If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably rejoicing at the recent arrival of Spring. There’s a bright orb in the sky that we haven’t seen in months, snow has (mostly) melted away, flowers are in bloom, allergies are aflare. It’s a lovely time of renewal. It’s also a great time to release new games, and there are no shortages of wonderful indies slated to come out throughout the month of April. Where I live, spring is often very rainy—April showers bring May flowers, and all of that—so I tend to enjoy settling down during a rainy afternoon and visiting a wholesome narrative game. For that reason, I’ve narrowed April’s wishlist roundup down into a list of cozy and wholesome stories. Grab a cup of tea and add these five indies to your wishlist this month.
Okay, I lied a little bit. Not all of these games are wholesome. Murderous Muses should still be enjoyed with a cup of tea, however. This FMV game from the brilliant team at D’avekki studios—known for other FMV titles The Shapeshifting Detective, The Infectious Mind of Dr Dekker, and Dark Nights with Poe and Munro—is a creative whodunnit style murder mystery. While creating the portraits of six muses, Mr. Grey came to his untimely demise and it is now up to players to see through Mordechai’s eyes using his portraits to discover which muse is the murderer.
Players will explore a haunting and evolving art gallery over the course of three nights where they will view FMV snippets of the muses and learn about the mysterious Mirlhaven where the games’ events are set. The murderer is chosen at random with each new game, so there is plenty of potential for replay and to discover new events and secrets. Murderous Muses launches on PC and consoles on April 12.
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly
Originally released in January of 2020, Coffee Talk was a love letter to the ambiance of a small town coffee shop. Players served as a barista in a beautiful pixel coffee house where they served up tea and lattes while a wonderful cast of unusual but lovable characters told the stories of their modern day lives. Some found love, some found peace, and all found a good warm beverage. Coffee Talk was a breakout success for Indonesian-based developers, Toge Studios, and boasts an "Overwhelmingly Positive" rating on steam with more than 6600 reviews. Coffee Talk 2, then, seemed like an obvious follow up.
Sadly, during the production of Coffee Talk 2 the creator and developer, Mohammad Fahmi, passed away. Toge Studios forged ahead in Fahmi’s honor to finish the game. Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly will formally launch across PC and consoles on April 20. Players who enjoyed the first game will recognize that Coffee Talk 2 takes place in the same familiar coffee house complete with its chill, lo-fi vibe and pixel aesthetic. Notable characters from the first game are also expected to return along with some new faces and stories.
PC and Xbox fans with a subscription to Game Pass or Game Pass Ultimate can enjoy the game at no extra cost when it launches into the subscription service on day one. A 10% launch discount will be available across other platforms.
Venba’s storybook art style quickly caught people’s attention when it was announced during the Wholesome Games show in 2022. Players experience the branching narrative of Venba through the eyes and hands of an Indian mother who has immigrated to Canada with her family in the 1980s. Players must help the title character explore and experience her new world in order to help restore her recipe book that becomes damaged during the move. By the power of cooking mini games, exploration and narrative interactions, they will unlock a rich story about family, love and loss that is sure to tug on the heartstrings of even the most stoic.
Venba will be available across PC and consoles, and will also be available day one via Xbox and PC Game Pass.
Roots of Pacha
Starting a civilization from scratch is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Roots of Pacha sets out to let you do. Following a change to their motherland, the children of Pacha eschew their nomadic lifestyle for something a little more settled. Now they need you to guide them as they domesticate crops, tame wild animals, and farm their way to civilization in this charming pixelated world. Players can expand their village in online co-op or alone in single player as their clan develops ideas, partakes in fishing tournaments, and holds festivals.
This slice of life and farm simulator, developed by the two-person team at Soda Den and published by Crytivo, is expected to hit Steam on April 25.
We’ve almost run the gamut of wholesome game types at this point. We’ve farmed, we’ve cooked, we had a spot of tea, and we solved a murder mystery. To round out this roundup, I think there's just one last thing to do: Deliver some letters.
That means it's time to introduce you to Mail Time—a cozy, nonviolent and peaceful game embracing all the goodness of cottagecore with some light platforming and adventure. Players create their own custom Mail Scout from millions of potential combinations, and then hop, skip, and glide through a beautifully illustrated forest floor with the help of a letter shaped glider to deliver mail to a slew of equally charming animal characters. The forest is expansive, with eight different areas including a murky swamp and peaceful farm, all of which are loaded with hidden trinkets to collect. Collecting and helping the lively cast of characters from Grumblewood Grove unlocks Scout Badges.
While there’s plenty to do in Mail Time, the game’s lone developer, Kela van der Deijl, has focused on accessibility and created a welcoming experience that allows anybody and everybody to play at their own pace with no time limits or pressure. Even fall damage has gone out the window, allowing you to overcome the game’s obstacles on your own terms.
Mail Time is scheduled to be released on Steam and Nintendo Switch on April 27.
Read more Picks
Cole Martin is a writer and artist living out in the absolute middle of nowhere who has a love for obscure indie games and also Call of Duty. You can find her posting occasionally on Twitter @eternalrhage