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Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk is a visual novel video game developed by Indonesian independent studio Toge Productions and released on January 29, 2020 for Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In Japan, the game was released for Nintendo Switch a day later, on January 30, 2020.

In the story, you play as a barista who runs a coffee shop in a fantasy version of Seattle, listens to stories from visitors and prepares drinks for them. Coffee Talk’s aesthetics are inspired by 90s anime, pixel art and lo-fi chill-hop music genre.

Plot
The main character is the owner and sole barista of the Coffee Talk cafe, which is located in Seattle, Washington. The action takes place in a fantasy version of the real world, inhabited by elves, orcs, mermaids and other fictional races.

Various representatives of these races become regulars at this coffee shop. The plot of the game unfolds over two weeks, and every day different characters enter the cafe and discuss their problems and events with the barista and other visitors. Among the plot-forming characters – the journalist of the fictional newspaper The Evening Whispers (“Evening gossip”) Freya, who tries herself in writing a science fiction novel; former member of the girl group Rachel, dreaming of a solo career; alien Nile, who arrived on Earth with a mission of reproduction through crossing with its inhabitants; a young couple – a girl from the Lua Succubus clan and an elf Baileys, whose parents are against their relationship due to racial differences; other.

Game process
Coffee Talk is a visual novel and as a consequence, its gameplay consists mainly of dialogue reading. The conversation is periodically interrupted by a mini-game in which one of the visitors asks the barista to prepare various drinks from the ingredients available in the cafe. Latte art can be created for some drinks. In this case, the recipes chosen by the barista can influence the course of events – thus, this mini-game serves as the main means of interaction with the game. The player character can at any time check the profiles of the visitors of the coffee shop, spy on the list of famous recipes, read short notes published in the fictional newspaper, and change the music.

Criticism
Overall, Coffee Talk has received positive reviews from game critics. On Metacritic, the PC version got 75/100, the PlayStation 4 version got 70/100, and the Nintendo Switch version got 76/100.

In an article for Game Informer, Kimberly Wallace speaks warmly of Coffee Talk, describing the game as “an interesting experience,” but adding that some of the lines could be deepened. She also praised the character development in the game.

Destructoid’s Chris Moyes gave Coffee Talk a controversial assessment, saying that the game was “a lot like a hodgepodge of hobbyists,” with a lack of clear focus cited as a flaw. He also noted that “the occasional philosophizing in the game can be hard to swallow, [but] the great visual aesthetics, fun side-quests, and elevated cost convince some Coffee Talk readers will still be fine.”

In his review of the Nintendo Switch version of Coffee Talk, journalist House Risey-Lincoln commented on the game positively: he complained about the length of the plot, but generally called the gameplay relaxing and pacifying.

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