Like many booths at PAX West, Chorus Worldwide has a fun variety of games to try out at PAX West this year. Two in particular stood out to me as games any narrative-loving gamer should have on their radar. Only have time to try out one or two things? Here’s what I recommend from the Chorus Worldwide booth!
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly (Toge Productions)
Cozy, visual novel, puzzle
Coffee Talk 2 should be pretty familiar to any fans of the already well-known Coffee Talk. While the second episode is a sequel of sorts, it’s not a direct sequel – meaning that you can play it and understand what’s going on even if you haven’t played the first.
Following in the footsteps of games such as VA-11 Hall-A, Coffee Talk 2 puts the player in the role of a coffee shop barista, figuring out how to mix a variety of comfy café drinks for their patrons. Throughout the evening, customers will come looking for shelter, company, or just some good coffee, and interact with both you and each other. The dialogue was a lot of fun and surprisingly realistic – each character has their own personality that comes across as they chat with each other or ask for their drinks.
On top of the gameplay and fun cast, I loved the sound design in this demo, which starts on a stormy night. The music was calm and comfortable – something you could reasonably listen to while unwinding over a hot coffee and Coffee Talk. The sound of the rain was a nice touch as well, and it really felt like hanging out in a café on a rainy night, waiting out the weather.
If you liked Coffee Talk, Coffee Talk 2 should definitely be on your radar. If you haven’t played it yet and like cozy visual novel style games with some light puzzling (primarily figuring out the recipes for each drink and matching them to your customers), or if you’ve enjoyed games such as VA-11 Hall-A, this should also be a good fit.
Not at PAX West this weekend? Don’t worry – there’s a demo for you to try out at home as well!
Paper Ghost Stories: Third Eye Open (Cellar Vault Games)
Horror, drama, choices matter
Ah, the magic of being a child – the mysteries of the world, the stories of the forest… ghosts?! Ting is only five years old, but she already has discovered supernatural powers within herself. Specifically, she’s now friends with a ghost who follows along with her and helps provide her guidance – but is that always a good thing?
The demo picks up on a family outing as Ting’s parents ask her to get her friends so that they can prepare for a barbeque. Naturally, as all nighttime hangouts on the edge of the woods do, the conversation eventually turns to the stories of the forest and what might be out there. And, again naturally, the kids all decide they want to experience a little of the mystery for themselves. After sneaking past the adults, they make their way into the forest, where they find a bit more than they bargained for.
Paper Ghost Stories is looking like a fun time so far, and there were two details that really made the game stand out to me. The first is the aesthetic – Paper Ghost Stories is quite literal, with the graphics inspired by southeast Asian shadow plays. The paper style is quite unique and artistic, adding a touch of whimsy to a genre often steeped in the same types of visuals and textures. The second is the Malaysian dialect, composed of several bits and pieces of other languages, broken English, and local phrases. I can really appreciate the effort the writing team has put into taking a dialect that is local and true to the origin of the game’s stories, and making it understandable for the average English-speaking player. It added a uniqueness to the game, helping it feel like you’re really playing through Malaysian lore and not just a facelift of another country’s stories into your own culture. The result might take a moment to get used to, but it’s worth it.
If you’re not at PAX but this sounds like your type of game, you can check out Paper Ghost Stories: 7PM for a shorter taste of the Paper Ghost Stories experience.