Venba review: A masterly exploration of various subjects.

Venba review: A masterly exploration of various subjects.

Fast Facts: Venba

Developer: In-house
Publisher: Visai Games
Platform(s): PC, PS5, Switch, Xbox Series X
Release date: July 31, 2023

Venba is not just a game about me. It’s a game that delves into the lives of my mother and her mother before her. Imagine immigrants leaving their homeland in India to chase their dreams in the west, all while keeping their traditions and Eastern lifestyles alive through the art of cooking the food of their ancestors.

But don’t be mistaken, Venba is not just about my personal story. It’s a game that reflects the world I inhabit. It captures the essence of blending Eastern and Western lifestyles, and the challenges faced by the descendants of immigrants who find themselves torn between embracing their heritage and striving for acceptance in the Western world.

My Mother Bleeds History

Venba Game

In Venba, the game’s title is not only the name of the family’s mother but also the lens through which the captivating visual novel story unfolds. Venba and her husband, determined to create a better life, left India for Canada. However, just when they were about to return, their plans were disrupted by the arrival of their son, Kavin. Visai Games wastes no time in diving into the story, presenting an experience that will keep you engaged for under two hours.

As first-generation immigrants, Venba’s parents are plagued by the anxieties of living in a foreign land. They constantly question whether they are working hard enough or if they would have been better off remaining in India. On the other hand, Kavin, a second-generation immigrant, has his eyes set on his birth country, often neglecting the Eastern values his parents hold dear. It’s a relatable struggle, hitting painfully close to home.

This is the heart of Venba’s narrative: Kavin’s battle to embrace his heritage while integrating into Western society, juxtaposed with Venba and her husband’s fight to make something meaningful out of their lives. It tells a story that resonates with millions of diaspora worldwide, keeping them awake at night as they navigate the rocky terrain of uncertainty and self-doubt.

Sumptuous Servings

Venba Cooking

But Venba is not just a visual novel; it also surprises you with its cooking puzzle game elements. At various points, you will be presented with a treasured cooking book, passed down through generations around the world. Your task is to recreate a dish from scratch, deciphering instructions that might be difficult for Kavin to translate or have faded away with time.

The intricacies of the recipe book present their own challenges. For example, you might need to figure out how to use all the rice without wasting any excess in a blender or cleverly position small pots on a rack, allowing steam to rise and cook each dish to perfection.

It’s pure, simple brilliance that instantly satisfies. Venba’s cooking puzzles don’t punish you for making mistakes, so you’re free to relax, enjoy the process, and let your creativity shine through. The feeling of triumph when you nail a dish is reminiscent of a surge of serotonin. Though the puzzles last only a few minutes, the fulfillment they bring is beyond measure.

Here, Venba beautifully showcases Tamil culture and cooking. You’ll find yourself recreating stunning Dosas and sublime Idlis as you progress through the story. Immigrants carry their culinary heritage with them wherever they go, and Venba understands this. It channels Tamil culture and personal history through the art of cooking.

The act of cooking seamlessly intertwines with Venba’s overall narrative. At one point, when Kavin insists on having pizza, Venba entertains him by whipping up a dish cooked entirely in a tube that resembles a rocket. Cooking holds such a central role in the lives of Indian people, and Venba’s ability to incorporate it into the story is a testament to its excellence.

A Stunning Adventure

Venba is an extraordinary adventure that immerses you in the lives of Indian immigrants. It flawlessly weaves together a tale of generational anxieties and dreams, striking a chord with millions of people worldwide. The game’s combination of a captivating story and an enthralling cooking puzzle game truly showcases Venba’s mastery of the subjects it explores.

Reviewed on PC, with a code provided by the publisher.