LudoNarraCon 2020: Coffee Talk Review

Coffee Talk - Key Art

“Now, listen very carefully: where’s your coffee? You’ve got coffee, haven’t you? C’mon, everyone’s got coffee! Spill the beans!” – Terry Pratchett

Developer: Toge Productions
Released: 29th January 2020
Price: £10.29 – £11.74
Engine: Unity

Platforms: Windows, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Available on: Steam, GOG, Humble, Nintendo, Microsoft, Playstation, itch (Free demo)

Overview

Set in an alternate Seattle in which humans, orcs, elves and succubi co-exist, Coffee Talk is a game about listening and making drinks. As the sole barista of the eponymous late-night coffee shop, the player must interact with customers whilst satiating them with a range of warming beverages!

Coffee Talk Screenshot - Alternate Seattle outside the coffee shop

Gameplay and Narrative

As different customers visit Coffee Talk, the player talks to them and listens to their stories and modern-day problems. Even though the characters and interactions are inspired by fantasy, the conversations feel natural, relatable and are often quite emotional. These are the main focus of the overall experience, however, rather than specific dialogue options impacting the direction of the game, this is done through subtler methods such as how the barista treats and serves their patrons.

In addition to playing the roles of eavesdropper and agony aunt, the player must also attend to their barista duties. Customers caffeine and tannin needs must be met promptly and politely using an initially limited variety of supplies with new recipes and ingredients being unlocked along the way. A number of the milkier recipes also include an option to add latte art adding a creative element to the mechanics.

Coffee Talk Screenshot - Green tea latte and latte art

Styling

Being a fueling station for lost night owls, the coffee shop isn’t exactly bustling with business, as such there is no sense of urgency within the gameplay, intentionally contributing to the relaxing overall experience.

The in-game music consists of jazzy lo-fi tunes which perfectly fit the atmosphere, unobtrusively complimenting the chilled out nature of the title without disappearing into the background. Coffee Talk claims to take aesthetic inspiration from 1990’s pixel art anime and uses muted, soothing colour palettes to contrarily deliver vibrant, beautiful and even energetic environments and scenery.

Coffee Talk Screenshot - Human Freya meets Succubus Lua

Summary

Coffee Talk is an interesting and original title, seamlessly combining its narrative and minimal mechanics. Most enjoyable is the way in which the short tales of others are combined with the overarching story of the barista in a subtle, calming yet evocative way. This is further accentuated by the distinctive art and music, both adding to the charming nature of the game and making it even easier to recommend!

Want to know more about LudoNarraCon 2020? Check out our guide here!

Or for more Toge Productions game reviews, take a look at:
A Glance at Indonesia – Double Game ReviewWhen the Past was AroundA Raven Monologue

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