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Necrobarista review | PC Gamer


Need to know

What is it? A visual novel about ghosts in a cafe where avocado costs four dollars extra.
Expect to pay: $20/£15.50
Developer: Route 59
Publisher: Coconut Island Games
Reviewed on: Windows 10, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060
Multiplayer? No
Link: Official site

I’d never played a game set in the city where I live until Necrobarista, which takes place in Melbourne. It’s not Australian in obvious ways (no kangaroos), but it turns dead outlaw Ned Kelly into a supernatural enforcer in shorts and a Collingwood scarf who menaces a laneway cafe, and expects you to realise that’s funny. If a New York show wants me to know bodegas and Tompkins Square Park, a Melbourne game can get away with referencing Collingwood.

Necrobarista is a visual novel about the Terminal cafe, whose customers include ghosts and the living. It’s a space between the afterlife and Carlton, where the dead have bodies and a 24-hour-limit before moving on. People overstay that limit, but doing so runs up a debt the Terminal is supposed to pay off. Its owners haven’t been, and here comes the conflict.

Unlike visual novels where 2D characters slide past static backgrounds, Necrobarista is 3D. There are brief animations, characters pouring drinks or walking around, but even when there aren’t the cinematography is considered. Two characters will be talking, heads close in the wide shot, but then in opposite halves of the screen in close-ups to suggest metaphorical distance. The text sometimes vibrates, swirls, or grows. Everything about the composition is thoughtful.

(Image credit: Route 59/Coconut Island Games)

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