Necrobarista: Final Pour – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Route 59
Publisher: Playism, Coconut Island Games
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4
Tested on: Switch

Necrobarista: Final Pour – Review

Site Score
Good: An addictive story with a fantastic cast
Bad: Switch port suffers from occasional game crashes
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

We’ve only just looked at Garden Story, and already we’ve got another surprise drop from the Nintendo Indie Showcase for you. Route 59’s Necrobarista already made its debut on PC last year, but it’s now available on the Switch, with a PS4 release planned later this year. We’re not just getting the base game here either: the Switch version, known as Necrobarista: Final Pour features all DLC and additional content. Is this a brew worth chugging down or are you better off at another coffee shop?


As is usually the case with visual novels, we can’t delve too deep into Necrobarista’s story, as this would spoil the experience. We’ll be taking a look at the basic premise of course, which revolves around Maddy, who works at coffee shop The Terminal as a barista. The coffee shop is quite unique, as it doesn’t just serve your regular run-of-the-mill customers but also the recently deceased. When someone dies, they arrive at The Terminal where they’ll stay for 24 hours until they move on to the afterlife, giving them some time to process that their time is up. The Terminal isn’t just staffed by Maddy, but a charming cast of misfit characters as well. There’s Chay, the former owner of the bar, Krishan, who’s the most recently deceased ‘customer’ and then there’s Ashley, who appears to be a cheerful young child (although her looks are deceiving), just to name a few. Naturally, there is more to these characters than meets the eye. The world of Necrobarista is very different from the one we mortals live in, with the main cast not batting an eye at magic, necromancy, and it even has a shadowy government known as the Council, which has its own rules and agenda.

Necrobarista’s story is a fairly slow burn that focuses on the individual characters and their relationships rather than the overarching story. It helps that the writing for the cast is wonderful and that there is some real gravitas to their motivations and backstories. Even going in blind, it’s clear that there is a lot of history between Maddy and the others, and that there are things going on beneath the surface. The story isn’t afraid to deliver the occasional emotional gut punch and things get surprisingly dark at certain points. We weren’t planning on playing through Necrobarista in a single session but before we knew it four and a half hours had passed and the visual novel reached its satisfying conclusion. Although NecroBarista starts off fairly low-key, once things get going, the story grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until it’s over. The Final Pour edition, which is the one we’re reviewing here, is the ‘definitive’ version of the game, which expands the story with additional content, including two side stories.


Initially, we weren’t a fan of Necrobarista’s low poly visuals, but they actually grew on us as we continued to play through the story. There are clear manga influences present when it comes to the game’s aesthetics, but thanks to unusual camera angles and clever use of high contrast to emphasize colors, the game also brings American graphic novels to mind. Even something as simple as swapping a font can have a major impact on the way the story is perceived here, and Necrobarista uses subtle visual changes like this to great effect.


With no voice acting and barely any sound effects present, Necrobarista relies on its music to create the right atmosphere. Naturally, the OST sounds like something you’d hear playing through the speakers of a real-life coffee shop on a dreary afternoon. Still, with a fairly limited soundscape, there isn’t a whole lot we can say about Necrobarista’s audio other than that it’s perfectly suitable for the mood the story requires.


When we reviewed the visual novels offered by Nova-box, we said that they had pretty much perfected the visual novel formula. We still stand by that statement, although we have to say that the way Route 59 presents Necrobarista works fantastically as well. Taking on a very different approach compared to a typical visual novel, Necrobarista actually relies on interactive elements to keep the player engaged. Between story chapters, the player breaks free from the traditional “tap A to read” formula and is able to walk around in full 3D environments, interacting with objects to trigger memories that are then displayed as on-screen text -although apart from unlocking side stories and modes, this doesn’t add anything to the gameplay experience. Additionally, certain keywords in the story will appear in yellow, allowing the player to take a look at sidenotes. While these aren’t groundbreaking additions to the visual novel genre, they happen just enough to keep players on their toes and prevent them from mindlessly tapping through the text. It’s also a unique and interesting way to represent characters’ thought processes without having to force their motivations through your throat in a ham-fisted manner.

Despite the presence of interactive elements -more so than any other true visual novel we’ve reviewed so far- Necrobarista isn’t really a game, of course. It’s a straightforward affair too. There are no choices to make, no alternate endings, and no branching story paths. The interactive elements are there to make the player engage with the story and flesh out things through small details that provide new insights and add depth to the world and its characters but that ultimately don’t affect the flow or outcome of the story. There are additional modes present here, which are exclusive to the Final Pour edition, that are fun to mess around with. These include the Doodle mode, which lets you draw faces onto the robots that Ashley creates, and the Studio mode, where you can create your own short story scenes. Sadly, trying to do the latter was very tedious on the Switch. This mode will likely work better on the PC version, but we can’t guarantee this as we haven’t had the chance to compare the two versions.

It’s a good thing then that Necrobarista is such a fantastic visual novel on its own. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre per se, this is a title well worth seeking out, because the writing is excellent, the characters are very likable and the presentation ensures that the game keeps your attention at all times. Given the linearity of the story, it would’ve made sense to release Necrobarista as a printed graphic novel, but the way the game is presented shouldn’t be underestimated.

There’s a lot of good stuff here, but unfortunately, the performance on the Switch is less than ideal. Apart from the aforementioned tediousness when it comes to using the Studio mode, the game suffers from long load times and it even crashed on us a few times, taking us to the home menu. It’s a good thing that Necrobarista autosaves progress frequently. Despite this, the good far outweighs the bad, and although we were frustrated with the crashes, the story was so good that we kept going back. Hopefully, a patch will deal with the crashes. As it stands, we do recommend the game but we suggest seeking it out on a different platform because the Switch version is a bit of a buggy mess.


Necrobarista is one of the best visual novels out there, and is a must-read for anyone that is a fan of the genre. With excellent presentation, characters that you’ll grow attached to, and fantastic writing, there is a lot to love here, despite the flaws that are present in the Switch version. The port is playable if you can stomach the game crashing on you several times, and there is just enough to love here to get you to keep coming back despite the frustrating bugs. Thankfully, there is an alternative way to enjoy the story. As much as it pains us to say it, if you’re thinking about picking up Necrobarista, we recommend either going for the PC version or simply holding out for the PS4 version, at least until a patch for the Switch is released. If you’re able to pick up a crash-free version, then you can easily bump up Necrobarista‘s final score by a point.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Necrobarista: Final Pour - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

1 Comment

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