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Venba Is a Story-Driven Cooking Game With Authentic Indian Food Out This Summer

(Image by Visai Games)

An upcoming game features a unique story told through food.

Venba is a cooking game based all in authentic Indian food with a story about an immigrant family’s lives adjusting to a new country. The developer Visai Games announced on Monday that Venba is now coming to all platforms this summer, with the addition of versions for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. The game will also be available to Xbox Game Pass subscribers on consoles and PC. Venba was previously announced for the Nintendo Switch and Steam.

The game is focused on Indian immigrants Venba and her family, who moved from their home country to Canada in the 1980s. During the move, Venba’s recipe book passed down through the generations was damaged. As Venba, players will cook various authentic Southern Indian dishes and meals to restore the recipes from the torn and blemished pages. The gameplay has puzzle elements where players will need to solve for the missing ingredients and steps from the damaged recipe book to complete the dishes. There will be songs in the game based on Indian musicals from the ’80s through the 2000s that change as the story evolves. There will also be branching dialogue and conversations for players to choose from. The food that’s cooked will play a central role in the story and the family maintaining their connection to the culture they left behind.

The story is described by Visai Games as being about family, loss and love. The game is told from the perspective of the parents and the experiences and challenges they face as adults in a new country and culture. Early on, Venba’s family is dealing with financial hardship and difficulties adjusting to the new country and are even contemplating moving back to India. Venba is now a substitute teacher in Canada. Her husband Paavalan used to be a writer in India. Their careers and lives are much different than what they were in India. Each level in the game will show different time periods and chapters in the family’s lives as the cooking recipes become more challenging.

Venba was first revealed in December 2020 and was scheduled for a release for PC on Steam in November 2021 that was pushed back. A Nintendo Switch version was added in November 2022 for a spring 2023 release on both platforms. The game has now been delayed again until later this summer with more platforms that it will release on. Becoming part of Xbox Game Pass and the funding from the program allowed the developers to expand the game’s scope and also quit their other game development jobs.

The small team at Visai Games is an independent studio based in Toronto. Venba has been in development for a few years. Abhi is the main designer, writer and programmer on the project. The game’s visuals are done by the studio’s art director Sam Elkana. Shahrin Khan is the game’s producer and other writer, who is also a Unity programmer that works at Among Us developer Innersloth. The studio is also dedicated to including authentic audio and sound effects of the Indian cooking process. Sound designer Neha Patel focused a lot on those unique audio elements, especially since for many players it will be the first time hearing and experiencing them from the perspective of the Indian culture.

Venba is partly based on personal experiences from the developers. Abhi moved from India to Canada with his parents when he was 12 years old. A lot of the game though is based on his observations of other Indian families and households having that same experience of being the first generation in a different country. As part of the game’s development, Abhi also heavily researched the specific dishes and preparations of all the included Southern Indian recipes in order to get them right while also making the steps accessible for Venba’s gameplay mechanics.

The game can be wishlisted on Steam.

Watch the game’s trailer:

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