Sukeban Games recently announced a follow-up to their 2016 cyberpunk bartender simulation/visual novel, VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. A playable demo of the new game with the equally as impenetrable title, Cyberpunk Bartender Action N1RV Ann-A ~Trouble in False Paradise~, was on display at Tokyo Game Show 2018. We got our hands on it to give you our first impressions.
Just a heads up, this is an alpha build of the PC version. The game isn’t scheduled for full release until 2020, so there are still a lot of details that haven’t been revealed yet.
From the short demo on hand, one thing is abundantly clear: designer Christopher Ortiz and his team at Sukeban Games still have a knack for writing unique and interesting characters. The first patron you meet is a girl who creates erotic manga. She goes into full detail about some of the scenarios that she dreams up. Let’s just say, the game certainly hasn’t lost any of its edge.
Just from this early stage, it appears that players will need to pay even more attention during dialogue to figure out what drinks customers will prefer.
The gameplay sticks fairly close to that of its predecessor. You talk to patrons, get clues on what kinds of drinks they like, mix those drinks, and see the reactions. One of the most affecting parts of the first game was the overall atmosphere. It’s hard to judge things based on the short time we had with this build of the game, but it seems that the same slow-burn mood is present in this sequel as well.
Making drinks now involves real ingredients with all the mixers and alcohol lined up on sets of shelves. There are new flourishes added as well, such as lime slices, and a mechanic where you need to shake the mouse to actually mix the drink.
The soundtrack is still top notch based on what was heard, a relaxing selection of nostalgic lo-fi beats. Anyone who enjoyed VA-11 Hall-A is going to be pleased with this one. There is no solid release date yet, but the game is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2020 on Steam, Switch, and PS4.