Developer: Visai Games
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), Switch, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie, Simulation
Publisher: Visai Games
Venba is a short narrative cooking game. There really isn’t any game that is similar to Venba, as Venba tells a beautiful story through the form of cooking. Venba is developed and published by Visai Games. This review is done for the PC, but the game is available for all other gaming platforms.
Venba is a single-player game where you play as an Indian mother who immigrated to Canada with her family in the 1980s. The story plays with many narrative cutscenes that showcase dialogues and special moments in Venba’s life. There are multiple chapters throughout the game which highlight the passing years. Each chapter has an authentic Indian dish that you try to recover. This game creates a sense of culture that can be brought through food in a very lovely way.
The controls for Venba are very straightforward to use. You mainly just use the mouse for most interactions, and they tend to be highlighted on the screen. What I like about the game is that there are multiple dialogue options that you can pick from, but I don’t believe choosing any specific one will change the course of the game. Overall, the controls are simple and work smoothly.
The art style for Venba is similar to a sketched-out comic book. It has a 2D cartoonish look to it, which goes really well with the narrative aspect of this game. I love the attention to detail that comes with the visuals of this game, especially the ingredients you use to make the dishes. Everything about the game is bright and vibrant; it is there to tell a story. Even the character designs are authentic to Asian culture, specifically the Indian culture the creators were trying to capture. I also loved the Tamil writing that was incorporated into the game to give it a more realistic feel to the game. The soundtrack was wonderful in this game. First off, a really amazing detailed sound effect that really brought the game to life was the bangles Venba was wearing. If there was a scene in the game where she would be walking, you could hear her bangles jingle, which I found to be an amazing detail in the game. On top of that, the music that played throughout the game was fantastic. It was a mix of Tamil and South Asian music put together and was definitely something you would find yourself putting in your playlist. I liked how she would turn up the radio every time she would go to cook, and a new song would be playing. The soundtrack and visuals of this game really helped tell a lovely story.
I extremely enjoyed the game. I loved the overall message behind the game, which seems to be that food is a big part of some people’s cultures, and this game showed that. The cooking sequences in the game would show a little instruction book that was not fully eligible, so you would figure out how to make authentic Indian dishes through dialogue and sometimes trial and error. In all honesty, there was not much trial and error that needed to be done because most of it came across as common sense. A new recipe was taught at every sequence, and each dish you made had a meaning to what was being told in the story. It truly just did highlight the relationship between culture and food. With Venba’s kid, it also brought attention to how many immigrant kids tend to lose touch with their roots and when it’s too late to come to the realisation. The story was heartwarming to play through as it captured the real-life struggles that most people go through. Food is a way for people to come together, and the game did just that. As much as the narrative sequences, I enjoyed the short cooking cuts that you could play. You would do things where you cut fish, blend ingredients, sieve flour and much more. In some ways, this game is a nice way to see the unique and delicious type of food Indian culture has to offer. I do have to say the game was very short, as I finished it in about 130 mins which, would be the downfall of the game.
Now, if you want to play a short game that tells a lovely story about an Indian family, a story where you get to recover your mother’s old cooking recipes and make them for yourself and your family. A story where you go through all the different emotions in a short span, then Venba is definitely the game for you. It captures the true essence of culture and is done with stunning visuals and with a surprising soundtrack.
This is S & S. We are world game explorers. We play games. We have played over 10,000+ games! We travel, we write reviews AND we play more games!!!!