Necrobarista is a point and click visual novel centered around a mystical cafe in Australia where necromancer baristas can bring wandering spirits back to life for one more night. The premise is interesting to be sure, and Necrobarista will be a guided experience, using cinematography and camera movements to enhance the narrative-focused experience. Told though many vignettes, Necrobarista has a wide cast of characters and the game is told from several points of view.
One thing that people will notice immediately about Necrobarista is its style. Its a 3D space but definitely tries to keep the 2D anime aesthetic, which I think it mostly achieves. More than just the graphics, it has its own flare in how it presents information to the player with the text floating out in space in a fixed position, as seen in the trailer above.
The demo I played at PAX West had two characters facing off in the “knife game,” which is known by many other names, but it’s all about stabbing back and forth between your fingers as fast as you can. On one side is one of those Necrobaristas and on the other seemingly a spirit brought back for the night. The wager is for two more hours of life for the spirit. It’s definitely a unique scene and the dialogue between the two was interesting.
There’s no voice acting, and won’t be any, in Necrobarista, which has allowed Route 59 a little more freedom in their text. They can write a lot more, change it up on the fly up until release, and try to jam pack the game with as much narrative as they can. This means that when you have the opportunity to explore an area you have quite a bit you can interact with to learn more about the people there, the objects, and what everything means.
Justin Kuiper, writer for Necrobarista, talked about the process of how the writing came together. He said he wrote up several outlines and then went to the different departments of Route 59 to ask what narrative would best fit their job. For example, he’d ask the enviornmental artists what scene would be the most visually interesting? He said he got all the departments involved in the writing so the game would come together as a cohesive whole, all parts fitting together and making sense.
My time was short with Necrobarista, but its style, focus on narrative, and unique premise has my interest piqued. If you like narrative heavy games, particularly visual novels, you’ll probably like what Necrobarista has to offer.
Necrobarista is releasing sometime next year on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac.More About This Game