Apple Arcade, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (later in 2021)
What would you do if you knew that your time was limited? Would you try to accomplish something or would you just relax trying to take it all in? Some of these questions are explored in an interesting way in the recently released visual novel Necrobarista: Final Pour.
I came into this visual novel blind. The only thing that I had to go off of was its original promotion image, and I’m kind of happy because Necrobarista is unlike anything that is currently out on the Switch or really anything that I’ve ever played. Route 59 uses this medium in a way to explore the concept of death and moving on. This is something that is not touched on heavily in a lot of other visual novels. I’ll come out and say right now I highly recommend Necrobarista. It’s not a hundred percent perfect, but it is an experience that I believe any fan of visual novels should have.
When you begin, you wake up in a state of confusion, unknowing of where you are; however a small sign that says “Terminal” stands before you. It’s a small coffee shop hidden away but on that sign there are three rules:
We welcome both living and dead
Don’t ask who’s alive
The dead have 24 hours
A new arrival hesitantly steps into Terminal and is greeted by the barista Maddy Xiao. They also meet Chay Wu, a skilled necromancer that has managed to survive hundreds of years, and Ashley Capek, a thirteen-year-old inventor who has a fierce attitude. What follows is a story of self-discovery and acceptance. While you’re not with the characters long, with the game’s main story clocking in at about 4 hours, you experience a path of growth and character development that a lot of bigger titles seem to struggle with over a much longer playtime.
I found myself generally intrigued by the path these characters took to their resolutions and that made me think about my own current situation. The dialogue between characters was entertaining, pretty witty, and honestly, a lot of the dialogue was very relatable. It’s something that I would see my friends and myself saying. I’m not really ashamed to admit it, but the ending generally had me in tears and it’s been a while since a piece of media has done that. It was such a mixture of emotions that, thinking back on it, still gets me a little teary-eyed.
While Necrobarista is a visual novel first and foremost, it is more of a hybrid film than a traditional visual novel. It’s designed in this 3d cel-shaded style that makes full use of its environment with the use of its dramatic lighting and aesthetics. Normally the character’s models are great, there are some scenes where the lighting takes away from the model and it looks a little out of place. I also wish some of the animations were a little more fluid. Some of them are just a little too robotic for my taste. Another small problem is the lack of an autoplay function that you see in most other visual novels. Most of the choices that the player can make will be around the terminal. Once you have discovered keywords it opens up additional story beats.
To go along with its amazing aesthetics is an elite soundtrack that is composed by Kevin Penkin, who is known for composing for Made in the Abyss. The soundtrack is probably one of my favorites. It really matches the scenes perfectly and does not feel out of place either. Some of the sound effects are lacking in some aspects, but not enough to ruin the experience. The port of NecroBarista is alright. It has some long loading times and it crashed on me once, but I honestly can overlook that for how good of an experience it was.
Necrobarista gave me something out of a visual novel that I haven’t experienced in a long time. It left me feeling complete. Its overview of death and acceptance of death really hits home for me and I assume other players would feel the same. I highly recommend that people check out this visual novel as it is unlike anything that I have ever experienced before and I doubt that I will experience anything like in the future.
Necrobarista: Final Pour Review
A Nearly Perfect Brew
I highly recommend that people check out this visual novel as it is unlike anything that I have ever experienced before and I doubt that I will experience anything like in the future.