Coffee Talk from Toge Productions and Chorus Worldwide is an interesting game that puts you in the role of a barista, serving customers beverages and listening to their stories and problems. Learn more in our Coffee Talk review!
Coffee Talk is a coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator about listening to fantasy-inspired modern peoples’ problems, and helping them by serving up a warm drink or two.
The game takes place in 2020 in the town of Seattle but in an alternative reality in which humans live together in harmony with elves, orcs, werewolves, and all other types of fantasy creatures. You play the game as the aptly named Barista (although you can choose to change that name when starting the game), who runs a coffee shop named Coffee Talk. It’s located in the city outskirts, and it’s only open at night when the sun is sleeping. Although there are a few mysterious things surrounding your character’s story, the majority of the game is mostly about listening to your customers’ stories, with a cast of close to ten characters that you’ll see every other day.
Considering the vast majority of your time is spent listening to stories, the game can certainly be seen as a visual novel. Your perspective places you behind the coffee shop counter, and there are up to four seats in front of you for people who come in for a drink. In between all this, you’ll be able to open your mobile phone with the Square button to access a few applications. The Tomodachill app will give you access to your customers’ social media profile, which will be more detailed as you get to know them more. The Evening Whispers app will provide you with short stories. The ShuffId app gives you access to a great selection of tracks that are the background music playing in the shop. The final one is Brewpad, your access to the beverage recipes you have discovered so far so that you can reproduce them when you get a specific request from a customer.
This brings me to the other part of what the game has to offer: the coffee and beverage brewing. At one point or another, customers will give you their order for something they’d like to drink. At first, you’ll only have a few ingredients available, but more will become available as you progress. Brewing a drink is simply a process of choosing the base, which can be coffee, green tea, tea, chocolate or milk, and then a primary and secondary ingredient to complete your drink. For example, choosing coffee for all three will produce a classic espresso, while mixing coffee with two shots of milk will give you a nice café latté. Each ingredient can affect the Warm, Cool, Bitter, and Sweet stats of a drink, which you’ll sometimes have to take into consideration based on your clients’ requests. When there’s milk involved, you’ll be able to add a touch of latte art on top of the cup, which is done by pouring milk and etching it with the left analog joystick and the R2 button.
The visuals of the game were inspired mostly by 1990s anime and pixel art adventure games, and it makes for something truly great to watch from the perspective of the barista, having your customers right in front of you. The game’s soundtrack is easily one of the best features it has to offer, with a wide selection of tracks that all have that jazzy sound you need to have it perfectly fit with the game’s mood and the overall experience.
Now, I do have something I need to mention: I’m not a big fan of visual novels. Fortunately for me, this game falls into the “exceptions” category, and I had a lot of fun playing it! It’s a nice change of pace to have a game that’s not about murders, mysteries, dating, or strange demons. For Coffee Talk, you have people talking to each other about their problems while sipping on their coffee – or other beverage of choice. And even if the game is full of fantasy characters, there’s a lot to think about when you look beyond the group of characters. For example, there’s an elf and a succubus that entered into a relationship, but their parents both disapprove of this interspecies relationship.
The fact that the decisions the game has to offer are based on what drink you brew, not the dialogue choices you pick, makes it more original than most visual novels, bringing value to the whole coffee and beverage making aspect. I also really enjoyed the Challenge mode the game offers, where you receive drink orders while a timer counts down, and you have to complete them as fast as possible. Each successful order will add a few seconds to your timer. As you progress in this mode, orders will become more difficult, since customers will ask for a specific drink or for something “extra sweet” or “less bitter,” and you’ll have to gauge what ingredients you require.
As far as trophies are concerned, this game shouldn’t be a challenge as you work on getting the Platinum trophy. There are a lot of trophies that are unlocked while playing the story, and a few ones that could be missed because it will depend on what drinks you brew. There are also a few trophies for the Challenge mode that might sound challenging at first, but that can easily be completed if you simply pause the game to think about the drink a client has ordered!
Coffee Talk has a really fun story, or should I say multiple sub-stories, that have you hoping that this or that customer returns the next day. It’s definitely worth playing for any visual novel fans, and everyone else should still give it a go since it offers a very different experience from other visual novels you might have played.
Price: $13.99 USD
PSN Game Size: 660MB
This Coffee Talk review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Chorus Worldwide.