When it comes to indie games, there has been an increasing number of titles inspired by Studio Ghibli’s enchanting art style. However, among this year’s offerings, one game stands out as the epitome of faithfulness to the Ghibli aesthetic. Vivarium, showcased during the Wholesome Snack event, is a retro anime-inspired adventure game that captures the essence of Ghibli in every frame.

The moment I laid eyes on the trailer, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between Vivarium and Ghibli classics like “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “My Neighbor Totoro.” The game’s enchanting small-town ambiance and character designs evoke a sense of nostalgia that Ghibli fans will instantly recognize and appreciate.

Despite its captivating trailer, there is still much to be discovered about Vivarium. As of now, the game’s first trailer is all we have, and its Steam page is yet to be established. However, we do know that a talented TV animator based in New York is behind this project. The central focus of Vivarium revolves around life inside a mysterious terrarium, located in a dilapidated rural American home.

From what we can gather from the trailer, Vivarium promises to deliver a gameplay experience reminiscent of the best adventure games. Players will be engrossed in the art of exploration, carefully examining their surroundings, and documenting their findings in a journal. While the details of the game’s overall mechanics remain unclear at this early stage, the protagonist’s diary offers a glimpse into the possibilities. Tabs such as ‘Status,’ ‘Inventory,’ ‘Map,’ ‘Log,’ and ‘System Menu’ hint at the depth of the gameplay mechanics that await players. Additionally, we catch a glimpse of a pocket watch, serving as a timekeeper, and a handy shovel equipped by the character, providing further intrigue and anticipation.

Vivarium not only captivates with its Ghibli-inspired visuals but also introduces various charming elements to enhance the player’s experience. In the trailer, we catch a glimpse of a friendly shopkeeper running a store that stocks tools, reminiscent of beloved games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This delightful inclusion promises to add depth to the gameplay and create a sense of community within the game’s world.

As development progresses, Vivarium remains shrouded in mystery, enthralling players with its unique blend of Ghibli aesthetics and engaging gameplay. The intriguing concept of a terrarium as the focal point of the game sets it apart from other indie titles. With each new revelation, the anticipation for Vivarium’s release builds, leaving fans eagerly awaiting more glimpses into this enchanting world.

Vivarium has successfully captured the essence of Studio Ghibli’s artistry and transported it into the realm of indie gaming. Its retro anime-inspired visuals, small-town charm, and enigmatic terrarium offer a promising adventure that is sure to captivate players. With its homage to Ghibli and its own unique spin, Vivarium has the potential to become a standout title in the ever-growing world of indie games.


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