Food and family converge in this beautiful slice-of-life tale.
"Venba perfectly melds together a story of generational anxieties and dreams"
Venba does not just make me feel seen, Venba makes me feel acknowledged and reassured in ways video games have never explored so profoundly.
I would have loved more Venba, with its vibrant sound, touching story, and mouthwatering food, and yet, I still feel like Visai Games has told a complete, focused story.
Although Venba’s gameplay boils down to practice making perfect, its cooking puzzles and narrative also work together to perfectly illustrate the trials Venba’s family is facing. By pulling you into this process, it builds a bridge of empathy for players like myself, helping us relate to the loss that comes with growing apart from one’s family and the love that keeps you tethered to them while you forge your own path. Pairing that all too relatable human experience with the making of a bounty of delicious meals I’d like to try my hand at IRL is just the icing on the puttu.
Alas, Venba is an exercise in brevity. I greatly enjoyed my peek into the lives of strangers who exposed me to a culture different than mine. I just wish I could have got a longer look at it.
Venba is a small game with big heart that really captures a lot of the experiences that immigrants and their children go through. It tells a simple story, but layers it in complex and engaging themes. The cooking sections could have been a bit more involved, but, but Venba is a game with a great look, great soundtrack, and provides an experience that people should play to understand a world and perspective that is unfamiliar to them.
Venba beautifully depicts the struggle of the first-generation immigrant experience — fighting to give your family better opportunities while holding true to your roots. It’s a golden example of how games can give players an authentic peek into underrepresented cultures when the right people are in charge. With the game being beatable in a sleek two hours, it’s impossible not to give Venba an incredibly high recommendation.
Venba is a lovely little narrative game about the struggle of raising a child as immigrants told via food, but it'll be over too quickly for some.
A short, cooking puzzle game that doubles as a touching visual novel about a mother, her family, and the immigrant experience.
Venba is a heartfelt tale of an immigrant mother doing her best to raise a son in Canada while passing on her Tamil culture. It's a story not often told, and it will stick with you long after the credits roll. Learning about this culture is a ton of fun and done through inventive puzzles having you cook traditional dishes. It's a gorgeous, passionate game that gives you a glimpse into another culture.
Venba could have been my story. Or your story, if you know what means to be the son (or the daughter) of a couple who moved to give you a better future at the cost of giving up to pass on their roots. And it's awesome a video game could tell this very thing in about two hours of gameplay and stay in your memories forever.
Review in Italian | Read full review
While slightly too short for its own good, Venba is an exciting cooking narrative game exploring Tamil food. It tells an important, yet heart-wrenching story of a family as they struggle to fit in a new country.
Venba is a lovely, quaint tale that successfully captures the notion of an immigrant family struggling in Canada. The story is heartfelt and manages to tackle subjects in a sensitive and realistic manner. While the cooking aspects are a little awkward on the controller and its short run time means that certain story beats are not fully explored, the game maintains a level of charm that will keep you eager for the next dish.
Venba is a delectable slice of a game that offers a subtly moving story that ought to appeal to Tamil people, first-generation immigrants and their children, and wider audiences alike. It’s also a fantastic cooking game, capturing the sights, sounds, joys, and challenges of preparing food like few games before it. A short runtime may leave you hungry for more, but that’s largely a testament to the quality of the meal.
As the end credits appeared on our screen it felt like we'd been on a generational journey — one that was both happy and sad, disappointing and hopeful, and above all, sincerely moving. We had a tear in our eye and everything. Four days later, writing this review and thinking about our experience playing Venba, we're smiling, and considering going back for a second helping.
Only toward the end does Venba hit upon a cohesive solution for both its story and its puzzles. The perspective shifts from Venba to Kavin, whose complicated relationship with his parents’ culture reframes the friction inherent to the game’s cooking segments: He has difficulty because he hasn’t prepared these dishes before and hasn’t cared to pay attention. Furthermore, his grasp on the Tamil language is rusty, so while he can refer to instructions at the top of the screen, they’ll be inaccurately translated and require the player to experiment while surmising their true meaning. This late change allows the game to finish strong, though the irritation of its earliest puzzles never quite dissipates, like a lingering taste from a dish whose flavors don’t fully cohere.
All of the delicacies in Venba look filling, so it’s a bit of a shame that the experience as a whole isn’t quite as hearty.
In Venba's short play time, the narrative-led cooking game conveys so much of this family's experience. The stirring story is presented in snackable chapters, each with an emotional tale tied to a dish. The puzzles aren't too challenging, making for a comforting, cosy playthrough as you prepare each meal. Be warned though: this game will make you hungry. And it may also make you cry.
Venba delivers an elegantly nuanced story about cultural identity through sharply written dialogue and meaningful cooking interludes.