If Va11hallA and Persona hooked up in the cafe from the anime Time of Eve, their lovechild would be Necrobarista. If that means something to you, then you’ll be doing yourself a favor to buy this game immediately, as for a certain set of people, including me, it is truly a singular and sublime story experience.
Score – 9/10
If you’re on the fence, you have good reason to be – this game won’t be for everyone. It would be accurate to call it a visual novel, and not a terribly non-linear one at one. Seekers of intense action gameplay or a deep, lengthy playthrough may be disappointed, as the game is around a 5-7 hour trip without a lot of player choices, and the entire experience oozes anime. So if those things sound like dealbreakers, I wouldn’t blame you for passing.
But I’d go so far as to call Necrobarista my favorite game of the summer, if not the year.
The story of Necrobarista is by far a highlight. It follows the exploits of Maddy, owner of a cafe in Melborne which carries the unique distinction of housing patrons who are recently deceased. The supernatural is intertwined with the mundane in a way that always feels touchingly human, often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking. It’s sufficiently indie enough for many a player to go in completely blind, at least for now, and if you’re prepared for an emotional journey through life, death, and yes, Melborne, you can do no better than this.
It helps that the journey is gorgeous. Necrobarista is one of very few games where you can feel the influence not only of an art director, but a cinematographer, who wields its camera to produce shot after shot of iconic vistas, all within one truly iconic cafe. It’s the kind of game I can’t help but take screenshots of, not because of any strange bug or wild moment, but because it presents a world that resounds with beauty. Its music also leaps to the task, serving up the kind of chill you might want to download and play in your own cafe. It is truly a feast for the senses.
So Necrobarista, like any hole-in-the-wall cafe, won’t be for everyone. It has rough edges, and makes no attempt to satisfy every gamer who may encounter it. But those who are looking for what Necrobarista offers will find it singularly spectacular – a bespoke experience you’ll remember for years to come. By the end, my greatest critique of the game, as if by design, seemed to reflect the wants of its characters – I just wanted one more day in the Terminal Cafe.
+ Dramatic, Hilarious, Heart-wrenching story in a unique setting
+ Iconic, Beautiful Anime Aesthetic
+ Top Notch Music
– Unavoidable Prominent Anime Aesthetic
– Highly Linear, Little Replay Value
– Mildly short