Hi peeps, whaddup? Alice here! Eat greens with yo bagels and keep rollin’, let’s see about today’s review! It’s Project: Love + Cafe by Moonwriter’s Tale!
Coffee and Cigarettes and Hotdogs and Rice and Chicken
So right off the bat, Love + Cafe isn’t really a game. It’s more of a visual short story.
Like, there’s no gameplay to speak of. It’s just people talkin’, and you readin’. The story is made up of five vignettes, where two people talk about stuff.
Also there’s no robots, no dinosaurs, no knights with magic swords, no lasers, and no flying castles. It’s just a bunch of young Spanish adults talkin’ about their heartbreaks.
I think they’re Spanish, anyway?
And altho I said “just” I don’t mean to knock Love + Cafe. In fact I kinda love it. Or, well, there’s a caveat, so mebbe it’s more like I wanna love it, but I don’t, yet.
So yeah the “love” part of the title is that errybody talks about their heartbreaks, like I said, and the “cafe” part of the title… means that… there’s a cafe?
Like, there are food things, but it’s not a strong theme. Just something that ties errything up a bit better? But eh, it’s kinda weak.
Overall, I get the feeling the game kinda wants to be Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes? Anyway, not there yet, but you get the idea.
A Dose of Copyediting, Stat
So let’s get the weak part of the game out first. The script is pretty messy.
How messy? So messy that some of the vignettes were pretty much incomprehensible. As in, I couldn’t understand what the characters were talking about.
I get that the team is translating their original script, or just isn’t very skilled in English, so I don’t grudge them for it. Just, if you’re allergic to poor grammar, ESCAPE NOW.
I mean, I’m pretty laid back ’bout grammers and spellynge, but this script? Is messy.
Also, EVERYBODY in dis game? For some reason they have black hair and white skin. GAME, STOP, YOU BEIN’ CREEPY.
Lunge, Parry, Riposte
Ok, the part I love about this game? Dialogue style, baby!
Like, yo average dialogue in an RPG goes summat like dis:
NOBLE: Bandits have taken my daughter hostage!
HERO: Sir, we’ll take care of it. Where did they go?
NOBLE: They were seen riding toward the dark forest! Hurry! I’m mortally afraid for my daughter’s well-being!
HERO: We’ll set out at once!
ALICE: (clicking frantically, hoping the crud ends soon)
Y’know? P A P E R T H I N.
The dialogue in Love + Cafe tho? For all its messiness, it kinda feels real.
Like, these people are obviously young adults so they’re kinda annoying, but the things they do? They joke, they tease, they cry, they interrupt each other, they get small-minded and say mean things, they let things slip, they retract their words, they apologise, they fly off the handle, they make assumptions, hell, THEY DO A TON OF STUFF REAL PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY TALK
It’s not smooth either, like, they’re not trading banter (which can be really contrived sometimes). They say dumb stuff too, they trip up too, they’re rough and stupid and clingy and weak, too.
And I’m not sayin’ it’s all ‘cuz the writer meant it to be, it can be due to weakness in the script, but it makes stuff feel real.
Also, there are reversals and other cool stuff. Like, who’s dominating the talk suddenly changes, or they start chattin’ innocently and suddenly BAM “so what about your sister” and the talk turns blue as a bruise.
It’s just ahfghgafhdgaf like, I can’t phrase it well, y’know? PEOPLE ARE MESSY CREATURES. AND I LOVE IT WHEN THEIR TALK REFLECTS THAT.
Bla Bla Bla
Ok so, high praise, amiright?
Like I said tho, the script is messy and it’s not all shining diamonds. At times I wuz just clickin’ like, “Oh God, make it stop already.” But on the whole it’s super duper promising.
So should you play it? Imma say yea, if you like real dialogue from real world. If you gotta have demon magicians and sword-masters, skip.
Also if you a grammor nizza, skip.
Check out the game on Itch.io here!