Ever tried a new drink with a strange name, filled with ingredients you’ve never heard of? Were you pleasantly surprised with your first taste, and find yourself slowly smiling as you start to feel a warm glow?
VA-11 HALL-A is like that.
If cyberpunk waifu bartending in a dystopian anime future isn’t an exotic cocktail for a game, I don’t know what is.
VA-11 HALL-A is set in a dystopian future, in a city ruled by corporations, nanomachines infect all citizen’s bodies and corrupt laws are enforced by the terrifying White Knights. The city reminds me of Bladerunner, or the old anime Bubblegum Crisis. Despite this dark backdrop, the game’s tone is lighthearted, with maybe just an edge of cynical sarcasm.
You play as a bartender in a small bar designated VA-11 Hall-A, or called Valhalla by the locals. Like any bartender, you hear all kinds of crazy stories, but in this game, that’s bumped up a notch. For example, the week before you started, there was a Corgi dog convention in town. Drunk Corgis in tuxedos everywhere.
The game presented in a retro 16-bit style, and in terms of game play, it’s closest to a visual novel. Instead of multiple dialogue choices (although there are a few), how you make drinks for your customers will affect your story. Your clients won’t aways exactly know what they want, and you can either choose from your recipe book or experiment with the ingredients to concoct a drink they will love or hate. You also control how strong the drinks are, which will definitely affect your client’s behavior later. Your bar patrons interact with each other and share stories, so if you get RoboKangaroo Bob drunk and he misses work the next day, it will affect your reputation.
The Prologue is finished for the game, and you can purchase it here for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Purchasing the Prologue will help the 3 person team in Venezuela finish the game, and you will receive a full copy of the game when it is released.
A Vita port is also planned. As always, you can hear more about this and other games on the Plug and Play podcast.