn't matter if they don't always have a formula behind them that can lead them to great commercial success. Among the proposals this year, the one that most embodies the example we refer to is Venba, a delicate narrative experience with a culinary theme that tells the vicissitudes of an Indian family who emigrated to Canada, through the preparation of a series of typical dishes of traditional South Indian cuisine.

Thanks to a small demo that the Tribeca Film Festival made available to us, we were able to try Venba and deepen its charm, remaining hopelessly enchanted by the colors and notes that accompanied the test. Here, below, why you should closely follow the progress of this magnetic independent production.

Eat pray love

The two protagonists of Venba Venba is the first work of a very small team with Toronto-based Visai Games, and it's possible that the story takes on autobiographical traits considering the provenance of the studio members. The demo was particularly short and allowed us not only to get to know the characters at the center of the work better, but also to become familiar with a gameplay that will make us discover and restore the ancient recipes of an old book on Indian cuisine, of which some parts have been lost forever. The game tells the story of this Indian family that struggles with the difficulties of living in a foreign country, dealing with issues such as integration, family, love and loss with great delicacy and sensitivity.

Although it is configured as a culinary puzzle game in which we will have to solve some puzzles related to the recipes we were referring to previously, Venba first wants to focus on its narrative component, and therefore it is not surprising that we have only spent one very small part of our test. It is too early to comment on the goodness of the narrative, but it is interesting to say the least that Visai Games has chosen not to do like many other indies and to bet all its cards on the gameplay, instead emphasizing a story that from what we have seen is very skilled. in making the player become attached to the characters.

In the initial phase of the demo we meet the two spouses, who live the persistent dilemma of returning to India due to the economic hardships in which they navigate. It is through cooking that the Indian mother, the more nostalgic of the two, manages to reconnect with her origins, but the arrival of a child will mess up the cards and will be able to make the themes carried forward by the narration much deeper and more complex. For the moment we don't know anything else about the story at the center of Venba, but we have enormous expectations about it and we can't wait to find out in which direction the story will turn.

Food, colors and musical notes

Venba and her son The only level in the demo saw us engaged in the preparation of Idli, savory pies based on rice and lentils which, to be of the right consistency, must be prepared following a couple of tricks that only the most experienced Indian grandmothers know. As Italians we had no notion on how to cook Idli, and when the puzzle started with all the ingredients and supplies on the table ready to be combined together, we didn't know where to put our hands.

Fortunately, the recipe book of the protagonist's grandmother came to our rescue, but it was not particularly clear and failed to include all the steps of the process. After some inglorious failures, accompanied by a splendid and exotic soundtrack, we understood that the molds with which the Idli is prepared had to be arranged in a certain way to make the steam reach the upper floors of the pot, while a cloth placed between the dish and the mold would have preserved its shape.

One of Venba's puzzles, dedicated to the preparation of the Idli More than a simple cooking game, therefore, Venba is a real puzzle game full of intricacies culinary puzzles that, if they are similar to what we have played, will also be able to put you in some difficulty, especially since you will probably not know any of the Indian recipes proposed by the developers. The game does not yet have a release date and at the moment it is not possible to get an idea on the real dimensions that the title of Visai Games will assume at the release, but for the moment the combination of cooking and puzzles seemed particularly successful, also thanks to the colors and notes that accompany the player in the resolution of the latter.

As more and more indies are focusing on gameplay formulas capable of attracting the attention of the players, playful experiences such as the highly promising Venba show us which today does not necessarily need to be a roguelite or a metroidvania to emerge from the thick undergrowth of independent development. The title created by Visai Games is damn fascinating and has been able to captivate us with its delicacy, even if it is very early to expose itself on the final quality of this interesting project.


The story at the center of the game is of a unique delicacy Great idea to focus the puzzles on traditional Indian cuisine Particularly evocative soundtrack DOUBTS It will be important to understand how the puzzles will be able to differentiate themselves over the course of history Have you noticed any mistakes?

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