PAX Aus 2018: Order up! One tall latte for Necrobarista.

Feature article

Would you like your coffee with toasted scones and a side of Necromancy? If you’re part of the Melbourne based development team Route 59, then the answer is most likely ‘Yes’. Upcoming indie game Necrobarista has been one of my PAX highlights two years in a row, having one of the most unique takes on a game I have played in recent memory. This year, at their PAX Rising booth, Route 59 didn’t fail to impress me with the introduction of a new demo, including a number of changes within the game.

Necrobarista is an intriguing tale that takes place in a  mysterious Melbourne café, whose clientele are little on the dead side of life. Spending the last 24 hours of one’s existence in a quaint inner-city café doesn’t sound half bad, especially if your barista is the curiously intriguing Maddy. Despite not being a professionally trained barista, she’ll whip you up a soul of the damned infused roast that’ll knock you out of this world.

Necrobarista’s latest demo delves more into the relationship between Maddy and her friends and co-workers: Chay Wu, Maddy’s instructor, and Ashley Capek, a 13 year old genius, and stab-happy robotics inventor. All three are seen working towards getting a certain piece of machinery functional, and in the demo we get to see them work together to achieve their goal.

As the story progressed I was encouraged to select certain keywords that would help drive the game’s narrative. Choosing specific highlighted words found in the game’s dialogue determines what kind of experience you’ll have, as each special word has a connection to a specific subject, be it a character or certain topic like “magic” or “Maddy”. This means that the game can be played multiple times, depending on what words are chosen and combined.

What surprised me most when comparing Necrobarista’s development from the year prior, is their updated look for main character Maddy. Last year she was a very austere looking hipster who looked like she’d hex you just for fun. However this time her appearance is softer and could even be described as looking more like a quiet, shy anime girl with glasses. Being an anime fan, I’m definitely digging the new look and can’t wait to see what else the crew at Route 59 come up with. If their Ned Kelly character is anything to go off, I’m sure in for a treat.

Despite the demo being shorter than its 2017 predecessor, due to the more direct nature of the gameplay, I enjoyed the 15 minute play through. It’s managed to keep its eerie presence while improving upon the game’s overall aesthetic.

Route 59 are planning to release Necrobarista in the first half of 2019 on PC, Mac and the Nintendo Switch. For more information regarding both Route 59 Games and Necrobarista follow their official website  and make sure to sign up to their mailing list.