7 Most Wholesome Indie Games

Wholesome Indie Games

Ah, the mid-2000s gaming era, it feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? Back then, it was quite a challenge to find games that didn’t revolve around combat, conflict, or some form of violence. The gaming world was all about non-stop action, thrills, spills, and a seemingly endless arsenal of guns. It’s hard to think of many exceptions, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong; I have a lot of love for the games from that time, but let’s be real, they weren’t exactly what you’d call wholesome. But then, something wonderful happened with the rise of “Indie Gaming”. Suddenly, there was a shift in the gaming landscape, and a delightful wave of cute, cozy games began to pop up all over the place.

These games were a breath of fresh air. They introduced us to a world where there were no deaths or consequences to worry about. The art styles were cute and minimalist, featuring little creatures with eyes almost as big as their bodies. The overall vibe of these games just wrapped you up in a warm, fuzzy feeling.

In fact, I’ve found myself experiencing what I’d like to call “cozy-game fatigue” recently because there have been so many new and exciting games in this category. It’s a nice problem to have, don’t you think? It’s amazing to see how the gaming world has expanded to offer something for everyone, even those of us who just want to enjoy a game that leaves us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Garden Story
Garden Story

The gaming world has certainly come a long way, hasn’t it? It’s given us titles that have not only entertained but also warmed our hearts, offering a collective chill-out after those super stressful days. And you know what? It would be such a shame if I kept this fantastic list of cozy titles just bouncing around in my noggin.

So, here’s the deal – I’m here to spill the beans and share with you some of the most wholesome, mentally restorative, and downright calming adventures you can embark on in the world of gaming. These are the titles that help you switch off, unwind, and find your center, so when Monday comes knocking, you’re recharged and ready to tackle whatever the week throws your way. No more beating around the bush; it’s time for us to dive into our ultimate list of the Most Wholesome Indie Games ever made.

Selection Criteria

Before we get all comfy with our blankets and hot water bottles, let’s lay down some ground rules. We want to make sure we’re on the same page about what makes a game “wholesome” and why it deserves a spot on our list of all-time greats. Here’s what I’ve been considering when crafting this list:

  1. Quality First: Every game on this list has to be top-notch, with a Metacritic score of 70% or higher. We’re all about the best of the best here.
  2. No Stress Allowed: These games need to steer clear of those harsh mechanics like heavy consequences for failing, extensive violence, or constant combat. We want relaxation, not frustration.
  3. Warm and Welcoming: The art style and general theme of these games should make you feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. They’ve got to radiate warmth and invite you into their world.
  4. Casual Vibes: We’re looking for games that are easygoing and relatively casual to play. No need to break a sweat; just enjoy the ride.
  5. For Everyone: These games should be accessible to gamers of all levels. Whether you’re a pro or just starting out, there’s something here for you.

So, now that we’ve got our cozy criteria all set, let’s snuggle up, pull that duvet up to your chin, and dive into these heartwarming titles! It’s time for a gaming adventure that’s all about relaxation and fun.

7. Omno


“Journey” might not be everyone’s cup of tea due to its clunky platforming and unconventional gameplay. But I have just the recommendation for those looking for a more straightforward and engaging experience – “Omno.” It’s a lot like “Journey” in many ways, and it’s perfect for those who appreciate a smoother ride.

In “Omno,” you step into the shoes of a silent protagonist on a quest to uncover the secrets of a long-lost civilization. While there’s some platforming and puzzle-solving involved, the game takes it up a notch with additional traversal mechanics, making your journey through vast landscapes incredibly satisfying. You won’t feel lost either, as “Omno” provides more direction and guidance, so you’ll always know where you’re headed.

One of the fantastic aspects of this game is that it, just like “Journey,” doesn’t feature failure. You have all the time in the world to explore each new biome, test out various movement skills, and gradually unravel the mysteries of the society that was left behind.

So, if you’re in the mood for an adventure that’s as beautiful as it is user-friendly, give “Omno” a whirl. It’s a journey that you won’t regret embarking on, promising a serene experience with just the right balance of exploration and discovery.

6. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

Oh, let’s not forget the queen of all things wholesome and heartwarming in the world of gaming – “Stardew Valley.” If you’ve been looking for a place to escape to, Eric Barone’s creation is the ultimate destination, and it’s like a warm, comforting hug in pixelated form.

Eric Barone, the mastermind behind this gem, is the embodiment of all things wholesome, and his passion shines through in every corner of the game. As you step into Pelican Town, you’re greeted by lovely pixel visuals that are just a delight to explore. The characters you meet are diverse, relatable, and soon become like old friends. And oh, the soundtrack! It’s like a musical journey that makes every season and new area feel absolutely unique.

But the magic doesn’t stop there. “Stardew Valley” is all about community, and you’ll see it come to life during holiday festivals. It’s like a little town full of heart and soul, and you’ll become an integral part of it.

Now, here’s the cherry on top: the gameplay. It’s as meticulous and challenging as you want it to be. If you fancy farming a 9×9 plot of crops forever, well, guess what? You can! The choice is entirely yours, and that’s what makes this game so incredible. It adapts to your pace and preferences.

While there have been many copycat games trying to capture the same pure and wholesome vibes – like “Super Zoo Story,” “Potion Permit,” “Coral Island,” and more – “Stardew Valley” remains the undisputed king of the farming sim genre. It’s like a timeless classic, an evergreen source of joy and comfort. So, if you’re in the mood for a dose of wholesome farming, give this game a go. It’s an invitation to a world of pure delight and tranquility.

5. Concrete Genie

Concrete Genie
Concrete Genie

I’m a fan of those niche games where you can unleash your inner artist and bring the world back to life. And here’s another gem to add to your list: “Concrete Genie.” This charming title lets you step into the shoes of a young boy living in a seaside town that’s seen better days. It used to be a bustling tourist attraction, but now it’s a little worn around the edges.

Our hero has big dreams – not just about becoming an artist but also about saving his town from its downward spiral. And guess what? He’s got a magical paintbrush to help him along the way. With this enchanted tool, you can summon sentient paint creatures known as Genies to add splashes of color to the town. But that’s not all. You even get to give your bullies a little artistic makeover in the process!

Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the controller-based motion controls. Some might call them a tad fidgety, and that might even be generous. But here’s the thing: once you get past this slightly quirky gimmick, you’re in for a heartwarming underdog story. It’s a tale that dives deep into why bullies become bullies and how a little love, consideration, and a pop of color can transform the world for the better.

“Concrete Genie” isn’t just a game; it’s a lesson in empathy, a reminder that a little kindness and a splash of creativity can go a long way. It’s a message that’s as wholesome as they come. So, if you’re ready to embark on an artistic adventure that’s as heartening as it is unique, give this game a whirl. It’s an invitation to a world where imagination knows no bounds.

4. Celeste


Have you ever played those games that just wrapped you up in a cozy, wholesome embrace? You know, the ones that don’t make you tear your hair out in frustration and let you set your own pace? Well, they’re like a warm cup of tea on a rainy day, a comforting escape. But what’s even more fascinating is when a game throws you a curveball and still manages to fit snugly into the wholesome category. Let me tell you about “Celeste,” a hyper-intense platformer from 2018 that’s a bit of a rebel in the world of wholesome gaming.

For example, imagine you step into the shoes of Madeline, a determined soul with her sights set on conquering Celeste mountain. She’s not aiming for the moon; she just wants to prove to herself that she can achieve something truly monumental. Simple enough, right? But as the story unfolds, you find yourself in a heartfelt battle with your inner demons. It’s like a journey through the pages of a book that delicately tackles the themes of depression and anxiety, in a way that’s pure and effective.

The message of “Celeste” is, well, heartwarming. Add in the incredible soundtrack by Lena Raine that’ll make your heart skip a beat and the retro visuals that take you down memory lane. But here’s the twist: this game is no cakewalk. You might find yourself on the edge of your seat, controller in hand, ready to conquer one of the most challenging platformers you’ve ever come across. It’s like life itself, right? You have to face your demons head-on and learn to coexist with them. It’s a wonderful message delivered through an extraordinary game.

So, if you’re up for a gaming adventure that’s both wholesome and a bit of a rollercoaster, “Celeste” might just be your cup of tea. Get ready to master those tight mechanics and reach the summit, both in the game and in your own journey. After all, what’s life without a few challenges, right? “Celeste” is not just a game; it’s a profound, empowering experience that leaves you with a heartwarming message to carry with you.

3. When the Past Was Around

When the Past Was Around
When the Past Was Around

There’s something truly special about games that touch our hearts and souls. “When the Past Was Around” is one of those gems that manages to evoke powerful emotions, much like “Spiritfarer.” It’s a game that delves into the intricate tapestry of life, death, companionship, and the art of letting go.

In this enchanting title, you’ll find yourself navigating a series of point-and-click puzzles, which harken back to classic games like “Grim Fandango” and “Escape from Monkey Island.” But here’s the twist: it brings an entirely unique art style and a modern twist to the mix.

The gameplay is simple and the puzzles, while challenging, don’t push you to the brink of frustration. However, the real gem here is the story. In just three short hours, “When the Past Was Around” weaves a silent narrative that you piece together through poignant flashbacks. The ultimate goal? To put the past where it belongs, allowing you to embrace the future.

Prepare for a heartstring-tugging experience, complete with adorable visuals that are sure to melt your heart. And the soundtrack? It’s like a musical masterpiece that uses the same riff in new and captivating ways, making it one of the most cleverly composed OSTs I’ve ever encountered.

So, if you’re in the mood for an emotional journey that combines nostalgia, puzzle-solving, and a profound narrative, “When the Past Was Around” is a must-try. It’s a reminder that sometimes the most beautiful stories are told in silence.

2. Undertale


Ever thought about going on a mass genocide run in a video game? Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Well, hold onto your hats because “Undertale” is about to take you on a wild ride. This game, crafted by the genius Toby Fox, is like the crown jewel of indie games, proving that even the scrappiest of titles can become massive successes.

In Undertale you step into the shoes of a young child named Frisk, who ends up falling beneath the Earth’s surface, right into a world filled with trapped monsters hidden behind a magical barricade. Your mission? Find a way back to the surface. Sounds simple, right? But wait, there’s more.

As you journey through this peculiar world, you’ll meet a charming cast of colorful characters, find yourself in surreal situations, and groove to Toby’s enchanting chiptune music. It’s like a musical adventure filled with whimsical oddities.

So, why is “Undertale” considered wholesome? Well, it’s like a cozy, warm hug in the form of a video game. The cute pixel art style, the minimalist design, and the accessible gameplay make it feel like a fuzzy blanket on a cold day. And the cherry on top? The witty, satirical writing that flips the script on traditional RPG tropes that have been around for decades. It’s an absolute joy from start to finish.

What’s truly unique is that you can choose to play the game as a complete pacifist, and it’s more than just an option; it’s encouraged. It’s like a nod to all the RPGs that came before it, playfully casting aside the conventions that have been set in stone for ages. “Undertale” allows you to challenge the norm and embark on a journey that’s as heartwarming as it is entertaining.

So, if you’re in the mood for a cozy, offbeat gaming experience, “Undertale” is an absolute must-try. It’s like curling up with a good book on a rainy day – comforting, fun, and thought-provoking.

1. Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Chicory: A Colorful Tale
Chicory: A Colorful Tale

We all need a bit of childlike whimsy in our lives from time to time. If you’re looking for a game that transports you back to those carefree days when your biggest academic responsibility was coloring within the lines, then “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” is an absolute must-play.

In this enchanting game, you’ll find yourself in a Zelda-like world, taking on the role of the janitor for the world’s deity. Your task? To paint this world with vibrant colors and keep the gloomy black and white at bay. But there’s a twist – the deity has mysteriously vanished, so it’s up to you to step into the shoes of a master painter and restore the world’s brilliance and hue.

“Chicory” is a delightful bundle of silliness, with moments that will make your heart swell with joy. But here’s the beauty of it – it also delves into some pretty profound themes, such as imposter syndrome and self-doubt, in a remarkably competent way. It’s a game that gives you those heartwarming, warm fuzzies and offers a unique puzzle-adventure experience, somewhat reminiscent of the classic “Okami.”

So, if you’re in need of a dose of nostalgia and a journey that’s a perfect blend of lightheartedness and depth, “Chicory: A Colorful Tale” is calling your name. It’s a game that’ll put a smile on your face and remind you that life is full of vibrant colors, waiting to be discovered.

Honorable Mentions

There’s a treasure trove of heartwarming and cozy indie games out there waiting to be explored. Here’s a quickfire list of some of the best of the rest, so you don’t miss out on these delightful experiences:

  • Forager
  • Garden Story
  • Potion Permit
  • Eastward
  • Donut County
  • The Last Campfire
  • Summer In Mara
  • My Time at Portia
  • Bear and Breakfast
  • Abzu
  • Unravel
  • Bugsnax
  • Tchia (2023)
  • Shumi Come Home (2023)
  • Never Alone
  • Ooblets
  • Little Witch in the Woods (Early Access)
  • Core Keeper (Early Access)

As you can see, there’s an abundance of cozy and heartwarming games to choose from. This growing trend of cozy gaming is indeed here to stay, and it’s a beautiful way to unwind and find joy in the digital world. If you’re looking to play all the classics that paved the way for this new generation of cozy indies, well, it’s time to dive in and start exploring.

I hope this list gives you more than enough delightful titles to keep you entertained while you’re cozied up by a roaring fire with a hot cup of cocoa. Thanks for reading Indie Game Co, and happy gaming!


What Does Wholesome Actually Mean?

By definition, wholesome means “conducive to or suggestive of good health and physical well-being.” So within the context of gaming, these are some titles that have a strong moral message or games that may feel emotionally, mentally, or physically restorative. 

What is Wholesome Direct?

As you would imagine, with the rise of ‘cozy games,’ there have been some companies that have leaned into this phenomenon to cater to gamers who love titles like this, and WholesomeGames decided to do an entire direct event showcasing upcoming wholesome titles.

Can AAA Games be Wholesome?

You know, it’s not every day that you come across AAA games that can capture that warm and compassionate feeling. It’s quite a challenge considering the high production standards and the pressure to stick to traditional gaming tropes. But once in a while, we do get lucky, and a few titles pop up that just warm our hearts. Here are a handful that come to mind:

  • Fable
  • The Last Guardian
  • Mario Odyssey
  • Life is Strange
  • Pokemon Snap

These games really stand out in the big, wide world of gaming.

Read More:

11 Hardest Indie Games of All Time

What Makes a Game Indie? — Our Take