Not to be confused with the Saturday Night Live bit.
I’m not much of a coffee drinker. Tried back in middle school, couldn’t acquire the taste then, and I still can’t acquire it now. What I do appreciate about coffee, as well as other caffeinated beverages, though, is the social aspect. I almost never went to Starbucks growing up, but now that I’ve got a full-time job, I’m in at least twice a week. It’s not for the drinks, it’s because it’s fun to take a quick walk-and-talk with coworkers. Yessir, everyone can appreciate a quick cup of coffee and a calm atmosphere. Even mythological entities, apparently.
Toge Productions’ Coffee Talk is a visual novel set in a Seattle, Washington similar to the real one, albeit in a world where elves, werewolves, vampires, succubi, and more coexist alongside humanity. You assume the role of the owner and sole barista of Coffee Talk, the only late-night coffee shop in town, offering hot beverages and pleasant conversation to whoever (or whatever) happens to walk through your door. Though most of your patrons aren’t human, they’ve got pretty relatable stuff going on in their lives: family disapproval, tough jobs, racism, enduring full moon-induced fury- well, okay, that last one is just a werewolf thing, but it’s a medical condition and he’s trying to live with it.
Before and during your chats, your customers will ask for drinks, prompting you to use your ingredient shelf to prepare exactly what they’re looking for. Usually, they’ll just tell you what they want, but sometimes, they’ll make slightly more vague requests, and you’ll have to puzzle out what they’re looking for through process of elimination. It’s not a difficult game; there’s no real fail state (at least not that I’ve found), though the storyline can branch slightly depending on the drinks that you serve. It’s fine either way, though, since challenge isn’t really the point here.
Coffee Talk has a very relaxing vibe that encourages you to just sit quietly and soak in your patrons’ stories. It helps that it’s got beautiful 90s anime-inspired pixel art, as well as a soundtrack of lo-fi grooves ripped right from a “study/relax to” playlist. This is definitely a game to be enjoyed while wrapped up in a blanket on a rainy day, clutching a hot mug of coffee (or tea, if you’re like me). It’s not an especially long experience, but I guess that’s part of the game’s overall message: a cup of coffee won’t solve all of life’s problems, but it will offer you a few minutes of peace and quiet.