Necrobarista is an interesting game. It’s already started to get some rumblings on the interwebs due to it’s unique take on visual novels and it’s interesting setting. I had the chance to play a short demo of the game at TGS and speak with someone hired part time to do marketing for the game.
For those who haven’t played any visual novels before, they’re story based games that generally have multiple paths. One of the mainstays of this genre is that the story is generally told through 2D cutouts of characters on screen and sometimes accompanied with voice acting. However, Necrobarista tries to mix it up a little. They do so by modeling the world and characters in 3D. Using the developers own words the game is described as “Players will experience the story of a supernatural Melbourne cafe where the dead are permitted to return for one last night to walk among the living and enjoy one last cup of coffee.”
Before starting up the demo I got a short run-down from a translator that was hired for the event. It was clear he was using a script, but he seemed really into the game and what it had to offer. This alone peaked my interest and made me want to plate it more. He told me about how it was a bit different from traditional visual novels and then let me start playing.
At the opening screen I was welcomed to a dark room and two figures playing “five finger fillet”, or often known as “that knife game from the Alien movie”. The game goes into quite a bit of detail in how the character being focused on feels and some history and techniques to the game itself. This was intriguing for me because I personally didn’t even know that’s what the game was called before playing the demo. The game is taking place in a dark cellar looking area surrounded by shadowy face-less onlookers.
The only thing that the game doesn’t always seem to get spot on are facial expressions. It’s about 50/50 for me when it comes to how well the expression come across. In one instance it’s a little overdone, where as in others’ they’re a bit more subtle. Take the following pics as an example. The first is a little to over-expressive, while the second is shows just the right amount. Mind you this are no doubt design choices, and it’s just me nitpicking.
After the interaction between the man playing the game and a girl sitting across from him, you then have the ability to move around the room and learn more about the characters and their surroundings. This is the key difference in this game compared to most visual novels. It seems to disrupt the pacing a bit, but most (if not all) seemed entirely optional to expand the story.
Soon after, the game moves to the upper floor. You then realize you were under the cafe the entire time. You walk up to another patron of the cafe and the demo abruptly ends there. Though the demo was short, I genuinely enjoyed my time with it. Necrobarista will be released on PC first and then later on Switch sometime in 2018.