VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

released on Jun 21, 2016

Learn about daily life in a cyberpunk dystopia.

A branching storyline where your decisions do not depend on traditional choices, but through the drinks you prepare.

Visuals inspired by old japanese adventure games for the PC-98, with a modern touch for an other-wordly experience.

A beatiful soundtrack composed entirely by Garoad.

Get to know your clients, their tastes, and prepare the drink that will change their lives.

Reviews View More

despite how fucked up we and the world can be, we move on, sometimes painfully, but such is inevitable.
putting out something pretty minimal without whole ton of thought, mainly piecing together shit i wrote on discord
i really enjoyed the subtext about capitalism and societal influence, also how theres no real resolution. it’s an outlet for its creators to express, it doesnt try and convince you there’s something wrong with this futuristic dystopia where basically everyone is fucked up and corporate corruption overwhelms, it simply just manifests. whether it’s “good” or “bad” is simply up to the player’s interpretation. i found myself in this morally gray area, seeing the overarching corrupt madness that influences everyone’s moods as a bit depressing yet motivational for some. this is how their world is and despite how it operates, people move forward. acceptance of the circumstances has sank in and acceptance of others also in the process, everyone is in the same boat. dogs, machines, talking brains; you name it. all in mutual understanding of one another.
i think some of the more sexual content can be pretty uncomfortable but it’s only very prevalent in one character and part of it does help build upon how shitty the world is, sexual desires overcome in the face of hopelessness.
characters are all super cool and i had been expecting the story to be more grandiose but i’m glad it wasnt in the end. a short but sweet small outlook into a much larger world we still don’t have a complete grasp on, but ultimately thats okay and not even its citizens fully have a grasp on it. lots of neat writing and exchanges that both satisfy with being fun and contributing to the overall ideas. it’s quirky in its own way. a fun and cozy time where you can forget and just be with these tragic yet lovable people. the infamy of the foot-tapping soundtrack also delivered. maintaining that level of intimacy with its audience that resonates. at the end i was kinda like “thats it?” but thinking about it more, va-11 hall-a doesn’t overstay its welcome at all and does exactly what it sets out to do. def one of my most memorable experiences with the genre. i’m a sucker for anything post-modern or cyberpunk related.

A lot of the writing can be precisely carbon-dated to the most cringeworthy period of Millennial posting, but the music, art, and concept stick the landing. After all, most visual novel NPCs aren’t much more than talking heads in the first place – why not go all in and put them on the other side of a bar?

I'm waiting to review this one until after I replay it, but it got me through one of the worst and loneliest times of my life, so it's a favorite for sure.

should i play this again? i got people hating my whole existence over this one game 🦙, its tough being an n'wah with an opinion out here