Super Barista is a food service-tower defense hybrid of a game for iOS from Appnormals. This indie title is a multitasker’s dream, combining the hectic time-management of food service games with the strategic resource management and building placement of tower defense games. Unfortunately the game is a bit unbalanced with succeeding in difficult levels depending on upgrades/in-app purchases.
Super Barista’s graphics are reminiscent of your favorite PC games from the early 90s. The music and sound effects are a perfect fit and help give the game a unique feel. Collectible cards featuring notable pixel-artists such as Henrik Pettersson, unlock content as you progress and are a nice little detail of the game. There’s not really a story to Super Barista, just set up an intergalactic coffee shop and serve human and aliens coffee as efficiently as possible, and that’s all you need to play a fun game.
The mechanics of Super Barista are classic tower-defense. Customers enter your coffee shop at various entry points and proceed on a conveyor belt to the exits. It’s up to you to make sure every customer gets served a caffeinated beverage in a timely manner before they reach the end.
Three un-served customers and it’s game over in Super Barista. With three difficulty settings and a variety of customer types, there’s plenty of challenge for players to overcome. After a few rounds, players will be memorizing customers favorite drink orders and finding the most efficient set ups for each map lay-out, etc.
Super Barista is a premium app that costs $1.99 in the App store. Yet the game still has in-app purchases. While $1.99 isn’t the steepest price for a mobile game, the addition of IAP’s is an interesting choice.
The only IAP’s available are different quantities of coffee beans, the in-game currency used in Super Barista. Coffee beans can be used to upgrade and lower the cost of your equipment in the game. These beans can be earned by completing levels, beating your high scores, and playing a daily “wheel-of-fortune” mini game, so farming isn’t exactly easy.
The toughest levels are those with VIP clients who serve as sort of “boss enemies” within Super Barista. VIP clients need to be served with special equipment and order more beverages than other customers. Serving VIP customers has a large up-front cost that is hard to meet if you also want to keep your other customers happy too.
Players start with a fixed set of money to set up their coffee shop within every level of Super Barista. This budget doesn’t afford players enough money to serve customers coming from two different pathways as well as prepare for a VIP client. In order to accommodate all your clientele, players will have to scramble to serve customers as efficiently as possible and garner as many tips and combos as they can to boost their income and finish furnishing their shop. To make this more difficult, VIP clients can show up somewhat randomly, and you’ll never be quite sure which path or wave they’ll be arriving in. If you fail to serve a VIP client, you automatically lose the level.
Clearing levels with VIP clients can be extremely difficult in a frustrating kind of way. Of course it’s easier to complete VIP levels if you’ve lowered the cost and upgraded the efficiency of your equipment. This makes the IAP’s a vital part of players strategies and the game feel unbalanced.
With the exception of VIP customers, Super Barista is a very fun game. The combination of food service and tower defense genres is done very well to create a unique and challenging experience. The contrast of retro pixel art and futuristic outer-space setting is fun and executed well. The inclusion of in-app purchases, however, seems to have influenced the game design a little too much, taking away from the enjoyment and strategy of playing Super Barista.
TechRaptor was given Super Barista for the purposes of review. It was reviewed on iPad Air.
Super Barista is a very fun game. The combination of food service and tower defense genres is done very well to create a unique and challenging experience. Unfortunately the game is a bit unbalanced with succeeding in difficult levels depending on upgrades/in-app purchases.