Sunny Café – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Game Nobility
Publisher: EastAsiaSoft
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Sunny Café – Review

Site Score
Good: Brewing mechanics set Sunny Café apart from standard visual novels
Bad: Coffee information can get very long-winded
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We’re getting to the point that there are so many games about coffee that they could almost be considered an entire genre by themselves. Joining the likes of Necrobarista, Coffee Talk, Affogato, and Caffeine (to name a few) is Sunny Café, a visual novel with mini-game-based coffee brewing gameplay. Sunny Café hardly breaks new ground, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a warm and comforting pick-me-up after a stressful day. Or does it leave a bitter aftertaste? Read on to find out.


Whenever a visual novel from Asia makes it over to the West, it’s typically from Japan. Sunny Café is different in this regard, as it hails from Taiwan instead. While this might not seem noteworthy to the casual observer, we’ve read quite a few Japanese visual novels in the past. As such, we inevitably noticed that there were significant differences between Sunny Café and titles we’ve reviewed previously. We’re by no means claiming to be experts when it comes to cultural differences between Japan and Taiwan, but even to us the pacing and storytelling very clearly followed a different blueprint altogether.

When reviewing visual novels, we tend to avoid posting spoilers, but in the case of Sunny Café, there isn’t a whole lot to spoil. That’s not a complaint or a critique in this case, mind you. It’s just that Sunny Café follows a *very* simple premise. Our protagonist, Bowen Wu, is a barista looking for the love of his life. Fortunately for Wu, the café he works at is frequented by potential suitors. Can Wu win the heart of one of his customers, by serving up not only the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had, but the perfect conversation as well? As we said, it’s not the deepest or most original premise, but along the way, you’ll learn a hell of a lot about coffee too. We mean that in the most literal sense possible: Sunny Café stands out through lengthy and detailed blurbs of text about the origin of coffee beans, and how different brewing techniques affect the flavor of your cup of joe. If you’re a coffee fanatic, this is undoubtedly fascinating, as the knowledge you gain here might actually motivate you to try specific kinds of coffee in real life, but the long-winded writing can become a bit much. Sunny Café is also plagued by the occasional mistranslation or typo. Overall the writing is decent enough though, as long as you don’t mind the game doubling as a pseudo-Wikipedia for coffee.


Given publisher EastAsiaSoft’s track record, we were weary that Sunny Café might end up veering into lewd territory, but things remain very family-friendly here. There is pretty much no fan service, and instead, the story is visualized through cute anime art, with soft colors. While brewing coffee, things tend to look a bit more cartoony, with a chibi ghost guiding you through the process initially, and chibi versions of the cast reacting to their brews. Since Sunny Café sticks to static images, even in the opening credits, the performance is as smooth as butter.


Unlike most visual novels, Sunny Café features voice acting, albeit limited to certain phrases. There is no option to switch voice languages, however, and the audible phrases and the theme song are only available in Chinese. Even so, Sunny Café manages to convey character emotions through audio, even if we don’t understand the language. Alongside the voice work, you’ll also hear a laid-back soundtrack that further emphasizes the game’s cozy atmosphere.


Our initial impression of Sunny Café was that it was going to be just another bog-standard visual novel. It didn’t take long for Sunny Café to flip the script, however, and introduce surprisingly elaborate coffee brewing mechanics. Based on the customer’s preferences, you’ll need to select the perfect flavor of beans, grind them to the perfect level of coarseness, and pour the water in the right way. The resulting brew affects the flow of the story and the ending you’ll eventually unlock. It’s definitely a more involved process than simply making dialogue choices, although we did feel like the game was pushing it when it started to insert actual minigames like matching tiles into the equation. Fortunately, Sunny Café is a very forgiving game and you get unlimited do-overs at each individual step of the coffee-making process, so you have to get out of your way to really screw things up. Granted, the instructions aren’t always as clear as they could be. It took us a few tries before we understood how coffee grinding worked, for example. However, once we were familiar with the mechanics, soon enough we were making brews like a seasoned barista.

Apart from the coffee making, Sunny Café does follow the visual novel playbook, with all the expected features, like being able to skip previously read text or consulting a text log. It all functions as it should, but doesn’t bring anything new to the table either. If you’ve ever played a visual novel, you’re already familiar with what to expect, and as such, there is very little point in covering these bases again in our review. That said, there is one additional feature present in Sunny Café that we haven’t seen elsewhere, and that is that there are hidden collectibles to be found throughout the game. Finding these rewards you with even more coffee facts. Sunny Café isn’t a very long game, clocking in at roughly 4 hours for your first playthrough and roughly one hour on subsequent runs if you skip through previously read text, but the various endings and hidden collectibles provide enough incentive to return for a second cup.


We don’t expect Sunny Café to linger with us in the same way that Necrobarista or Coffee Talk did, simply because the story is so simple. However, the game still stands out from other visual novels by actually incorporating gameplay elements, not to mention an overload of coffee knowledge. It’s these elements that make Sunny Café at least somewhat memorable, because otherwise, this is a fairly inconsequential title. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with Sunny Café, but it’s not strong enough of a brew to outright declare it a must-have title. If you’re looking for a good way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon, with a piping hot cup of coffee, then Sunny Café might just be what you need, but you’re not really missing out by going for a different blend of coffee game either.

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