VA-11 HALL-A is a rare title, and it’s out! Finally! I’ve been reading about it for a while now, and I was kindly sent a copy to check out. It reminds me a great deal of stuff like Bubblegum Crisis, Dirty Pair, and a variety of 90s anime/PC games. There is a pretty frustrating problem with being able to screenshot while in fullscreen, which frustrates me! So that means I had to browse the web for screenshots. But we have to ask ourselves: WHAT IS VA-11 HALL-A? Well, in Norse culture, when a man dies, if he was worthy, the Valkyries take you to Vallhalla, where you fight and drink for eternity. Sounds kind of awesome? However, instead, you’re a bartender in a cyberpunk dystopian style setting.
The art and music are definitely 80s inspired, but there are lots of little things, very poignant references to other anime and pop culture moments. My personal favorite was one of the girls in the game, their nickname is “The Red Comet”, which is Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam. That made me smile. Lots of adorable Shiba Inu puppies, some of them in pretty rad sunglasses, and those who wind up at the bar need a drink. It’s up to you to craft the perfect drink for them, sometimes making it a little bigger, maybe aging or blending it. You don’t always know exactly what drink they want though; sometimes they want a style of drink and you have to figure it out. Maybe they want something manly, but not cold, or heavily alcoholic but also sweet and girly. Paying attention to the drinks you can create is terribly important.
Your goal is to get your rent paid, go shopping, and generally live your life. It’s an adorable game, and as you ply people with drinks, they can wind up telling you some amazing, interesting, or even horrific stories about their lives and experiences. I do feel like sometimes there is a bit too much dialogue, but I enjoyed reading it anyway. It’s a pleasant visual novel with challenging and fun drinks to make. The descriptions of the drinks are cute too. I do find that setting up the jukebox provides another challenge. You don’t want to have the same types and same songs every night after all! VA-L11 HALL-A is definitely a title to look out for on Steam. Maybe there will be a video on Bottom Tier? Who knows! All I know for sure is that this game is delightful, and if you are a nostalgia junkie like me? It’s a must-have. It’s got everything I need. Ridiculous character, references to Kamen Rider, interesting short stories for these girls and guys that wind up at the bar. I’m telling you, you need to take a look at VA-11 HALL-A!