Coffee Talk – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel, (small part) Barista Simulator.
Developer: Toge Productions
Publisher: Toge Productions
Platforms: Switch, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: PC

Coffee Talk – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Perfect game about life, stories and rainy days.
Bad: Low in gameplay, doesn't utilize what it has to the fullest.
User Score
10.0
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)

So you want to be a Barista? You know that’s hard work, right? Between the marketing of Starbucks their $4 coffee and the idea you got in the back of your mind to start your own business, a lot about such a business might be romanticized, only to find yourself falling flat on your face. However, games are safe, and if you are indeed looking to be romanticized by the fantasy of being a barista (and perhaps even inspired!) or just want to relax and have a read, you could try Coffee Talk.

Story

Coffee Talk is about 95% visual novel story and 5% active gameplay, and the game will take you somewhere between four and six hours to complete. This is a reasonable time for a visual novel, but Coffee Talk isn’t just any visual novel. For starters, it’s no big, epic story as you “play” as a barista who runs a late-night coffee shop. Serving a couple of regulars, you get these people their preferred beverages and simply listen to what they have to say to you and to each other. It’s a rather simple concept that takes place in a fantasy setting with orcs, ocean people and more.

What makes the simple concept work is that the stories being told are really well-written and believable like they come from actual people, and that they dive in a wide array of modern-day issues such as racism and immigrants at the same time. It’s relevant, it’s entertaining, it’s emotional, it’s good. But above all, Coffee Talk and its story that takes place in the course of about one month’s time is really, really atmospheric.

Graphics

Coffee Talk has a beautiful sense of creating artistic content with high-resolution pixel-art. Not only do the characters that come in the coffee shop look unique and are they in possession of a wide array of well-edited emotions, but the shop itself is also nicely detailed which includes passersby in the rain or cars passing when you look out the window. In the world of Coffee Talk, it’s always raining, and the graphics make you feel like reading a cozy book, sitting against the heater in autumn. Well, the graphics and the sound together make this happen.

Sound

There’s a big number of tracks that are backing up Coffee Talk, way more than you would expect from a story-based game like this. And it’s great! The already rainy days get enhanced by chillhop, a genre of music that’s rather popular on the internet and melancholic or relaxing, meditative of nature. It’s a great OST to listen to separately as well. Add to all this the sound of a barista at work and the beeping of pixelated characters who are talking, and you get a great experience.

Gameplay

Most of the time that you are busy playing Coffee Talk, you will simply be reading what everybody has to say. That’s the visual novel part. When not reading, you will probably be required to serve an order to somebody. This means that you get together an order by adding three ingredients such as green tea, milk, coffee, ginger, and lemon. There always have to be three to complete a recipe, but you can’t mix base ingredients such as tea with coffee, and you are able to add multiple of the same such as two pinches of coffee and one pinch of milk.

When adding those three ingredients, you get a warm cup of something. This might be a special recipe such as ”bedtime”, which is special warm milk, or it might be just ”ginger milk tea” or some other description of the ingredients you put in. If you created a latte (a milky coffee or tea), you can also make latte art like a real barista. This is a funny concept that sadly works rather poorly when it comes to real creations, and also it has no other purpose than just being a bit of fun. The latter feels a bit empty in a way, cause why bother at all. If you try to make proper art, the ”milk in liquid” mechanics work too good and you have too little control over what you want to do.

In a way, creating the right or wrong cup of whatever-the-customer-needs is slightly able to alter the story. But only ever so slightly. You don’t really get to get involved or make a choice for people and their life-altering situations. You just get to listen and to make coffee every now and then. That’s everything there is to do in the game. and maybe that’s enough. Because in the end, you can just be happy that you were a part of the stories being told, as the game does everything well apart from lacking some gameplay.

Conclusion

Coffee Talk is not just a game, or actually it’s barely a game at all. It’s a great read about a rainy day that you can relax to and enjoy at any moment, and it’s a piece of art in its own way. It’s a bit low on gameplay, but the originality and atmosphere that seeps through its outer shell truly know how to grab you by the shoulders and pull you in for a great experience.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Coffee Talk - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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