Head on over to a specific coffee shop in Melbourne and you might just bump into a spirit or two readying themselves for the afterlife, but will you get served coffee? Maybe, the manager in charge may just verbally abuse out the door before you have a chance. This is Necrobarista where you are part of the world of the supernatural and Maddy is you “guide” of sorts.
Hitting you with something smooth
First off I was taken by the sumptuous visuals of Necrobarista. It’s an engaging and atmospheric experience. This is thanks to the moody design and smooth score that just seduces you into this laid back environment.
To counter this is the sharp wit of the characters in particular main character Maddie. She is crass, clearly someone with a lot of pain in her life but also has that kind of effortless charm people are drawn to. Joining on this misadventure between this life and the next is Ashley and Chay.
Ashley is a child but more importantly, she is also a budding genius. She is the epitome of a wannabe spunky sidekick.
Chay is Maddie’s stalwart companion helping her around the cafe. He’s also a hundred plus-year-old. He helps her with all her duties involving the cafe and the terminal of which she is the manager of.
The terminal between here and there
The main cusp of this 3D visual novel is that Maddie has to deal with ghosts. She has to help them along their way but she is not great with sending them on their way. This leads to them linger and this sets her business up for a fall as she has to pay a kind of toll for not doing her job.
The gameplay within Necrobarista mainly involves choosing particular words and understanding what their significance is to the world of the game. For example to unlock memories which may be important you may need NECROMANCY, an ASHLEY memory and a GEOGRAPHY memory. So during a chapter, you will see highlighted words, you click on them and you’ll see the meaning behind them. It’s up to you then to 1. Remember what they mean and 2. Understand what they are in relation to particular elements of the story. This means you have to figure the right amount of keywords so you have them to unlock memories.
It’s an interesting gameplay mechanic and I quite enjoyed weaving around the dialogue of the story to figure out how to access them.
Madam my coffee is cold
Not all is well in Necrobarista though. The frame rate dropped as I navigated around the map. There were several glitches during the story that would take me out of it. Also, the load times were fairly long and they happened frequently enough.
There is also the issue that visual novels are not my forte. The lack of a real sense of control meant I felt like I was watching a cartoon instead of controlling my own adventure and this frustratingly enough is an adventure I would have liked way more control of.
If Necrobarista were a drink it would definitely be an acquired taste but I can appreciate it for what it is. If you’re a fan of this genre I highly recommend it, if not stay away it’s nothing that diverges too far from the norms of its contemporaries.