A soft lo-fi brew.

Title: Coffee Talk
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One
Developer: Toge Productions
Publisher: Toge Productions
Release date: January 29th 2020
tl;dr: Closest to being a barista without the hassle
Price: £12 / $13
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

As a barista who owns a coffee shop, you spend your evenings welcoming customers and making them warm (or cool) beverages to soothe their souls. You’ll also have the opportunity to listen to people’s daily lives along with meeting some very interesting, out of this world, characters. Take a seat, brew yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy.

Coffee Talk is a visual novel-like game where you will interact with your customers and listen to their daily woes. As the days go on, you’ll have needy characters coming in and exposing their on-going problems. As the center of it all is Freya. A green-haired rebel working a story and acts as your unofficial colleague as she’s a regular customer.

While interesting with Freya, new customers will step in your shop and you’ll get to know them as the game goes one. Interestingly enough, while the game takes place in Seattle, it is set in an alternate universe where vampires, orcs, elves, werewolves all reside with one another. This makes for interesting subject matters and conversations.

While this makes it sound linear, it is far from it. The branching options will be impacted by how you brew your clients’ beverages. You start out with a few ingredients, but as the days go on, you have access to a few more ingredients to brew your clienteles’ favorite soothing beverage. If a customer requires a drink which you mess up, the conversation might end abruptly and the customer change subjects. Successfully brew a brand new beverage requested by your customer and there could a bit of insight as to how the barista successfully pulled it off. Constantly screw up a customer’s drink and the next time he’ll ask for it, he’ll give you a different clue on how to make it right. If you don’t remember what the client said or how to make a certain recipe, whip out your handy in-game mobile device to double-check as needed. You can also monitor your relationship with your patrons through the Facebook-like App Tomodachill. The status of your relationships will dictate decisions and conversations.

Often times, clients will outright tell you what they want; some of which are pretty easy to do. However, as you progress further, clients’ will tell you by name what they want, without having a simple clue as to what it is. Thankfully, you have 5 “lives”, or missed brews you can throw out, every day giving you a bit of room for experimenting. Each beverage requires three ingredients which are to put mixed in the right order in order to successfully create a brew. For example, if a client tells you a recipe, it’s not necessarily the required order. You can validate the drink before serving it.

If you feel fancy and want to give a little the drink an extra touch, you can always try your hand at making a little design on the latte so it adds a personal touch.

While I’ve enjoyed the quirky cast of characters and the way the various storylines develop and each character interact with each other, I do feel it drags on for too long. After a few hours, it can become a bit boring to just read and make a coffee every 5-10 minutes.

Coffee Talk has a colorful 90s inspired visual that is just a treat to look at. Each character has their own unique physical traits and are colorful in their own ways. The rain in the backdrop is soothing as the drinks you’ll brew. It also includes one of the most soothing and lounge-y score; it’s definitely my first personal favorite soundtrack of 2020.

Coffee Talk is the perfect game to relax after a long hard day of work. Trying to mix and create hot beverage is an interesting mechanic; kind of like a lite cooking game and the cast of character each all their unique quirks and the soundtrack has the perfect lounge-y feel to. Despite feeling like it drags on for too, if you play it in short bursts, it’ll soothe you like a warm cup of tea.

The Good

  • Relaxing
  • Interesting characters/character development
  • Soothing soundtrack

The Bad

  • Feels like it overstays its welcome
  • Figuring out some recipes require actual barista experience

Family Focus

Coffee Talk is rated T for Teen and PEGI3 due to the presence tobacoo usage and some…interesting conversations.

This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the publisher