“A man with a beard was always a little suspect anyway. You couldn’t say you wore a beard because you liked a beard. People didn’t like you for telling the truth. You had to say you had a scar so you couldn’t shave.” – John Steinbeck
Hipster Café is a café building and management sim with a twist, it is a place for hipsters by hipsters! Players can make pretentious food, serve it in ridiculous ways and impress customers with elaborate latte art all whilst keeping on top of social media and managing staff!
Developer: Useful Slug
Released: 29th April 2022 (early access)
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
The game starts with a pretty comprehensive tutorial that allows players to go through the basics without it impacting their main playthrough. It covers all the main aspects of gameplay: food, coffee, social media, seating, entertainment, camera movement, research and business. There is a relaxed pace to the game and the ability to pause, play and fast forward means there is rarely a stressful moment.
Research is very important as it allows the player to discover new ingredients and enables the purchase of furniture, entertainment for the customers or items for the kitchen. The final food available for research is, of course, the infamous avocado! The player can create new dishes and drinks from the ingredients they currently have available, this is a really fun process with few limitations and options such as serving obscure meals on strange items such as a skateboard or even a urinal. Making coffee is also very enjoyable, the player must decide on the blend of coffee before adorning the drink with latte art. Besides food and drink the customers have a variety of needs including physical and serious. These can be fulfilled by providing different types of entertainment such as a punching machine, shops or mini golf!
Another aspect of Hipster Café is managing the business’s social media. The in-game platform of choice is called Tooter and the player can combine two hashtags to create a tweet and try to gain followers. Sometimes there will be a ‘hot topic’ and if the player can deduce which two hashtags are trending and create a tweet they will be sure to improve their following. There are also Toots from other accounts all of which are autogenerated, most of which are quite nonsensical but unfortunately, despite the use of filters some offensive Toots make it into the game. It was really quite jarring to see homophobic language in Hipster Café but there is an option to report such content and hopefully, this will be used to improve the bot before the game leaves early access.
In terms of the business side of things, players much manage expenses and staff. Depending on the current financial situation it is possible to make changes such as staff cuts or investing in more space or equipment. Upon running out of money it is possible to ring the bank of mum and dad, however, they might insist their child get a ‘real job’ if they are asked for money too often! There is a portfolio of potential staff members to peruse, each page gives the character’s name, their skills, their wage demands and a short description. Players can choose who to hire based on the jobs that need doing and who they can afford.
Narrative and Styling
There is not much of a narrative aspect to the game but we do know that the café was founded with investment money from the protagonist’s parents. Besides this, there are the few tidbits of Tooter that make sense and the evolving state of the hipsters that visit. The writing is very nice for the most part with the amusing food descriptions and names being a highlight.
Hipster Café has a vibrant 3D art style with something of a cartoon feel to it with its bright colours and simple but fun character models and jolly little animations. The music is mostly jazzy lo-fi tunes that fit well with the visuals and casual style of gameplay often fading into the background alongside the ambient sound effects such as the bustle of the café and the birds outside.
Hipster Café has a wonderful silliness that is hard to rival in this type of game. It takes building and management simulation and makes it just a little bit ridiculous whilst maintaining mechanics that would be expected from the genre. There are lots of things to do from creating recipes to managing staff and taking care of social media and lots of research opportunities to improve the venue. There are limits to the current content but as the game is in early access it’s fair to expect there will be more stuff added. I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye on updates and checking out the game if you’re into business management sims with a bit of a twist.
For more reviews of management sims, take a look at:
Idealistic Incarceration in Prison Tycoon: Under New Management – APICO – What’s the Buzz on this Easy Going Beekeeping Simulator? – No Place Like Home – Wholesome Farming Game in Early Access Now!