Gaming

Coffee Talk (Impressions)

I’m not one for actively trying out purely narrative driven games as they’re usually not my cup of tea (!) but when Coffee Talk by Toge Productions appeared as part of Xbox’s Games with Gold promotion in the last month I had to give it a go. I previously heard of the game thanks to Pete’s wonderfully in depth rundown over at Moegamer, which I highly recommend you go check out, so was curious to see first hand what it was like and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I played through it three times in a row so it must doing something right!

How can I describe Coffee Talk? It’s very much an interactive story where everything takes place at the counter of a fictional late night coffee shop in a Seattle populated by Elves, Vampires and more. All the characters have their own stories to tell and how they intersect during the course of the game is part of its appeal. You don’t have full control over the narrative but you can steer it at key points by serving the right drinks… many of which you have to learn the right mix combinations for through trial and error.

Your first run will take around four hours but you’ll likely want to try better the next time so there’s a little bit of replay value in there as well as some surprises too. There also a challenge mode where you are up against the clock in serving drinks which is a fun little addition that adds some traditional game mechanics to the title.

Things I like

  • The writing is VERY good. There’s plenty of pop culture references in there and the humour is always gentle even if some of the subject matter is not.
  • You know what you are getting with the game. It’s basically about making the right coffee to steer the story and it sticks to that. Everything in its design helps you on that path, like tracking all the recipes you discover, and I appreciate that honesty.
  • The game respects your time, allowing you to fast forward through narratives you’ve already seen and pausing on those you haven’t. Doesn’t seem like much but I really appreciated that when playing through subsequent times.
  • The game made a joke about an achievement being unlocked in conversation and then a REAL achievement popped up on the Xbox. Developers, I salute you!

Things I don’t like

  • I’m really clutching at straws here but I have to admit I wish there were more stories to uncover. Perhaps a few more paths that deviated based on your drinks serving success/failures too.

Coffee Talk is about as far away from Modern Warfare as I possibly could get. Much like those stopping for a coffee in the game it’s been a warm distraction from my regular routine and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to try it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coffee Talk is out now for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch. Played on an Xbox One X.

4 replies »

  1. Welcome to the world of visual novels! You’ll find that “fast forward” feature you liked so much is a standard inclusion in the genre, making it eminently practical to play through all the narrative routes of multi-path games rather than just one. And indeed, most visual novels reward full engagement with their story by only really providing the full picture of what is going on and what the characters are all about if you explore every possible route. It’s like having several books in the same universe.

    Did you manage to uncover all the “weird” stuff in subsequent playthroughs? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I uncovered everything! Or at least most of it. My first reason to play again was so I could try and figure out the right drink for one of the more aggressive patrons and once I saw how it changed the ending I felt I needed to get the best result for everyone. That required a bit of help! ๐Ÿ™‚

      But a big thank you for introducing the game to people. The setting and tone ticked a lot of boxes for me so I may have to keep an eye out for others… or a sequel! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • You might want to check out VA-11 HALL-A if you haven’t already. As noted in my piece, it was a big inspiration for the folks who made Coffee Talk, and is a wonderful story in its own right. Don’t know if there’s an Xbox version but the PC version is readily available and goes on sale quite frequently!

        Liked by 1 person

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