Coffee Talk Reviews

  • Incr3dibleBmanIncr3dibleBman762,918
    18 Jun 2020 18 Jun 2020
    28 2 13
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    Introduction

    Do you enjoy spending time in cosy coffee houses when exploring a new city, do you start your days sipping from a dark roasted americano or do you simply enjoy a good chat? Then you should definitely take a look at Coffee Talk, the latest indie brew from developer Toge Productions that debuts on Xbox One with this title.

    Story

    As an experienced barista you receive customers in your little coffee shop, you prepare their hot drinks from behind your counter, enter into conversations with them, during which you sometimes listen, or occasionally adopt the role of psychologist.
    The characters who visit your shop are varied, from a middle-aged policeman to the hipster girl with green-dyed hair, age is not a factor when it comes to the love of coffee.

    The characters you interact with come straight out of the fantasy world, there are still ordinary humans, but there is also an elf, vampire, orc, werewolf, cat and even a mermaid.
    Those different creatures and anthropomorphic animals are important throughout the story, there are some references to racism and prejudice, and they are deliberately used to create a satire. They also all have to deal with everyday problems and worries that they continuously discuss throughout the story.

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    Your most loyal customer, Freya, is an author who, during one of her visits, decides to use your coffee shop as the subject for her next book. The plot then develops as you get to know your customers. It is quite possible that you recognize yourself in one of them, because the backgrounds and motivations of the characters are taken directly from real life. The Millennials among us will love the references to pop culture that are spread throughout the dialogues.

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    One of the characters talks about a game she is working on, and there are numerous references to the game industry, which creates a meta feel, and makes the game self-aware.

    Eventually, the storylines flow through each other, and each one is carefully crafted to provide a satisfying ending.

    Overall, this game is rather short, which is usually the case for an interactive visual novel like this, where the gameplay is secondary to the story. It is an ideal pastime on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

    Presentation, Image and Sound

    When you start the game you can select one of the three save slots, then you create a name for your barista that appears above your text frame in the game, a small detail, but always a welcome addition that intensifies your experience.

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    Each working day starts with the newspaper cover page highlighting some humorously tinted or socio-critical headlines, you then subsequently start receiving customers and prepare their drinks.

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    At the end of each day you are presented with a descriptive quote that matches one of the hot drinks you usually serve. The espresso one, for example, reads "Blacker than a moonless night, hotter and more bitter than hell itself." Artful as only the best indie games are.

    The presentation has a retro feel as it adopts a pixelated artstyle, the animations are limited to a smile, sip interaction or a blink of an eye, everything takes place on a plain 2D background.

    The environment is rather static as the whole story takes place in the coffee shop. Though limited, the visual style lends itself perfectly to the story, and as a whole it manages to immerse you in a coffee related atmosphere.

    Towards the end you will be rewarded with more elaborate animations, but don't expect anything close to CGI cutscenes.

    The music consists of some twenty lounge tracks, very relaxed tunes that fit the setting and boasting on the nose titles such as' 'Stay Awake' and 'It Smells Good'.

    In addition, there are atmospheric effects such as the doorbell that rings when one of your customers enters, the cash register that rings when you checkout or the key sound when you navigate the dialogues. Everything has been meticulously picked to contribute to the setting, they have definitely managed to make you feel like you are in a coffee shop.

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    Gameplay

    There is little in-depth gameplay, the focus lies explicitly on the narrative aspect, you will spend most of your time reading dialogues, and you mainly press the A button to proceed.

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    When your customers order a drink, however, you will have the opportunity to show off your barista skills, a mini game starts where you can choose the ingredients from a rack.

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    You can add them together, for example coffee, milk and honey, and finally you can choose to brew the drink. With some coffee drinks you can even add some latte art, you have the option to make a drawing with milk, it's basically like using a brush in paint.

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    Finally, you have the option to use your smartphone, there is an app that looks suspiciously familiar that allows you to navigate the profiles of your customers. Furthermore, you can consult a recipe app, then there is a music app that you use to change the tracks and finally there is an app that allows you to read Freya's latest writings.

    Achievements

    You should manage to grab most of the achievements during your initial playthrough, most of them are easy and straightforward, you can refer to an excellently written walkthrough as well, overall, the full completion should take you around 4 to 5 hours. Once you have finished the story you have to go back to pick up a few remaining cheevos, the last ones have to be completed in the endless game mode.

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    The achievements have beautiful pixelart and are quite humorous in nature, if you're into coffee you might want to unlock them on your gamercard.

    Final Verdict

    As a coffee lover, I thought there should be more references to coffee culture, especially for a game that puts you in the role of a barista. It would have been nice if you could actually learn something while playing.
    Unfortunately, most of the recipes are fictional, which I consider a missed opportunity.
    In the end, the game still manages to evoke the coffee atmosphere, and in conjunction with the heartwarming conclusion of the humorously written story, it is well worth your time.

    Now I have to excuse myself, because I am going to take a little break and treat myself to a warm Chocobee Miruku!
    3.5
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    LuMaxx99loved it great story great charecters great everything.
    Posted by LuMaxx99 on 20 Jun 20 at 23:24
    Guirec730Thank you for the review. I think it sounds...like not my cup of coffee. Not even for GWG. But now I know!
    Posted by Guirec730 on 21 Jun 20 at 14:50
    JoutjaI love the review, very well written. :)
    Posted by Joutja on 22 Jun 20 at 06:22
    MCASguruThank you for the great review. I didn't mind the slow pace because the story is interesting and clever (mostly) and self aware.
    Posted by MCASguru on 28 Jun 20 at 15:32
    Wwaui really enjoyed this game, its alot different to alot of other games i play and i felt like i was really a barista i think they did a good job good review too! thumbs up
    Posted by Wwau on 02 Jul 20 at 01:17
    SincereSeeker6This game really is a "Great" 1000 gamerscore. I say great because it can be extremely quick and easy if you set it up to press RB and slam through all the dialogue, but it also has a really interesting story that will take absolutely forever to listen to, but it is a very very good and well thought out story. If you are doing it quick for the Gamerscore it also takes very little effort and absolutely no skill if you are using the walkthrough.
    Posted by SincereSeeker6 on 07 Jul 20 at 19:36
    LockieI don't know... For a dialogue-based game I expected the dialogue to be more interesting than it turned out to be. Instead for the most-part it was a mundane and boring social commentary except with fantasy characters. Kinda wish I had just fast-forwarded through it all especially after the lame ending.

    The art style and music were nice though.
    Posted by Lockie on 12 Jul 20 at 01:50
    HmizzzThe Expresso descriptive quote that you mention is actually an Ace Attorney reference dance
    Posted by Hmizzz on 14 Jul 20 at 15:52
    Thanatos522After just playing through the game, and reading all of it, I can't say that I have a genuinely positive opinion. Using the guide along with playing doesn't spoil anything for those who intend to do so for the first time playing as I did. While there could be something, there is actually nothing to this game beyond a barista mini-game(?) and a visual novel that has you slamming the A button constantly if you've become a sight-reader after a decade or more of reading text boxes.

    2.5/5

    The thing I've realized now that disappoints me more than anything with this game is that TA apparently locks out new reviews, which was a total bummer because I was gearing up to write one.

    I'm not knocking the reviewer when I say this (because it is a well paced review, almost as if it is written as an assignment...), but I think it does a poor job of describing the game in actuality and sugar coats the bare nature of the game. To each their own but I would have liked the opportunity to write my own review instead of commenting on this one.
    Posted by Thanatos522 on 07 Oct 20 at 20:14
    Gilbert PrimeI let the dialog auto-play in the background and stepped in only when I had to make a drink. It mirrors how I would actually work in a cafe: tuning out all of the pointless chit chat and just doing my job. It's quite shocking how long some dialog segments go between drink orders. I would leave the game unattended for over 20 minutes and the dialog would still be going.
    Posted by Gilbert Prime on 17 Oct 20 at 17:25