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Coffee Talk Review: Just Another Cup?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a barista at a coffee shop? Well, Coffee Talk might be your kind of game.

Coffee talk is a visual novel released on January 30. It is set in Seattle, where the city has a mixture of fantasy creatures all living and working together in the city. As the coffee shop owner, you are tasked with making tasty drinks for your customers and listening to their stories, problems, and ideas.

Coffee Talk was developed and self-published by Toge Productions for Nintendo Switch. It was also released on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and Playstation 4 the day before it was available on the Nintendo Switch with the help of publisher Chorus Worldwide Games. Toge Productions are a development company based out of Indonesia, most well known for games such as Rage in Peace and Rising Hell.

 

While most visual novel games live and die on the quality of the writing, Coffee Talk is not shy about being self-aware. The charming characters don’t stray too far from people who likely worked on the game since many of the customers are designers, developers, and writers. But the coffee shop customers are colorful both in character design and in their conversations.

It is easy to relate to their problems and issues, since many of the topics that come up are things that people face every day.

Coffee talk has a style that is best compared to VA-11 Hall-A, a bar-tending simulation game with some elements of a visual novel. But instead of providing your patrons with libations, you are building hot beverages with a simple yet stylish mini-game.

This is where the Nintendo Switch console is likely the best platform to experience Coffee Talk. You are sometimes asked to draw Latte Art for your customers. The touchscreen in handheld mode really lends itself to this, allowing you to pour milk with better accuracy than a mouse or other controller would probably allow.

The best compliment I can give Coffee Talk is that it is an atmospheric game. The pixel art is eye-catching, and you barely notice that the game takes place almost entirely from the barista’s perspective.

The groovy, chill and relaxing soundtrack sets the tone and really does enhance the vibe that you are in a small independent coffee shop. It only took me the length of the demo to have me hooked on this game.

All this praise comes with a word of caution: if you do not enjoy visual novels, you probably won’t like Coffee Talk. There is a lot of text to read, and the story comes mostly from your interactions with the customers and from the interaction between the customers themselves. It is a relatively short story, and definitely worth a read. However, if you like your games to have as little text as possible, Coffee Talk likely isn’t for you.

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