Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Coffee Talk

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/coffeetalk.jpg

"But some few find solace in the embrace of bricks and wood and glass. They are told over drinks, then take up residence in some strangers' memories. In one corner of the city stands a coffee shop. A place that is only open when the sun is sleeping. A place where people share their stories. And these are their stories..."
—Opening narration
Advertisement:

The year is 2020, the city is Seattle. The great war is almost nothing but a distant memory, and each of the different races coexist among one another in relative peace. On a certain street corner stands a certain coffee shop that only opens when the sun goes down- the titular Coffee Talk. You are the owner and lone barista of that shop, and your job is to serve a hot drink and lend a listening ear to each of the customers who visit.

Coffee Talk is an indie game developed by Toge Productions, a game studio based in Indonesia. The game mixes elements of Visual Novels with visual aesthetics inspired by 90s anime, classic pixel art adventure games, and the imagery associated with lo-fi chillhop music. Being a game about a coffee shop, the main game mechanic in Coffee Talk is naturally the drink-making feature, in which you try to serve each customer a drink made of three of the ingredients you have available. Over the course of two weeks you see several storylines play out through the conversations that take place within Coffee Talk, and whether you can fulfill each customer's order or not may affect what direction those stories take.

Advertisement:

The game released on January 29, 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with PC versions available through Steam, GOG, Windows 10 and Itch.io. It also has a demo available on Steam and GOG.

A sequel, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly, was announced in late 2021 and is "brewing" for a 2023 release.


Tropes

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Released in January 2020 and set in September of the same year, although, the setting being a fantasy alternate reality, it's not actually trying to predict the future.
  • All There in the Manual: Gala at one point mentions that Hyde got married not long before they met, but Hyde's spouse never comes up at any other point in the game and, tellingly, he doesn't wear a wedding ring. One of the side comics on the official Coffee Talk Twitter account reveals that Hyde did indeed get a divorce several years ago.
  • Advertisement:
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Fast Forward button is disabled for new dialogue so you won't accidentally skip them in your subsequent playthroughs.
  • Bakeneko and Nekomata: The nekomimi- a race that can shift between average looking cats and people with cat ears- seem to be based on bakeneko youkai.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Lua's all-French self-summary on Tomodachill is taken from the opening stanza of Clair de lune, the poem that inspired the famous Debussy song (a remix of which is on the game's soundtrack). The poem is about a tragic romance, and the first stanza, in particular, speaks of "charming masquerades and dancers... almost sad beneath their fantastic disguises," which speaks to Lua's fears that her relationship with Baileys can't last.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • When Freya talks about the non-linearity of her novel and how she plans to make it mainstream, she compares it to a Choose Your Own Adventure show on NetStream that strategically used its marketing to reach the mainstream audience. Strangely, she namedrops the original streaming service in her article "Loving in Silence", implying that they both exist in the setting.
    • In the bonus comic "Wanna Be My Mate?", Neil learns the name of the dating app with a fire logo that Earthlings use: Kindlr.
  • Book Ends: The game starts with Freya as the first customer thinking about writing her novel. The game ends with her as the last customer there, having had her book draft accepted by the publisher.
  • Calming Tea: The Gala Had remedy for Gala's Fury is described as "good to calm yet warm your nerve".
  • Casual Kink: One conversation involves a rather frank discussion of kink: Hyde tells Gala how he's heard that some werewolves use BDSM as a means of calming themselves during their monthly transformations, to which Gala matter-of-factly replies that's only something that ever happens in porn, though vanilla sex as a calming method is actually fairly common. Gala lightly ribs Hyde about the fairly obvious implication that he was watching werewolf porn, telling him it's okay if he's into "that sort of thing." Hyde quickly claims that he just heard about it from a friend... Hyde and Gala's true ending, which involves Hyde presenting a flustered Gala with a fuzzy pair of handcuffs, implies otherwise.
  • Christmas Rushed: In-Universe. Myrtle mentions having to work overtime just to make sure her company's next game is released in time for the holidays. She also complains that overtime being "optional" is a passive-aggressive remark from the company because the workers are made to feel guilty if they go home early to rest and visit their families.
  • Concept Art Gallery: The gallery not only shows pixel CGs of some of the game's best moments, but also shows its concept art.
  • Developer's Foresight: There's more than one possible reaction towards incorrect orders depending on how badly you messed up in them. Some customers will tell you that it's not what they wanted, but at least it has the ingredients or flavor they requested.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: In Challenge Mode, when a customer orders a drink of a certain flavor, they will sometimes specify whether they want no flavor, less of it, or extra. However, if they don't specify, they want the flavor with 4-5 parts — not too much and not too little, so over- or under-doing it will count as an incorrect order.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Baileys says he will find somewhere to drink himself under the table after Lua breaks up with him when their families won't accept their relationship.
  • Edible Theme Naming: Lua and Baileys, the two characters in a Star-Crossed Lovers storyline, are named after two different kinds of liquor (that also happen to sometimes be served in coffee-based drinks). When Baileys tells Freya the story of he and Lua met, he comes up with the fake names of "Cognac" and "Rose" for the other two people involved in the tale.
  • Endless Game: Endless Mode has two modes: Free Brew and Challenge Mode. In Free Brew, you're free to experiment with mixing ingredients to discover special drinks, while in Challenge Mode, you have to get as many correct orders as you can in 90 seconds, with correct orders giving you extra time.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The game takes place in an average Seattle-based coffee shop in a world that's inhabited by werewolves, vampires, merfolk, orcs, dwarves, elves, succubi, nekomimi, and aliens. Almost every race is represented by at least one of your customers.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • There are still tensions between the different magical races of Seattle. Lua and Baileys, a couple of a succubus and an elf, have a hard time as her parents won't accepting their daughter dating an elf, nor will his accept their son dating a succubus.
      Baileys: You don't know what they said about you.
      Lua: What did they said about me? Or about my race, I assume?
    • Aqua's Oceanic race is the most oppressed, as the newspapers will have headlines about the government imposing harsh restrictions on immigration from her kind. Aqua herself says it's extremely difficult for her kind to deal with the surface world.
    • Inverted in Freya's novel, where the plot is an Alternate Universe where humans are the only race, but the difference in their appearance such as skin color causes strife among them, just like in Real Life.
  • FBI Agent: An agent from the Federal Immigration Regulation and Enforcement Division or F.I.R.E drops by your coffee shop on September 30 to look for an alien wearing a spacesuit. You get worried about Neil because they're one of your regulars and they don't know they're an illegal alien in the literal sense. The Stinger reveals that Neil has been aware of this, which is why he presented himself in his human form when he talks to you one last time.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • Myrtle and Aqua are preparing to present their game in MAX West, which is a stand-in for PAX West, Seattle's annual gaming expo.
    • Rachel's next gig as an Idol Singer is at Coachella, or rather Couchella.
    • October 3's news is headlined, "Weirdstein Company Criticized for Unfair Depictions of Werewolf in Latest Box Office Hit".
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: October 2nd opens with a conversation with Baileys where, among other things, the Barista mentions the importance of being able to read body language and being able to understand the difference between what people want and what they need. Not long after, Freya walks in looking absolutely terrible. It's a big hint that, in order to get her best ending, you need to serve her a Bedchamber instead of her usual triple-shot espresso, no matter how much she insists otherwise.
  • Foreshadowing: On one day Hyde teases the barista about saying "we" and "our" when they're the only person who works at Coffee Talk. The barista raises the valid point that it makes sense to speak that way when you're the face of a business, but it's also a subtle hint that there's a connection between them and the other character who speaks that way: Neil. In addition, Neil can read the speech balloons — just like the player.
    • At one point Jorji describes one of your drinks as " out of this world."
    • Every new day starts with the same animation of the coffee shop opening up, but notably, that animation also features a clear shot of the moon, which waxes (and later wanes) accurately from day to day, giving the player a subtle hint that the night of the full moon will be significant. Considering one of the main characters is a werewolf, it's not hard to guess what will happen.
  • Fur Against Fang: Werewolves and Vampires were in a rivalry for years until an 1865 peace treaty allowed them to befriend each other.
  • Game Gourmet: You can make and serve all sorts of drinks besides coffee and tea.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Neil reveals he knows that The Barista is able to engage in Save Scumming to improve his friends' lives, because that's their species' power.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: There are 30 special drinks that are discoverable in Brewpad, and there's an achievement for finding them all.
  • Gratuitous Japanese:
    • The main social media app everyone uses, Tomadachill (stylized as Tomodachi!!) is a portmanteau of tomodachi and chill, "tomodachi" being Japanese for "friend."
    • Rachel's transformation is accompanied with a パー sound effect.
    • The Chocobee Miruku contains the Japanese pronunciation for "milk".
  • The Great Offscreen War: The opening narration mentions a big war between the races taking place much, much before the game takes place.
  • Guide Dang It!: Since you can only throw away a drink up to five times a day, if you're stumped with an order that only mentions the name of a special drink but you haven't discovered it yet, you might as well look it up.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: Played with. When Freya talks with the Barista about Hyde and Gala, she says looking at them reminded her of a video, the Barista assumes that she's talking about something perverted and tells her to not start fantasizing. Freya though says it's about a video of a wolf pup playing with a baby tiger.
  • Hint System: The loading screen shows various special drinks that you can brew, but not their ingredients, though you can get a hint on what they are by their appearance.
  • Hipster: Freya is a writer with green hair, tattoos and that spend her time writing short stories in a local coffee shop.
  • Hooked Up Afterwards: If the player makes the right choices, the credits will mention that Hyde is looking to move to Seattle permanently. The accompanying photos and the name of the achievement you get for finishing this arc, "There's a spark," make it all but outright said that Hyde and Gala have made their relationship romantic.
  • Horned Humanoid: Lua, and by extension all succubi, have horns. Lua's in particular have marks on them that glow.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Freya engages in this a lot.
    • One of her favorite ribs is “old man,” which she uses on more than one of the other characters. Naturally, she is quite put out when Rachel calls her “grandma.”
    • She is quick to scold characters for being blunt or pushy, forgetting that as a reporter she’s equally guilty of doing the same. This leads to more than one instance of her putting her foot completely into her mouth.
  • Immortality Immorality: Baileys' family, and nearly all other elven families, uses the gift of immortality to force their offspring to do what they want. Baileys rejects his immortality to be with Lua, opting for a mere long life.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: Elves and vampires are both seen as this.
  • Interface Screw: Trying to check your phone while Gala is in rage will have him slam the table and not let you check the recipes for the Gala Had.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • At one point, Freya describes her novel to Baileys as being similar to a Gamebook, but with each choice being given a score that determines which route the reader takes... in short, like a video game or Visual Novel.
    • When giving Aqua advice for MAX East, Myrtle suggests ending her demo on a Cliffhanger. The original Coffee Talk demo did something similar.
  • Limited Sound Effects: Every character apart from Neil gets the exact same sipping sound effect with their drink animation. This isn't particularly noteworthy, apart from one moment- when you serve milk to Hendry in his cat form, the "slurppp" sound plays even though he's lapping it off the counter.
  • Local Reference: There are a few references to Toge Productions' home country, and by extension, Southeast Asia:
    • You can brew STMJnote , jahe tubruknote , and teh tariknote . In fact, the Barista traveled around SEA a few years ago to learn how to brew these drinks.
    • "The Anxious Boy and His Love Stories on Public Transport", one of Freya's articles for The Evening Whispers, is set in Jakarta.
  • Maybe Ever After: It's very heavily implied that Aqua and Myrtle are dating by the end of the game. Also, depending on what choices you make, Hyde and Gala's card in the credits will change to say that Hyde is looking to move to Seattle permanently... with their photo changing to Hyde presenting a flustered Gala with a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, making their relationship all but explicitly said to be romantic as well.
  • Medium Awareness: Somehow, Neil sees Freya saying "your" instead of "you're". She remarks that he shouldn't be able to tell the difference between homonyms. Something the player can do.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: According to her Tomodachill profile, Freya's favorite author is Geil Naiman.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Aqua points out that Russian Tea is actually an American tea despite the name.
  • Punny Name: The name of the drink you come up with for Gala to calm him down during his Fury is called the "Gala Had." The name of the achievement you receive for serving him the correct drink during his Fury-induced Freak Out is "Gala had a fit!"
  • Relationship Values: Meeting each character adds them to your friend list on the social network site Tomodachill. The more you interact with each character by getting their orders right, the more information appears on their profile. Getting their orders wrong will likewise make them hide their profile info from you.
  • Save Scumming: You can reset a day any time if you mess up or want to see what happens if you serve your customer a different drink, and you'll keep any special drink you've discovered from the previous run. This is because you actually have time-travel powers like Neil's species.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Towards the end of Lua and Hyde's argument, he drops this:
    Hyde: You can't have it all, lady. This is not a fairy tale. This is not a story where some fairy godmother will suddenly appear and grant your wishes. This is how things go in real life. You have to take chances and make sacrifices. And you choose which one is best for you. Pretty simple.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Source Music: The entire soundtrack (save the song that plays when a transformed Gala appears in the cafe) is a playlist of ambient music playing on the barista's phone In-Universe. The player can switch between songs by opening the phone.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Baileys and Lua's plot centers around how their families won't accept them dating each other due to their races.
  • The Stinger: After the credits roll, Neil returns to your coffee shop and tells you that he assumed human form because he was aware of the F.I.R.E agent hunting him down. He also reveals that he's aware of your Save Scumming powers because that's one of the powers of his alien race.
  • Take a Third Option: A major source of tension between Baileys and Lua is that Baileys is willing to leave his family for her, and she won't let him do it because she's worried that he'll come to resent her for it if they ever fall out of love later. Baileys solves this by realizing that he hates his family anyway, and leaving them because he wants to, not for Lua. By making his decision without involving her, he takes things into his own hands and doesn't attach anything to Lua.
  • Thanking the Viewer: The credits thanks the player at the end of the game for playing it.
  • To Be Continued: The demo ends with Freya telling the barista what are her plans for writing about a cafe. Subsequently, the sound of the door opening plays before cutting to black with the words "To Be Continued" on the screen.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Sometimes, a customer will order something off the menu, so you'll have to experiment with the ingredients until you get their special discoverable drink. Ingredient quantity and especially the order matter since for example, the recipes for generic honey lemon green tea and Cough Syrup are not the same even if they use the same ingredients. Some customers will even give you a hint on this if you mess up their orders for special drinks this way.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: According to Hyde, an experimental synthetic blood substitute was developed not too long before the start of the game. He mentions that he's one of the vampires trying a "vegan diet."
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: Conversed In-Universe by Aqua and Myrtle. They talk about Myrtle's involvement in Full Metal Conflict, and Freya tells them that it's getting a movie adaptation. Myrtle is concerned that Hollywood wouldn't be able to do the adaptation well, and Aqua says that it's because games have a unique storytelling method that can't be easily replicated in movies.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Rachel and Hendry, and by extension all nekomimi, can shift into cats. Apparently it's most usually done to make commuting easier, but towards the end of the game Hendry transforms to hide his identity while taking on some thugs badmouthing Rachel.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: On October 18, two weeks after the last day where you can serve drinks, you catch up with the patrons on how they're doing. The rest of their lives are then shown through a series of photos before the credits.
  • Writer's Block: Freya, your first customer, is a writer that will talk about her recent block. On the next day, she realizes that she wants to write stories inspired by the lives of the clients in the café.

Top