A mashup of dating sims and barista brewhaha, Drunk Bunny Games’ Cafe Crush has players stealing hearts while taking orders. The environment may be fresh, but does this visual novel provide a nice buzz?
Cafe Crush Review
A choice-driven visual novel, this title stars a character not doing much with his life. Burnt out on anime and video games, he gets a part time job at the Kitty Cafe after passing by. While there, he helps out Lily, Josie, and Emilia with taking orders, baking, and making coffee.
Of course, being a romantic visual novel, players have the chance to win the heart of one of the girls by the time the game is over. Crush Points are your best friend in this title – those who correctly do tasks can earn these points, and notifications in the top-right corner help players get on the right path. The road to love is fairly straightforward – taking orders correctly, knowing your coffee drinks, and knowing what goes into different cakes will get you a good ending.
The trouble is, a lot of the tasks come across as busywork. Taking down multiple orders isn’t difficult; it’s just time-consuming. Knowing the difference between a ristretto and espresso is also important, along with a number of other random coffee facts. Finally, get ready to be quizzed on different cakes and get ready to play a matching game. Though these activities do break up the bevvy of text, they sometimes come across as pandering busy work. Between the straightforward questions, the hint functionality, and the Cafe Crush notes, everything is just a bit too easy.
Unfortunately, the core dialog does not fare much better. Both the staff and the clientele comes off as one note, sitting squarely in the shoes of nerdy and preppy stereotypes. With hashtags like “hashtag OMG yummy,” the overexaggerated tones of this title come off as forces. Intimate dialog does not fare much better, with lines like “I’d rather watch real life” ruining the mood.
There is some voice acting to be found among the characters of Cafe Crush, but this also falls flat on its face. Lines are delivered without much enthusiasm, and certain characters have thick accents. One egregious example has a patron sound like he was speaking miles away from the mic – instances like that come off as amateurish and unprofessional.
The entirety of Cafe Crush can be finished in about an hour. We were able to get a good ending fairly easily, though there are different routes depending on the girl. There is also the option to experience “Bonus Content” from the main menu, but this is simply listed as “Coming Soon” as of this writing. The entirety of the story only encompasses a few days of in-game time, which comes across as odd when a girl confesses her feelings for you almost immediately.
Coffee addicts might dig Cafe Crush’s setting, but most visual novel fans will be turned off by its poor voice acting and uninspired dialog.
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