[Review] Coffee Talk – Nintendo Switch

Written by Chelsea Beardsmore
  • Developer: Toge Productions
  • Publisher: Toge Productions
  • Release Date: 29/01/2020
  • Price: £11.69 / $12.99
  • Review code provided by Toge Productions

Have A Cuppa Joe, On Me.

Let me start off by saying coffee is my thing – I don’t know how I would cope without a hot cup of coffee every morning. I’m pretty much never seen without a cup in my hands, so naturally, when I heard about Coffee Talk, I just had to play it.

Coffee Talk is a visual novel set in a semi-fantasy world where creatures of all shapes and sizes come together to have *mostly* polite conversation over hot drinks.

You are the Barista – and owner – of a coffee shop in an alternate reality Seattle. The coffee shops name? You guessed it, Coffee Talk. Set in an alternate reality Seattle full of monsters and ghouls, Coffee Talk is unlike any other coffee shop around due to the fact that it is only open after midnight. It is what’s known as a late-night coffee shop. Unusual, but I do want one to exist…

What Can I Get You, Sir?

As I stated previously, Coffee Talk is a visual novel meaning you spend the majority of your time reading and watching a story unfold in front of your very eyes as opposed to actually playing.

As the trusty Barista, your job is to serve the drinks. This is the only ‘gameplay’ aspect you will experience throughout the game, and it’s great. Before I started Coffee Talk I just assumed you would be just selecting a drink to make a customer and POOF! It’s made… but nope. You actually make the drinks. You add the ingredients and can even create your own latte art – of which I wasn’t very good.

And if you think it shows you the ingredients in order to make said drinks, you would be wrong. A huge part of the game is experimenting with your ingredients to see what you can make. Certain customers will ask for a specific drink, Masala Chai, for example, of which I had no idea what this drink was. Whereas other customers will tell you the type of drink they want – something got and sweet and with milk, maybe.

This Isn’t My Order…

With all the experimenting you will be doing, it’s pretty obvious you won’t get all the ingredients correct the first time you try. Which is why it’s a good thing you have 5 opportunities to try. Sometimes you just need to throw it down the sink and try again.

With Coffee Talk heavily relying on its narrative to reel you in, there have to be various branches in the story to take, right? Right you are. The unique aspect here though is instead of the narrative changing through your choices of speech, the narrative differs in regards to the drinks you serve up. Get an order wrong, and you may miss out on a vital piece of infromation.

Can I Buy You A Drink Some Time?

Though there is very little gameplay to experience, Coffee Talk makes up for this with its quirky characters and utter charm. Each character is unique in both looks and story arcs and they are relatable on so many levels.

My absolute favourite thing about Coffee Talk is the way it uses its fantasy setting to discuss real-world problems from having safe sex, to dealing with anxiety to racism. This makes it not only an engaging story but extremely educational for teenagers and young children alike.

It’s not life-altering advice, but it would certainly help someone in need.

All That Jazz

Where Coffee Talk absolutely shines is through its graphics. 90’s anime-inspired pixel art visuals and some of the absolute best I’ve ever seen at that, both in docked and handheld mode. It’s incredibly satisfying and packed with colour and detail. I was genuinely in awe when I opened up the game for the first time.

Of course, no game would be complete without an emotion-inspiring soundtrack and Coffee Talk is no exception. A selection of jazzy, low-fi songs accompanies the 90’s art style. Of which you are able to pick and choose what you want to listen to through the games Spotify-like playlist. Choose whatever suits the mood in your own shop.

Final Thoughs

Coffee Talk was and continues to be an absolute delight to experience. There is so much charm and personality packed into this small package, my only gripe would be that it ended too soon, with a little over 4-hour story. This is my favourite game of 2020 so far.

Pros

  • Deals with real-world problems
  • Utterly charming
  • Branching story arcs
  • Likeable and relatable characters
  • Making coffee is fun
  • Looks stunning
  • Relaxing soundtrack

Cons

  • Short campaign

Verdict

Coffee Talk was a truly wonderful game about being a barista that I never thought I would enjoy…

4/5

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