Mix Drinks For Cyberpunk Dogs: Valhalla

YOU'RE DRUNK, SIR WAFFLES.

Who cares about future-dogs? Call of Duty: Ghosts mind-controls its dog, Westwood’s Blade Runner game blew its up, and Dog of Dracula, well, just look how he turned out. Is life so grim for all future-dogs? Not if you’re any good at cyberpunk bartending game VA-11 HALL-A (or Valhalla, because that’s just awful). Sukeban Games have released a prologue chapter of their tend ’em up for pre-orderers, which has you mixing drinks for a load of adorable talking corgis. They run their own dog toy company and have hired your bar for a private party, see.

Valhalla’s part visual novel, part mix ’em up. Folks (or dogs) roll up to the bar and you have a bit of a chat, then ask you for a drink. These are mixed from five ingredients, in varying proportions, and prepared and served in various ways. Mixing’s mostly clicking the right buttons and a little timing, a simplified version of a cooking game. Pleasingly, drinks are your dialogue options. You can’t choose what you say, but you can shape conversations by mixing different beverages–something alcoholic for the designated driver, something to calm down an over-excited corgi–or simply cocking it up. But this is tricky, and getting enough orders wrong ends the game.

It’ll tell you a drink’s ingredients but not how to mix it, leading to frustrating trial-and-error or inexplicable failure. When it suggests alternative drinks for characters, it won’t even tell you the ingredients. My character might have all this knowledge, but I certainly don’t.

But the writing is jolly pleasant. It’s fun to chat with drunk dogs and their humanoid helpers. Some of Valhalla’s politics, channelled through the corgis’ prejudices, can feel a mite heavy-handed, mind.

Pre-orders are $4.99 (£3) on Itch.io, giving instant access to the prologue chapter. The full game is expected in December. Sukeban Games are switching engine from Ren’Py to Game Maker for the full thing. Our Bargain Bucketeer Cassandra did some sort of work on this game, I should say. I don’t know what. I don’t know what everyone’s up to. Who do you think I am, their bartender?

12 Comments

  1. Gog Magog says:

    An outlaw journalist and his two filthy assistants walk into a bar filled with talking dogs…

    • Knorth says:

      Holy hell, I would buy this game like 3 times if that ever happened in it.

    • colw00t says:

      Magical Truthsaying Bastard Spidey would have hated a bar full of talking dogs.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    Their webpage is a little less inviting if you mentally replace “Prologue” with “demo”.

  3. GameCat says:

    Westwood’s Blade Runner game blew its up
    These dogs were probably bomb dogs.

  4. Ejia says:

    Reminds me of that bit in one of the Professor Layton games where you had to serve the correct blend of tea to random strangers. Because that is what a Proper Gentleman does.

    So I assume if someone is hungover, you can serve them the hair of the dog?

  5. thedosbox says:

    Happy to see this get a bit more publicity, though I agree the name is terrible.

  6. golem09 says:

    I like how the anime artstyle is actually good, most indiegames only manage stuff that looks like it was taken from a third rate fanart contest.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      While I agree that a lot of indie games have less professional looking art styles, it really makes me uncomfortable when people say stuff like this.
      Artists – many artists, at least – pour a whole lot of time, effort and feeling into their work, and if the most constructive thing you can say to them is “it looks like it was taken from a third rate fanart contest” then you obviously don’t register that.
      It’s easy to criticise, I wonder if you could do better?

      • LogicalDash says:

        if the most constructive thing you can say to them is “it looks like it was taken from a third rate fanart contest” then you obviously don’t register that.

        In fact this is not as obvious as you seem to believe. People have strong opinions on things they’re not capable of reproducing all the time, in game reviews for instance.

        Myself, I wouldn’t put it like “third-rate fanart,” but that’s just my sense of propriety.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          Fair enough.
          I might just be too sensitive on this front, but all I know is I’ve never met an actual artist who would phrase it that way – whereas non-artists seem to find it incredibly easy to dismiss the amount of effort people put into art they just don’t personally like.