Publisher Chorus Worldwide and developer Toge Production’s new game Coffee Talk reminds me a lot of a game I reviewed last year called VA-11 HALL-A. They both are narrative adventure games where you pretty much are just serving drinks to people that come by your establishment while listening to what they have to say. If you’re looking for something a little different and on the slow side of things then sit down at a table, get your cup of coffee, and be all ears.
Unlike the cyberpunk VA-11 HALL-A, Coffee Talk takes place in a more grounded setting which is the city of Seattle. It’s an alternate reality version of the city though taking place in the same year we’re currently in, 2020. It’s also home to more than just normal people as you’ll have vampires, orcs, mermaids, and other fantasy life coming into your coffee shop for a drink and a chat. At the start of the game you can name your character whatever you want and jump into the thick of it from there. The story in the game spans out across 14 days with you steadily learning more about the people in it along the way.
One of the main characters you’ll hear from constantly is Freya, the green haired girl in the picture above. Freya is writing a book while dealing with some troubles in her life. Other characters include two lovers who are having some issues, a game developer who is dealing with the pressures of crunch, an alien who is having some immigration problems and more. The story here is one I really enjoyed as I just listened to these characters tell their stories, talk with each other, and more. The narrative isn’t perfect though as the game touches on a lot of big subjects in our world today, racism and climate change being two examples, but doesn’t do a lot with them. The character you play as also doesn’t really factor into the narrative which is different from VA-11 HALL-A. This is very much a story about the characters that come into your shop only.
The gameplay mostly revolves around you just reading the text but you also have to fix the people their drinks as well which can lead to different things in the story. Making the drinks has you choosing from different ingredients in accordance with what the person asked for. Every drink is made up of three different ingredients and as you mix different ones you’ll learn the recipe for the future. These are also recorded for you in a handy book which you’ll want to fill out as much as you can in order to see the best ending. At times though you won’t know exactly how to make the drink they are asking and you’ll just have to experiment as best as you can. The game gives you a few tries to get the correct mix before it just gives them whatever you ended up with.
Coffee Talk can be finished in probably five hours but offers replayability in those other endings. It also has two other modes which are free brew mode and challenge mode. Challenge mode has you trying to complete various orders under a time limit while Free Brew mode lets you just sit back and experiment with making any drink you can think of at your own pace. There is also a nice art gallery that you can unlock that contains things like concept art.
Speaking of art, the art in Coffee Talk is really well done with all of the characters having distinct looks to them to help set them apart. They also have some pretty nice facial animations even if they are a bit limited. The music is also really good with a nice collection of soft and relaxing melodies. It’s a soundtrack that fits the premise of this game perfectly. Coffee Talk has 24 trophies on PlayStation including a Platinum. It’s a very doable list that you can probably get in under 10 hours.
If you enjoy visual novel/adventure titles like this then Coffee Talk is an easy recommend. It’s got a great cast of characters that are all visually distinct from one another and who are fun and interesting to get to know. The soothing soundtrack fits the game perfectly as well. It does touch on a lot of real issues without diving deep into them which is a little disappointing but it isn’t near enough to ruin this fine cup of brewed coffee.
*Coffee Talk is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
- Wonderful cast of characters who are all written very well
- Very nice art with every character being visually distinct
- Soft soundtrack fits the mood of the game perfectly
- Serving up the perfect drink that a customer asks for is satisfying
- Brings up a lot of real issues without really doing much with them
- Figuring out how to make a drink you haven't discovered and failing can be annoying