[Beyond PlayStation] Coffee Talk Review
Coffee Talk from Toge Productions is a solid visual novel adventure game with a coffee shop twist. Learn more about this gem in our Coffee Talk review!
In Coffee Talk, you will take on the role of a barista who will be listening to people’s many problems, as you brew the coffee and other beverages they so desperately need in their life. The game is set in an alternative reality Seattle in the year 2020, and it features a diverse cast of characters, with a fantasy theme twist. Because of this, working as a barista, you will get to meet orcs, mermaids, elves, humans, and more! Fantasy is reality in Coffee Talk in this interesting slice of life release on Nintendo Switch. The elves have left the forest to build startups; dwarves exited their caves to build automotive empires; orcs have used the power of computers to improve their lives… it’s a great time to be alive!
If so far, Coffee Talk has started to sound a bit like VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action – which you should definitely also play and is out on Nintendo Switch – then you’re not mistaken. The team at Toge Productions has stated that VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action was an inspiration for Coffee Talk. In fact, Toge Productions let us know that they got a chance to meet the creators of VA-11 Hall-A at BitSummit in Kyoto and that they encouraged them to carry on.
Once you’ve created and named your barista – which you won’t get to see in the game since everything is presented from a first-person perspective as seen from your character’s eyes – you’ll get started with this adventure in which reading is going to be your best tool. While in other visual novel adventures, you will access different branches of the game’s story, for Coffee Talk, the story branches will activate depending on how you serve your customers.
All will take place on the titular Coffee Talk coffee shop, a place that only opens its doors when the sun don’t shine no more. In this alternate universe, it seems that Seattle in 2020 is perpetually rainy, so you’re definitely going to get many customers looking for a cup of coffee when it’s late at night. To go along with the chill pixel art and atmosphere of the game, Coffee Talk features a lo-fi jazz-infused soundtrack that is a great fit for this adventure. You can use your phone to control the music if you want to, playing your favorite songs from the Coffee Talk soundtrack.
Speaking of your phone, it will be a useful tool for your trade since, as a barista, you will need to make many different drinks and to remember how to make each one just right – while adding some twists here and there – will require some practice. You can open your phone with the Y button and check the Brewpad app to review the different drinks you can make, checking the ingredients that go into each one. You won’t have a full list of beverages, so you’ll be discovering some of them as you go.
To show you a bit more about how you’ll be making each beverage, and as to not spoil things too much, I’ll talk about the first beverage you have to make in the game for writer Freya: a triple shot espresso. For this one, you’re going to need coffee, more coffee, and then when you think you’re ready to serve it to Freya, you add more coffee. Once you’ve checked the list of ingredients, as well as the order in which they need to be added as the base, primary, and secondary ingredients, you can press the L or R buttons to check your shelves for the ingredients you’re going to need. You will get to see how each ingredient affects the beverage’s stats. You’ll see if it’s a warm, cool, sweet, or bitter beverage, as well as how far up each of these parameters your drink ends up at.
You’ll also be able to express yourself by creating some latte art for your beverages, which is an interesting way of keeping things feeling fresh. You’ll be selecting to pour milk by pressing up on the D-Pad and then holding down the ZR button, moving the on-screen cursor with the left analog stick as you draw something. Once you’ve poured enough milk for your masterpiece, you can press left on the D-Pad to start etching around the milk to form some unique-looking art. Are you good at drawing dragons with milk?
Since there’s a lot of reading to do in Coffee Talk – hence why it’s part of the visual novel adventure genre – you might want to go into the options menu to tailor your experience. Along with changing the speed at which text is displayed on the screen for every conversation you have – with your options being Default, Fast, and Instant – you can also select if dialogue should play automatically without needing any input from you, and if you want to skip dialogue, either the one you have already read (which is handy for subsequent runs) or if you, for some reason, want to be able to skip all text.
Among the extra features that Coffee Talk has to offer is a gallery with some lovely images of the cast. These include both concept art as well as fan art of the many individuals you will get to meet during your time as a caring barista, and some of the images will be unlocked for you to check out right from the start. As for the rest, they will unlock as you play the game as a nice reward for your efforts.
Coffee Talk is a solid visual novel adventure game with a diverse and charming cast, an alternate reality fantasy-infused setting, and a handful of hours-worth of content for each run that you do. With the multiple endings, it has to offer, it easily justifies its budget $12.99 asking price on Nintendo Switch. I loved the overall story beats, the solid pixel art, and the relaxing music that make this one a nice surprise on Nintendo’s console, and a great way to end the month.
This Coffee Talk review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Toge Productions.