Necrobarista is a visual novel game, developed by Route 59, and published by Route 59, Coconut Island Games and Playism. This game tells the story of a recently deceased man named Kishan, as he awakens in death to find his last haven before the ever after; A simple café in the city of Melbourne Australia. The café, open to both the dead and the living, is a place to get your final thoughts in order before moving on if you are one of the dead, and a place to get a decent cup of coffee for everyone else.
I’ve sometimes wondered what is required to be able to be considered a game. For me personally, I don’t find these visual story games to have all the necessary features to be called a game. Instead I feel Necrobarista is simply a story, complete with visual aids and a couple occurrences of you manoeuvring a character, which may have been added to make it a “game.”
This game has you reading a script and watching characters interact. Pressing Enter on your keyboard or clicking the left mouse button will continue the dialogue, and once scene has ended, you are given the option to pick some choice words that trigger memories, and as you click click on these words they are appointed a symbol. Necrobarista has some interesting concepts of death, hardship, depression and the ever after, but it feels like you’ve missed an episode of the drama, as the story slowly unravels, but there are things that are unexplained and seemingly overlooked, which annoyed me more then anything.
Kishan finds himself at the café where the owner Maddy informs him that he has 24hours before he will be sent to the next plain of existence. While at the café, Kishan makes acquaintances with Ashley, a young girl who likes to tinker with robots, Ned, a Police Enforcer who is indeed the ghost of infamous outlaw Ned Kelly, and Chay, the ex-owner of the café who the story centres on.
The art style of Necrobarista definitely leans toward anime, with the game featuring a single location, though you do have a few different rooms the story takes place in. All the art work was lovely, and while the characters didn’t have great facial expressions, they were unique and took a lot of work. The landscapes were a little flat and unimpressive, much like Melbourne in real life, but otherwise the café was really quite normal looking.
In one scene, Maddy performs magic of sorts, and the colours and graphics were intense and immersive. The music was lovely, although repetitive, as there are only two soundtracks. One was a bit poppy, while the other was more soulful, depending on the scene.
After you completed a scene, you move to the first person perspective and have the ability to walk around the café. More areas opened up as the game progressed, and within these areas were objects you could interact with, costing the symbols you unlock at the end each scene. You can also unlock short stories about the clientele who had frequented the café, opening up the possibility of reading additional stories, and offering a nice addition to the game.
Necrobarista had an interesting story, but it lacked anything I could say made it a game. I felt I literally pressed the enter key and read a story. There were a few cutscenes, but this game did not make use of voice overs, so I was literally reading words off a screen.
I would not have read this book if it was offered to me, although for the purpose of this review, I did read it until the end. If this style of game appeals to you, it’s brilliant and has many interesting offerings, but if novel games aren’t your thing, you will not find anything additional in this game.
- Easy to Play – press one button!
- Lacks Game Mechanics
- Repetitive Music