Affogato – Review
Follow Genre: Visual Novel, JRPG, Tower Defence
Developer: Befun Studio
Publisher: Spiral Up Studios
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Affogato – Review

Site Score
Good: Fantastic audiovisual presentation
Bad: Awkwardly paced visual novel sections
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Whether it’s Caffeine’s power-inducing brews, Necrobarista’s nightly conversations over a cup of joe, or even Brewster’s offerings in Animal Crossing, it’s clear that coffee has become a staple in video games in recent years. The latest Java bean-infused title to cross our paths is Affogato, the debut title from developer Befun Studio. Given that this is a title that is unconventional in more ways than one, you might be wondering what this “reverse tower defense” game is all about. We’ve got the answers for you, so read on to find out what Affogato serves up.


The title Affogato does not refer to the famous Italian coffee-and-liqueur dessert in this case. Instead, it’s the name of our protagonist. She’s a young witch who has opened up a brand new coffee shop in the city of Arorua, together with her companion, the demon Mephista. Affogato’s livelihood is threatened by dark forces, however, as evil demons are trying to take over Arorua. Our heroine must deal with the demons and solve the mysteries surrounding the city, all while managing her own business. The biggest mystery of all is perhaps why some of Arorua’s residents have been plunged into an eternal night cycle, but you’ll have plenty of other strange situations to deal with. You’ll also be tasked with piecing back together Affogato’s memories, because she’s suffering from amnesia. Along the way, you’ll meet a cast of interesting and quirky patrons who stop by for a cup of their preferred brew, each with an interesting story to tell.


Fans of the Persona or Danganronpa series (or perhaps more recently, Master Detective Archives) might get a familiar feeling when looking at Affogato’s character designs, as the portraits could have been pulled straight from those games. That’s not a bad thing in the slightest, as we quite enjoy this kind of aesthetic. The environments look fantastic and the tarot card art is quite frankly amazing and very reminiscent of that of the Voice of Cards series. The chibi-like overworld sprites didn’t go over quite as well with us, but your mileage may vary about this. Either way, Affogato is a well-presented game, with a buttery smooth visual performance as the cherry on top.


Accompanying Affogato’s gorgeous visuals and engaging story is a soundscape that ties everything together. The game features full Japanese voice acting, and the cast does a good job imbuing their characters with emotion. Supplementing this is a varied soundtrack that is fitting of the game’s atmosphere, from the high-energy battle tunes to the relaxed music that plays as you try to brew the perfect cup of coffee.


Given the coffee theme, it’s perhaps appropriate that Affogato serves up a unique blend of gameplay. There are visual novel sections, with a coffee brewing minigame sprinkled throughout, and this all serves as the framework for what the game calls “reverse tower-defense” combat. Here you’ll be dealing with unfortunate innocent victims, whose souls have fallen under the influence of the demon’s power. You’ll need to delve into their psyche, presented as a tower-defense-style gauntlet, and beat this in order to free them. Further supplementing this are light JRPG elements, involving time management, character leveling, and deckbuilding. Apart from the deckbuilding, which ties into the combat system, the other things come into play during the visual novel and story parts of the game.

You’ll be spending the majority of your time with Affogato in combat. If you’ve ever played a tower defense game, you already know what to expect, except this time you’re on the side of the attackers. Affogato has access to a special tarot deck, which spawns familiars that will start to march to the end of the map automatically. There are branching routes they can follow and it’s up to you to guide them across. This is easier said than done, as there are stationary defenders who will do anything in their power to stop you. The key to victory is choosing both the right path and the right defenders. However, summoning familiars costs Penta, a resource that is typically obtained by killing enemies, so the path with the least resistance isn’t necessarily the best one. It’s an interesting take on the genre, and later on, the game shakes things up by introducing boss battles and the occasional new mechanic. Overall, however, the core gameplay loop doesn’t really change throughout Affogato. If you’re new to the tower defense genre, then Affogato probably isn’t the best entry point, as the game expects you to be familiar with the basics and then offers up an inverted version. For genre aficionados, however, the gameplay is solid even if it could have used slightly more variety.

The visual novel/JRPG side of Affogato, on the other hand, could have perhaps done with a bit more simplicity. If you’ve played the Coffee Talk games, you’ll definitely recognize the influence of that series here, but there is a Persona-like time management system in place here as well, which feels tacked on and needlessly frustrating. You’re limited to a specific number of actions throughout each day, and there is a grind against deadlines. The game is continuously actively pushing the story forward, which stands in stark contrast with the atmosphere we’ve come to know and love from other coffee-inspired visual novels. Affogato isn’t a very long game in the first place, clocking in at around 10 hours, so we would’ve preferred a bit more freedom in the ‘downtime’ sections of the game. We understand that the current approach encourages multiple playthroughs, as it’s impossible to see everything by playing the game just once, but there simply isn’t enough substance here to return to the game immediately after the credits roll. Perhaps a month or two down the line, we’ll give Affogato another shot, because what’s present here is still a tasty brew.


With a gorgeous audiovisual presentation, a likable cast and a satisfying, if somewhat repetitive combat loop, Affogato is one of the most enjoyable takes on the tower defense genre that we’ve played recently. The game’s only real flaw is that the pacing of the visual novel segments feels needlessly rushed, especially since a playthrough of the game clocks in at around 10 hours. On the other hand, those 10 hours are highly enjoyable, so this is a game we’d definitely recommend adding to your library if you’re itching to try something completely different.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Affogato - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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