To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Zipp's Cafe Review: A gritty tale with unusual beverages

Zipp's Cafe Review: A gritty tale with unusual beverages

Coffee is so much more than a drink, it's a way of life in this town

After playing Coffee Talk, I felt certain there wouldn’t be another coffee brewing game that came close to holding my attention so intently. But as Slack pinged in the background, my work colleagues trying desperately to get my attention, I realised that Zipp’s Cafe had managed to do just that.

It isn’t a fast-paced game, although it acts as a prelude to a game that will have a certain intensity to it that’s far removed from the cosy noir vibes of Zipp’s Cafe; Chicken Police: Into the Hive will be an enhanced experience with Zipp’s Cafe under your belt. However, you don’t need to play the upcoming action noir to appreciate just how first-class a trip to Zipp’s is.

Curious about Zipp's world? Then watch the Zipp's Cafe launch trailer!

Although it’s designed as a prequel, this Steam title is a brilliant standalone experience that anyone who’s drawn to the dangers of the seedy underworld will surely enjoy. Not to mention it has some intriguing beverages to introduce you to, and while they likely wouldn’t be delicious for humans, the whimsical characters of this noir can’t get enough of Zipp’s creations. If I’m totally honest, neither can I, though purely from a creative point of view.

This isn’t hours of investment but rather a short but sweet dose of drama, betrayal, intrigue, and mystery, all coming together to create a lasting impact that lingers like fragrant coffee in the air. That being said, you might find yourself losing time to perfecting the art of coffee making, as some of the recipes Zipp has you complete aren’t as easy as they seem; they require a quick hand and well-timed mixing. Still, while some force you to put in the extra effort, to see a five-star rating for your beverage is irrationally euphoric.

Behind Zipp’s counter is the kitchen area where you will prepare the drinks and dishes your customers order. It’s a cluttered affair, but that clutter adds to the cosy vibes that exude from it. Hand drawn-style imagery makes it feel like you’ve dived head first into a Studio Ghibli film, only this story has more claws than you’d ever experience in those worlds.

The Wild Gentlemen

The instructions are laid out simply for you, with the recipes you use available with a click of a button whenever you need a quick refresher. My only real gripe with the recipes is that you can’t pin them on screen; it’s a quality-of-life detail that would make using the right ingredients much easier to manage. But it’s only a minor inconvenience not to have that option.

Another missing feature that would create a more seamless experience is not having to separately click to take someone’s order after speaking to them, though I feel this is more personal preference than an issue with the game’s design. For me, having to re-click the character you’re talking with to take their order, after them saying they know what they want, felt disjointed and ultimately took me out of the immersive atmosphere, albeit temporarily.

The Wild Gentlemen

I also found myself longing for more control over the story – I wanted to be more than a passive bystander in terms of narrative development, I wanted to be able to make choices that changed the course of the game. Again though, this is a personal gripe, one that arguably stems from how invested I became in the characters. If nothing else, my frustration is a testament to the story the developers weaved in such a short period of time.

When it comes down to it, Zipp’s Cafe delivers a lot for such a small game, and does it with an artistic flair we know and love the developers for. However, being so short is the game’s undoing, for it cries out to be explored further than the handful of days you’re given playing as Zipp.

My hope is that The Wild Gentlemen return to the game after seeing all of its success, either through DLC or simply creating it into a full, feature-length title. What started out as a simple prequel has grown into something bigger, something that can hold its own away from the eccentric personalities of the Chicken Police’s Marty and Sonny.

Pros: Stunning aesthetic, cosy atmosphere, and a story that grips you from beginning to end

Cons: Not enough impact on narrative development, fiddly controls unsuited to precise beverage making, and a game that’s just too short

For Fans Of: Coffee Talk, Dave the Diver, Chicken Police: Paint it RED!

7/10: Very Good

Zipp’s Cafe is available on Steam. Review code provided by the publisher. Read a guide to our review scores here.

Featured Image Credit: The Wild Gentlemen

Topics: Steam, Valve