This is a transcript excerpt covering the score awarded to Venba on the So Videogames podcast, episode 351: Pacing!!!

BRAD: Yeah. Okay. So this is my official so video games review of Venba. I played it last week. It’s on game Pass for free, you know, quote unquote free. It’s also like on basically every other platform known to man. So you should check it out. It’s basically the story of immigrants from India who come to Canada and they [00:15:00] start a family. And that’s really what the game is about. Right? But it’s told in kind of like a semi point and click semi visual novel, semi kind of cooking mini game. Sort of a thing. Venba is the name of the mom, and she and her husband are there. They start a family. They have a baby. And it kind of just chronicles their life like. And what I like about it is, number one, the art style is amazing. The music is also amazing. And I think it’s just really a short I want to say like 90 minutes, maybe two hours, depending on how badly you mess up the cooking. But it’s pretty easy. So probably like more like a 90 minute thing. They get in and they are really surgical about how they tell their story. Like they just get in, they give you the highlights, they paint the picture. If you are I mean, you don’t have to be an immigrant to understand the themes that are going on here.

BRAD: I bet it’ll help if you have like family who are from another country or if you’re like a first generation person yourself, or maybe your mom and dad have different traditions than you do and you’re kind of caught in the middle. They explore that quite a bit. Their son, his name is Kevin. Kevin is kind of that first generation kid where, like, he’s growing up in America, was born in or I’m sorry, in Canada and growing up in Canada. But his mom and dad are from India, so they have this kind of culture clash going on and they do their best to raise raise. Kevin And it’s really good they have these moments in the game. I’m not going to spoil anything, but you know, I’ve got I’ve got I’ve got two kids myself and, you know, I’m a parent and having kids is just like it’s like its own thing. And I think that maybe it’ll hit different for people who have kids or if you are an adoptive parent or a foster parent or if you are a parental figure, I don’t think you need to like biologically have kids. But just like if you’ve got a younger person in your life that you’re kind of looking out for and that you, you know, I feel like you’re going to really connect on this a lot.

BRAD: Like some of the discussions the mom and the dad have in this game totally got me dude. Like one. It was like they were reading my mind like the same shit, like really universal themes. And then on top of that, just the cultural stuff was really great. I got to say also, you’re going to want to go find an Indian grocery store right after you finish this game. I thought so because oh fuck, dude, all the food they make, I’m like, Oh fuck, I’m so. I’m hungry. I want some Indian food. So my wife and I are we are going to locate an Indian grocery store. We’ve got a couple around us, fortunately, so we’re going to go do that. And I want to make some of the recipes they made in there. And it looks like I mean, obviously they simplify them for a video game. I get it’s not that easy, but like some of those, I feel like we could probably do those. Me and my wife are pretty good at cooking already, so I feel like we got the skills to pull it off. Man. I’m looking at some of those things like this one biryani dish and I’m like, Oh, I need that like right now. Okay, so.

CARLOS: It real quick tangent on Indian cooking. I have a lot of friends who are Indian and a lot of friends. In my last company I worked at actually directly from India came over and then actually cooked me a meal. Oh, so I have firsthand experience. Biryani’s tough. Okay, so biryani’s tough. So don’t don’t be like, oh, I’ll just cook up some biryani. No, biryani is a tough one too. I don’t think I’m.

BRAD: Going to nail it, but I feel like we could try it. Like I bet we could get there. Have. You’ll have three attempts.

CARLOS: Here’s what it is. You’ll have the Brad version of Chicken Biryani. Probably because when I was, you know, these guys were working on it like for a while in the kitchen and they’re like, It’s not quite right. And I’m like, Shit, Like, what is it? There’s like this certain thing to get biryani, right? But anyways, sure, sure. Things like, you know, the basic stuff and a lot of like tikka masala, that kind of stuff. As long as you can get the sauce right. It’s really about the sauce with those.

BRAD: Oh, yeah. India is all about the sauce. Yeah.

CARLOS: And the spices within that sauce, that ratio and then the chicken being good chicken. But I remember the last time they cooked for me. It was halal chicken too. Oh, okay. I don’t know if that makes a difference. And to all those people out there who listen to us who only eat halal, I’ll say this. It it felt like it was different. It felt like it was better because what they told me is that and I’m not sure if I can make getting this right, but this is what I heard, that when you have a chicken that you’ve killed and you prepare it like in the halal style. Yeah, you bloodlet it, which means, like, you just let the blood out in a certain way. Sure. And it’s not a butchery kind of thing. And the fact is, the energy, this is what they say. The energy stays more in the chicken. It’s like the whole life or soul hasn’t left it. And so when you eat it, they said it gives you more like energy.

BRAD: Interesting. I don’t know. I don’t know anything about I mean, I know what halal is like. I mean, where I live in Seattle, we have tons of Muslim people around. And when you go to the grocery store, they have like an entire halal section. So I know about it, I mean, roughly, but like, I’m not an expert, so I don’t know, like the details of it. That sounds interesting.

CARLOS: But yeah, that’s the kind of info I got in that one day. And anyways, long tangent over. It’s hard to cook it good, but anyone can like prepare it. Yeah.

BRAD: Yeah. I mean I’ll probably do a shitty version and then maybe like a slightly less shitty version and then maybe like the ninth time we do it, it’ll be pretty okay, [00:20:00] right?

CARLOS: But the shitty version is going to taste great. Probably.

BRAD: Yeah, probably so. But man, it looks so good. So anyway, you’re going to want to find some Indian food like stat. Like in fact, maybe get some before you play the game so that you can just like immediately pivot to eating. Right after that would be a smart move. But I love the art style. I love the story and like real talk, like I said on the show last week, like I cried like twice in this game and it’s like 90 minutes, dude. My wife was in fucking tears when I came around the corner and saw her playing this and I was like, Oh my God, what’s going on? And she’s like, I’m playing this fucking game. And she was busted up. I was busted up. Like, you may not cry if you don’t have kids or anything. Like I said, it probably hits different if you’ve got kids. But even so, you will feel the story of these people. You will feel what they go through. It’s just it’s human emotion. It’s human issues. It’s relatable. And it doesn’t you don’t have to be an Indian person. You don’t have to be an immigrant. These are just like human stories. It was kick ass dude. I love this game. It was so great. And I loved especially that they got in, told the story, got out, did what they needed to do really effective with their time. Like surgical. Like I said, I feel overall I give this the official video games 8.5 I thought it was wonderful had a great time.

CARLOS: That’s great and I do like that it is representative of Indian culture. You know, like you said, you don’t have to be, but it’s great to see more of it. Absolutely. Absolutely. And then secondly, I don’t have a family, so it’s not going to hit the same for me at all. And I can recognize what you probably got from it because of that. So but I’ll go for just like the, you know, emotional stuff.

BRAD: Oh, yeah. And 90 minutes, dude. Like it’s it’s so worth it. That’s like such a low bar to clear for so many games you play. It’s absolutely worth it.

CARLOS: I’m downloading it right after this 8.5.

BRAD: Wonderful. Loved it then. But let’s do more of this stuff. I would love it. I would love it.

CARLOS: Asterix Asterix to that. If you happen to be in San Francisco and you’re listening to our podcast, you are in for a treat because you can listen to this review, buy the game, get excited, like Brad said, to for Indian food afterwards. And then in San Francisco, go to a place called Little Deli. It is hands down the best place in all of San Francisco for Indian food.

BRAD: Whoa. Okay, bonus. Bonus content.

So Videogames Official Score: 8.5 out of 10

Developer: Visai Games

Publisher: Visai Games

Code Source: Xbox Game Pass

Platform Reviewed: Xbox X

ESRB Rating: T – Blood, Use of Tobacco, Violence

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Subtitles: All dialogue is subtitled. There are no options to alter or resize text. No audio is needed for play. This game is fully accessible.

Controls: The controls are not remappable. There is no control diagram. The left stick moves an onscreen cursor and the face buttons confirm/cancel.

Brad Gallaway
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