Often I find that good storytelling is often a narrative that is relatable even if the characters are different or in different circumstances than you. This is the case with Venba. Venba is a narrative cooking game that depicts the story of family trying to make their in this world. So how is this game? Does the gameplay mesh well with the story? Who is this game for?
Let’s dive into it.
This game tells the story of Venba and her husband, two Tamil Immigrants who are residents of Canada. They struggle with adapting to the new language, lack of job prospects, and culture. Then on top of that they are trying to relate to their son, Kaven who is growing up right before their eyes. They want him to have a better life than they did, but also want to instill their culture in him. Like many family’s many of their moments of connection happen through food.
Venba as a game tells a relatable story that is equally educational and touching. Just as Kaven, we are learning about parts of Tamil language and culture. I was touched to find out that the story of the game was inspired by creative director Abhi’s personal experiences.
Its a short story as you can play through the narrative in about 2 to 4 hours.
The core of Venba’s gameplay consists around you solving puzzles which is you cooking a dish. The puzzles are forgiving when you make a mistake. You simply start over. There is also a really good hint mechanic that will walk you through steps if you get stuck. The puzzles are creative and really don’t take too long to complete. Unfortunately, they felt the least interesting part of the game. This could be that I’m picky about the puzzles I enjoy in games though, because the mechanics of the puzzles worked well. While I didn’t really click with the games puzzles, the food that we were creating seemed interesting and like recipes that I’d love to try making in real life.
One of the best aspects of Venba is the sound design and music. The sound design will you are making a dish is excellent and combines well with its vibrant artstyle to set the overall mood. The sound, music, and artstyle merges together well to make meal prep feel consistently upbeat and fun.
If you are looking for a game that is going to give you many hours of entertainment the Venba isn’t going to be the game for you. Most players can and probably will beat this game in a single sitting. While I enjoyed the game not being longer than it needed to be this aspect might be a negative to some gamers.
Overall/Should you Play Venba:
Venba is a game that proves that small packages can really hit hard. While some might look at the 2 to 3 hour runtime negatively, I love that this game knows what it wants to be and nails it. You aren’t getting any unnecessary padding or fluff. Venba is an emotional, relatable, and well designed package that is an easy recommendation. While I didn’t enjoy the cooking minigames personally, I did understand why they were there, and it was constructed well. Overall if you are look for a short gaming experience with rich artstyle, catchy music, and an emotional story then you should check out Venba.
Where Should Venba fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Venba – The narrative of this game is good enough and a focal point so I’m recommend that Venba narrative spot. This is also a good palate cleanser game due to its short length. You can play the entire game in no time at all to get a bit of a break from your main narrative game.
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