Coffee Talk is a unique visual novel about context and many unexpected knots for those who like to “gossip”. Here is our Coffee Talk review.
Long nights in Seattle
When life gets tough, people tend to seek any help to comfort themselves or at least give them little faith to overcome their miserable life. For many, they will need a lot of grandiose things to soothe their vulnerable souls, such as shopping and traveling, until they release all the discontent in life. But the rest have a simpler and more pampered hobby when all they need is just asking for a cup of coffee with a barista who can understand and listen to their problems. As of Toge Productions know this and adapted it relatively completely on a game called Coffee Talk.
Coffee Talk tells stories at a very slow pace, sometimes so slow that it makes people annoyed but can not afford to leave when the guest’s story is still going on. You will start as the owner, akin to Ryū Sasakura at Eden Hall, of a small bar located in a quiet alley in the Ginza area, Tokyo.
The bar, secluded but warm, and a bartender who knows how to choose a drink that suits the mood of customers. Most importantly, people can go there whenever they feel desperately sad or in need of unloading all their shit. Ryū Sasakura is not a fairy, but he can choose the right drink to help the spirit of those in need of salvation be balanced and as we mentioned above, the protagonist in Coffee Talk has the same skill.
The game is set in Seattle in 2020, but the Earth is not the green planet we still know. Instead, it is a place with all races, species from anywhere in the universe, or even in myths living together. From werewolves to dwarves or even goblins, generally, all the “genres” you’ve seen in other titles appear as NPCs here, playing different roles in life.
Coffee Talk is not an ordinary coffee shop but only opens around midnight. You will play as Barista, the owner and the bartender. Your customers are all races, come with stories without neither head nor tail. There are some appealing stories, but it can also be a complaint about their problems, hidden a bigger message in it.
Besides regular guests, Coffee Talk players also welcome the “strange” creatures including werewolves, vampires, goblins, succubus, and even aliens occasionally visit the shop to make cappuccino to keep their stomachs warm. Surprisingly, these mutants are not trying to separate themselves from human society like the X-Men or Marvel movies that try to poison us. Coffee Talk normalizes the anomalies as goblins build a startup, a dwarf who works for a car company, or an orc who likes to use computers to solve tasks.
“Listening is often the only thing needed to help someone”
The game is more conversational and you need to have basic English levels to understand the dialogue in the game. The way to interact with the situation in the game is simpler than we thought. Being a diligent barista, what players can do best is to choose the right drink for their customers.
Many Mexicans playing Coffee Talk say that this is such a grammatical game and surprisingly, a small company like Toge Productions has such good processing. Minus points are some mistakes of spelling with grammar.
Interspersed with the dialogue is the drink mixing segment, quite similar to the Red String Club. However, the drinks in Coffee Talk are extremely diverse with many familiar drinks commonly found in coffee shop menus. They also have a connection to the game experience but are not clearly shown until the end. Interestingly, these segments are increasingly complex later, requiring players to test based on customer requirements, instead of just following the familiar mixing formula. The ingredients also increase in number compared to the aforementioned game, while the suggestion got less and less going forward.
You can even decorate the presentation for drinks, but this feature seems to be for fun, not a big impact on the game experience. In contrast, like many other visual novel titles on the market, Coffee Talk also has a high replay value based on the differences of the concoctions. Even pixel graphics are a plus not only in character creation but also in the blending of three ingredients. Jazz and instrumentals bring ease to the game’s atmosphere.
Everything is gorgeously designed
Each character is carefully paid attention to shaping and costume. Needless to say, the artwork is quite beautiful. The character outlines are more or less all remind players of a certain type of people in society. For example, Freya is a liberal writer, lack of inspiration to write. She plays a connecting role and often talks with other characters, giving necessary opinions, advice, and empathy.
Freya’s outfit is a plain white halter top, which contrasts with the color of the bra strap hanging late into the biceps and prefers the bitter taste of a three-shot Expresso cup. She was built to create a familiar image that you often come across when entering the big shopping centers in the city.
Pixel graphics are a plus not only in character creation but also in the blending of three ingredients. Jazz and instrumentals bring ease to the game’s atmosphere.
Coffee Talk is an interesting experience. Although sometimes gamers get in trouble when it is impossible to decide on how deep the topic should be. Sometimes the conversation is very open, easy to understand and the end makes both the customer and the barista are satisfied. Sometimes it is like a question with no answer. But at least entertainment elements are guaranteed throughout the game’s experience.
You can purchase Coffee Talk on Steam.