Have you ever joked that your coffee was so strong it could bring back the dead? Well, in the latest game from Route 59, maybe that hot cup of joe can reanimate the dearly departed!
Set in a magical café in modern-day Melbourne, Australia, Necrobarista explores several stories where the dead can return for 24 hours and are indistinguishable from living patrons. The stories are shared as a gorgeous cel-shaded visual novel influenced by anime aesthetics. We got our hands on an early build at PAX West, and are excited to share it with you!
I was impressed with several things during the short demo of Necrobarista. First of all, the writing is top notch. This is incredibly important for a visaul novel style game of course! The characters share their inner motivations with snappy dialogue that doesn’t feel like forced exposition. The conversation is also dynamically displayed on the screen similar to word bubbles in a comic or manga, which the player clicks to continue. Displaying the dialogue in this manner kept me feeling involved in the conversation, unlike other visual novel games that keep all the text below a static image. And the images are not static in Necrobarista! Borrowing heavily from an anime style, the view shifts between characters as they speak, often in dramatic angles to punctuate the emotions they are expressing.
The environment around the characters are dynamic as well. Several times in the demo, I could zoom back from the focal point of the scene and explore by clicking on other side characters or interesting objects in the environment. It wasn’t as detailed as a point and click adventure game, but being able to explore the 3D space around the main conversation really added depth and a sense of space to the unfolding vignette.
Sometimes a cafe will pour 2 ounce samples of their coffee creations on a tray to entice you to buy their latest seasonal offering. I have sipped enough from Necrobarista that I eagerly await a full cup in 2018.