I don’t understand why Papers, Please didn’t begin a flood of games in which you learn about a world through the performance of an odd job within it. I don’t want to be a hero, I want to be a cobbler carving wooden shoes in medieval Europe, and a museum tour guide in a rich fantasy world. I also very much want to be a cyberpunk bartender, which is what VA-11 Hall-A is offering when it releases for PC, Mac and Linux on June 21st. The game’s final trailer is below.
VA-11 Hall-A, whose punctuation I already resent having to type, is skirting with genres I don’t care about: anime-styled visual novels. But those games bore me for being linear and relatively uninteractive, whereas Vallhalla (yes) branches its storyline based on your decisions, and your decisions are over what drinks to make for the customers that drift into your bar. “Get to know your clients, their tastes, and prepare the drink that will change their lives,” says the blurb.
The game has been in development for a few years and in that time the team have released a demo and a soundtrack. It was on those strengths that we chose it as one of the best games at EGX Rezzed 2016.
I went on a cyberpunk bender at the end of last year after reading Neuromancer for the first time and bartender is definitely the position I’d want to inhabit within that world, much more so than a hacker or assassin. If I was playing a Cowboy Bebop game, I’d want to be Jet in the kitchen more than Spike on the mission. Spaceship Chef Action.
[Disclosure: sometime RPS writer Cassandra Khaw has worked for the publishers of this game.]