Coffee Talk is a visual novel set in a futuristic fantasy world full of colorful characters and good coffee.
You may not have heard of a small indie game known as Coffee Talk. It released on January 29, 2020, and was published by Toge Productions.
Coffee Talk is a visual novel set in a fantasy world full of goblins, elves, werewolves, vampires, and more. Players take control of a faceless protagonist who is the owner and sole barista of a coffee shop in Seattle, Washington. However, this is not your typical coffee shop. This one, in particular, is only open after dark.
This difference makes for some lively narratives with certain characters. Furthermore, the after-dark setting makes for a smaller cast. There are plenty of unique and interesting people in Coffee Talk, but the setting certainly helps the plot of the entire game. The presence of fantastical beings enriches the plot and world. These traits make the game colorful in terms of look and personality. The best part of Coffee Talk is that players are there to listen, serve coffee, and learn.
You see, Coffee Talk handles a number of relevant issues in society using non-human characters. This ranges from social class to the “Me Too” movement. The plot threads do not throw these topics in the face of the player. Rather, the game submerges them into real narratives that humans are facing in today’s society. It is a really unique way of portraying such issues, and they are resolved in a significant way. Plus, you get to experience all of these stories while serving coffee.
Simplified Barista Simulator
The protagonist interacts with several different beings. Players will meet the sarcastic and determined Freya. She is the most seen character in the game because she is a regular at the shop. Freya will confide in the protagonist throughout the game. The dialogue between the two characters is amusing and written well. Of course, Freya is only a small fraction of what Coffee Talk has to offer.
It is important to note there are no dialogue options in Coffee Talk. Instead, players can influence dialogue by the quality of the drink they serve. Players are tasked with making the coffee characters order.
Each drink consists of three ingredients, which need to be selected in the right order. Starting out, the player is given the recipe. As time goes on, customers merely say the drink’s name or hint at its ingredients. This is where players need to experiment to find the right combination.
In some ways, Coffee Talk simulates a reduced version of a barista’s job. This one game mechanic really makes the game shine because it is so simple, yet so intricate. There are numerous types of drinks players can make.
The first playthrough of the story does not unlock all the possibilities so players can play it through again or hop into the endless mode. There are 31 different drinks players are capable of making, so that leaves a lot of experimenting to do. Plus, the simple visuals the player is presented with while making the beverage tops it off.
More than a Coffee Shop
Coffee Talk makes me want to move to Seattle and open up my own coffee shop in order to meet new and vibrant people. The characters I met during this game are the ones I want to be added to my friend circle. These characters support each other, give advice, give each other hard times, support each other during hard times, laugh and cry together, and are the most human as humans can get.
Coffee Talk has somehow encapsulated what it is to be human in a visual novel full of creatures that do not exist. For that reason, you should play Coffee Talk. You will be introduced to a whole cast of characters that will evolve as the game progresses. It will make you laugh out loud, warm inside, and maybe even cry. Even though Coffee Talk portrays real-world issues, it does so in a way that feels right.