The good thing about doing game reviews is that you get to play games that you would never had looked twice at otherwise and this is one of those occasions. Coffee Talk is not what I would go for in the real world at all but you got to leave your comfort zone sometimes and did I ever.
Coffee Talk is a visual novel game that is set in Seattle 2020 but not in our world, it is set in an alternative world where fantasy races are still around. Elves run start-up corporations and still live forever, Dwarves run the motor industry and the warlike Orcs have given up fighting and have re-trained as IT specialist and everything in-between just lives their best lives. You play the owner of a late-night coffee shop called Coffee Talk where the laid back atmosphere attracts races from all walks of life. It is a safe place where anyone can come pull up a chair, listen to some soft jazz, have a nice warm drink and talk about their problems.
Greet…Serve…Talk…Repeat – Barista Simulator
I didn’t go into Coffee Talk totally blind, I knew it was a heavy text-based game with old school pixel art graphics but that was it. My expectations I think were set a little high, I didn’t expect it to be as slow and boring as I found it. A tweak here or there and it would have been much better but the ambition of the game just stopped at the parallel social commentary of this fantasy world and our own. There is little to no story interaction between yourself and the customers….scrap that, there is no story interaction between yourself and the customers.
You are there to serve them their drink of choice and that is it really and even if you do that poorly it feels like there are no repercussions or harm done and in that, you don’t feel part of the game at all. I know it is labelled as a visual novel but come on its a video game as well so at least have something in it to make you feel like it. Any sort of dialogue choice would have been a godsend and would have made me feel like I was helping these people in some way other than warming them up.
The saving grace of the game is the world setting, it is high fantasy for hipsters. The characters that come into the coffee shop are interesting and different and all have problems that wouldn’t be out of place in our world, Racial tension, immigration, kids making a living on social media, they are all covered and more, there is even an alien looking for a breeding mate through tinder. I really wanted to like the characters I did but I just couldn’t as there was no real connection other than making their drinks, yes you speak to them but it’s not personal and all pre-determent, I know I have mentioned it before but it was a big factor for me enjoying it. There will be people out there that will love Coffee Talk as it is laid back and easy to pick up and down but it just wasn’t for me unfortunately.
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