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Necrobarista Review

Necrobarista Review

Welcome to The Terminal, a coffee shop in Melbourne, Australia. Here you will find a range of coffee that is sure to suit your taste. Oh, and it’s also where the dead get to spend their last 24 hours on Earth before moving onto the other side. Welcome to Necrobarista, the long-awaited visual novel from developer Route 59 that sells itself as a story about coffee and death and believe me, it delivers on all fronts and then some.

You might be mistaken for thinking this is a story about typical anime tropes given the chosen art style and you would, in fact, be wrong. The story of Necrobarista follows a few core characters, namely Maddy, Ashley, Chay, Ned, and Kishan who in some ways might be the heart of the whole narrative. What starts as the tale of one person's last 24 hours on Earth soon becomes an interwoven story of loss, love, and learning to let go together. You’ll become familiar with Maddy’s powers, why Ashley is good at throwing knives and building robots, and why Ned needs to use a straw for his drinks. While the writing is full of humour and moments of laughter, you’ll quickly come to learn that the core story here is one of hard-hitting plot points that, by the end of it all, will leave you feeling emotional. It’s a narrative that is truly unique and is only made more engaging by the way developer Route 59 chose to present it.

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For starters, the fact this visual novel is in full 3D really helps to add an extra layer of polish and emotion to the narrative. Carefully crafted shots ensure that you are fully immersed in the story while also seeing a lot more than you would from 2D images. Sure, the anime inspired art style might not be everyone's cup of tea but it really fits with Necrobarista and Route 59 have done a fantastic job to ensure that all the visuals fit together. Necrobarista completes its present with an outstanding soundtrack that captures the mood of every shot and helps push it to the next level. The music of choice during a few of the later chapters was also enough to completely bring me to tears.

As for the gameplay of Necrobarista, it’s best explained in three stages that each feed into each other. First, you have your standard visual novel experience which makes up the bulk of the game. You’ll witness conversations unfold and click through at a pace that suits you. At times you will see highlighted words which when clicked provide additional context to the larger story and world, without breaking the flow of the conversation. Then, at the end of every chapter all those words appear in a word cloud of sort mini-game where you pick a few of them and gain what is best described as “keywords”. These can be things like “The Terminal” or “Death” and even “Magic”. These times go into your inventory if you will and can be used in the three stages of gameplay in which you freely explore in and around The Terminal before starting the next chapter.

It’s here that you will find a number of unlockable memories around the map which you can unlock with said “keywords”. Some are standalone stories while others are broken into multiple parts but all help to further build the world of Necrobarista and explore the day-to-day running of The Terminal and the many characters who pass through it. You would be wise to take the time to unlock them all as there are some fantastic bits of storytelling to be enjoyed in these memories.

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Necrobarista does, however, only take a few hours to complete, which is understandably going to put a few people off. It doesn’t give all the characters the screen time you would hope but the developer has already promised free DLC to tell its stories. What it offers in its current package however is well worth the price. The story is heavy and emotional but still able to have moments of joy and laughter, all while never feeling like it’s overstayed its welcome. With the unlockable memoires to find as well, you are looking at around five hours of generally amazing story telling.

Necrobarista is hands down one of the best visual novel titles I’ve ever played. It wastes no time getting to the heart of it’s narrative and does so in such a compelling way that I couldn’t look away. From the art style, to the music, even to the Australian based humour - which even as a Brit I understood - it all comes together to make a moving experience that you would be a fool to pass on. Necrobarista had me in tears by the end of it because it touched close to home and in many ways, was just what I needed right now. That said, I don’t half miss coffee shops.

10.00/10 10

Necrobarista (Reviewed on Windows)

Outstanding. Why do you not have this game already?

Necrobarista is easily one of the best games so far this year and one of the greatest visual novels I’ve ever played.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Judgemental Waifu

Judgemental Waifu

Staff Writer

Married a light cruiser. No, really

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Chad Brinkle
Chad Brinkle - 04:27pm, 1st January 2021

Just wow!