Review: Coffee Talk

Hey everyone! Yes you may be surprised It is me on the videogame crusade lately, but for once in a really long time I’ve had spare time to play on my PC or the Switch and try out a few games out there. So today I wanted to talk to you about Coffee Talk, a nice little independent game by Toge Productions. And just as a head up, depending how much of a purist of videogames you are, you may not consider this as much as a traditional videogame but more of a visual novel or interactive story. In any case, there is currently a free demo on the Switch, and the game only cost me like £8.00, and it is also available on Steam.

The premise is that you run a café that stays open until dark where people come and gather. You find out about their personal stories; you help them out with a hot drink of their choice (sometimes just whatever you want) and so the narrative develops. It’s all 2d animation, (pixel art) but the characters are very well distinguished, the colours are rather pleasant and it all conjures a sincere sense of familiarity and tranquillity – it also comes with a super smooth jazz playlist so, there is that! The game play is very basic. All the dialogue is straight forward, and you don’t have any choices to make in there (which is perhaps the one thing I wished was different about this game). You have some main ingredients which depending how you combine them you create this or that hot beverage based on coffee, tea, green tea, chocolate, or milk products. You don’t know more than a couple of basic recipes to begin with, and depending how you combine things along the way you learn more, which is handy because sometimes the main characters of this story will come and ask you for a drink by it’s specific name in the game and if you haven’t discover it yet, you gotta wing it. And why does this matter? Well, because if you get the drink wrong, it actually has an impact in the narrative!  The cool thing abut this is that you won’t actually know how it is impacting the game unless you start a new game again and try to avoid making the same mistakes, so here is some interesting replayability value if you are the completionist type and you want to know all possible permutations of these stories, I think it is a great idea. There is also a challenge mode, to try and get you to speed up with your drink orders, and an endless loop where you can discover new drinks without the pressure of the narrative – or if you are a clumsy person like me, you can practice your latte art, so that the characters in the game don’t criticise you for it (LOL).

But, without a doubt, as much as I love the chill concept of making coffee to help people with their struggles, the narrative is the best part. Every character has a specific viewpoint or relatable issue, and actually I must say now that the topics addressed by the game are actually quite hard hitting with current social issues. I have just forgotten to tell you that the setting or the game takes place in an imaginary alternative reality where Seatle in the current time, is a fantasy city with orcs, elves, vampires, etc, so this is a multicultural modern fantasy society. I really appreciated this not just for the freshness of the concept art, but also because it brings new light to the genre of fantasy, and it utilises this so effectively to approach current subjects which us humans should be better at handling. Just to give you a few examples, there are reflections and digs about racial profiling, xenophobia, interracial/cultural relationships, dating and dating apps, the videogame and pop culture industry itself, the lives of freelancers such as artists and writers, personal trauma, fighting ones own demons, class divide… and much more.

I was playing the demo, and just a few minutes into it, I was so taken by the characters and the stories that I bought the game, no regrets. If you are a Netflix nerd like me and like watching random things, this game has a similar feel to the Midnight Diner ( which if you haven’t watch and you have played Coffee Talk, I sincerely recommend, or if you like wholesome humane stories all the same, go watch it). It was a very welcome change of pace for a few hours, away from killing people, building empires or being an absolute hero, and catching them all Pokémon. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder of all the good we can do in the world by just being ourselves, and Coffee Talk definitely achieves that with a certain feel-good vibe about it.

Realistic Modern Combat RPGs

Here I am again looking through obscure RPG books that cover a specific criteria. Last time I was looking for WW2 RPGs, and before that I was after RPG systems that featured realistic medieval combat. So this time I’m going for something a little similar to both, and that is realistic modern combat. What differs these games from the WW2 ones I found will be that they are either a more general rules system without being too tied into the historical setting, and if not, they have some particularly good ideas I like that can easily be adapted to whatever setting the GM likes.

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So what am I looking for in a modern combat game? Well for a start they need to have rules that fit the weapons. I don’t want to see anything where you can take multiple, or really any shots and not have to worry. This means that most things with a simple HP pool and quick healing are out. Obviously combat is about much more than just being able to shoot enemies while avoiding being shot, so on top of this I need to see some rules based around psychology and the mental state of the characters in play. This needs to go further than a simple deteriorating pool as well, because there are multiple factors at work which affect the use of many real world tactics, suppressing fire for example, that I would love to see take place in a game. Continue reading “Realistic Modern Combat RPGs”

Kingdom Come: Deliverance – More Of This Please

After following the development of this game since it’s Kickstarter campaign a few years ago, Kingdom Come: Deliverance was finally released last month, and it does not disappoint! Being a huge nerd for history, especially medieval history, and even more especially medieval arms and armour, I’ve been wanting a game like this for a long long time.

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The game is set in a very specific historical setting, which helps bring more authenticity to the location and details, as something much larger would be too difficult to get right. So the game is set in a small part of Bohemia ( in the modern day Czech Republic), which is within the Holy Roman Empire, in 1403. The game also features a fairly linear narrative and a set player character, which despite being a definite limit on roleplaying potential in some aspects, this too helps the game focus on more details within the freedom it does provide. Really this is one of the main appeals of the game; the details. It sets out to be a very focused experience, and I believe it succeeds in that. Continue reading “Kingdom Come: Deliverance – More Of This Please”

Evolution – Gaming for Fun – Jugando de Risas

So today I am going to spare the technicalities and what not, and I am going to get to the meat of what I wanna talk about today which is: HOW FUN IS EVOLUTION?! We played it a couple of weekends ago, and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed messing about with a game to this level. Because that is the thing, the beauty of Evolution: who cares if you win or not?! You get to create bizarre species of pre-historic like animals competing for survival. It’s Hilarious! I genuinely did not care about winning, it was all about making a cool funny creature and see how well it will do. I guess you could describe as what Spore would be if it was on table top, but playing with your friends, having a real danger of extinction and the urge for self-preservation.

Bueno hoy os traigo algo distinto y cortando las tecnicidades; ¡hoy me voy al meollo del asunto de cabeza! Y la cuestión es: ¿habéis jugado a Evolution? Pues si no lo habéis hecho, echadle un vistazo porque, ¡es La Monda! Lo jugamos hace un par de fines de semana, y la verdad que no recuerdo habérmelo pasado tan bien desde hace mucho tiempo con un juego por el hecho de que sea entretenido y tenga su gracia. Porque realmente no importa si ganas o no a Evolution, lo que tiene gracia es el montarte tu chiringuito con tus especies y ver como salen y si consiguen sobrevivir o no. Las características que les das y el cómo creas a estas criaturas prehistóricas es lo interesante de la cuestión – y si te mueres por el camino, pues chico, ya habrá otra, ¡qué más da! Lo digo en serio, ni por un momento me preocupo el ganar o perder, y no era por estar con mis amigos pasando un buen rato (que también), sino porque el juego es tan entretenido que hace que te inmersiones por completo en el proceso de creación. Supongo que podríamos definirlo como algo parecido al Spore si fuese un juego de tablero, pero en el que juegas con otras personas y donde sientes la necesidad de protegerte del peligro y poder preservarte como especie.

Continue reading “Evolution – Gaming for Fun – Jugando de Risas”

My Top 5 WWII Games

We may be seeing a bit of a comeback in WW2 videogames soon, what with the new Call of Duty going back to its roots, perhaps influenced by Battlefield’s decision to aim in a similar direction with their WW1 setting. So if you fancy trying out some of the best WW2 games that are currently available, then allow me to share with you my favourites!

1. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad

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Now with these lists I generally don’t intend to rank the games in any particular order, and the same goes here, with the little exception of this game. Red Orchestra 2 is perhaps my favourite WW2 game and First Person Shooter of all time. Despite being released in 2011 and reasonably old now, it still holds up. The gameplay has such a good mix between realism and enjoyability. The graphical and sound design are brilliant, with some of the best modeled weapons, and best weapon sounds I’ve ever seen. Even the voice acting is top notch, with the team you’re playing as speaking accented English that somehow doesn’t sound cheesy, and the enemies speaking either Russian or German. The combination of the fast yet thoughtful and deadly gameplay, the necessity of team cohesion from squad to commander level, and realism where it counts is a brilliant combination.  Continue reading “My Top 5 WWII Games”

Revisiting GameDev Tycoon

I have always loved GameDev Tycoon. I remember when it came out, I spent and entire evening playing with my friends. We will make a studio and collectively make decisions about what we were making, how we were doing it, who we would hire, and the rest of the creative decisions you need to take during the game. But there has always been one thing that puzzles me about the game, and I think it is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it over and over.

Unlike with many tycoon games, if you find a winning strategy once, you just need to repeat it. But it doesn’t seem to be the case with this game (either that or my memory and capabilities are worse than expected). And that is because of the aleatory nature of the game: there are different trends, different platforms, different audiences, and combinations. So what may work once, may not work always. And, if you think about it, that is true of the video-game industry itself. Regardless of how similar games may be, not all experience the same success. So I decided to have a quick play through: just a couple of hours or so, and share my game with you.

So I started my little company called Valinor (yes, there will be lots of references in here…).

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Medieval RPG combo – first game so text-based…

Continue reading “Revisiting GameDev Tycoon”