Cafe video games have a moment, and I love every moment of it. Over the past couple of years, there’s definitely been a leap in cafe games from indie developers: we’ve seen everything from Pokémon baristas, a cafe brawler, and a visual novel marrying necromancy and cafe. Until early 2020, I didn’t even know there were video games centered around cafe culture. When I found out that Animal Crossing players were hosting their own cafes, it opened my eyes to this kind of glorious game. Now I’m addicted.
Now, 2022 is set to be the best year ever for cafe video games. From cat cafe builders to a coffee horror game (I never thought I’d see those two things together), there’s a caffeinated title for everyone on this list. Let’s explore!
First reported by Sprudge’s Zac Cadwalader, Espresso Tycoon is almost ready to release, and fans are buzzing with anticipation! This is the game you’ll want to play if you’ve ever had the passing thought of running a cafe. Tycoon-style business simulation games have been around since early 70s gamers, but this time gamers will have the ability to customize and run their own cafe exactly the way they want.
Espresso Tycoon from DreamWay Games ups the ante by leaving all the decisions in your hands. This isn’t your typical cafe game where you add furniture and a menu and then watch your profits increase. This puts you in the driver’s seat. Where will your cafe be located? Are you going to serve just lattes or add a full program? How much should things cost? Who should you hire? And how are you going to conduct a public relations campaign? There is even an option to collaborate with influencers.
Coffee lovers will appreciate the number of choices you have when serving drinks. Espresso Tycoon is about coffee, after all. You can choose the origin of the beans, the acidity and even the design of the latte art which can be created with the “3D coffee editor”.
This game is not for the faint hearted. Every decision you make will affect the success of your store. Either you emerge victorious or you collapse.
Add Espresso Tycoon to your Steam Wishlist or request a test play from the developers. The demo is “coming soon”.
Cat cafe manager
For a lighter and cuter experience, Cat Cafe Manager is a new fast-paced business simulator set to release in 2022. We’re no strangers to cat cafe games around these parts, but unlike Cafe Simulator From last year’s popular cat, Calico, Cat Cafe Manager is more operationally focused, emphasizing your customer service and feline friendships. As one regular put it, “cats and coffee? That’s synergy, baybee! Indeed, it is.
The game feels very familiar and gives me Diner Dash vibes. Luckily, there’s more to it than just running tables. You’ll be in charge of cafe operations and petting rescue cats, lots and lots of cats. From humble beginnings, as a cafe manager, you’re responsible for renovating the space to become the locals’ favorite cafe, without you having to worry about competition (unlike Espresso Tycoon) .
Add stylish furniture, expand new menu items, and build a relationship with regulars to uncover secrets and freebies. There is also a feline deity to watch out for. Looks like Cat Cafe Manager isn’t just about running a cafe, after all.
Currently, developers Perch gamesresolve “drop points” as mentioned in their dev diary and fix any bugs they find.
Wishlist Cat Cafe Manager on Steam.
Changing gears a bit, Pekoe is for our tea lovers. If you’re looking for a more relaxing and comfortable gaming experience, Pekoe focuses on the joy of brewing the perfect cup of tea. And of course there are cats. (I sense a theme.)
As the developers, aptly named Kitten Cup Studios, put it, “Pekoe is a cute cat-filled tea party simulation game about taking time for self-care and connecting with the things that make you happy. ” Sold.
There’s no need to run frantically: Pekoe is for those who love the intentionality of brewing a delicious cup of tea. As the new owner of the teahouse, you’ll learn the ins and outs of harvesting, brewing, and serving various teas. And unique in this capacity, you will learn and perform tea ceremonies and rituals.
So far, there has yet to be a game that I have come across that teaches you about the actual coffee, or in this case, the tea tree. With a focus on the overall experience, you’ll have the chance to learn about different types of teas and peak harvest times. Your goal is to build your recipe book and brew the townspeople with their favorite drinks. Like other simulation titles, you will eventually be able to upgrade and customize your teahouse for an even better experience.
Scheduled to release in 2022, you can list Pekoe on Steam.
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly
Sprudge readers will already recognize this title. Coffee Talk is back and ready for more in Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly. This visual novel/latte art game is a direct sequel to the first, which is set in an alternate fantasy Seattle in the year 2023.
Based on a demo published during Toge Productions’ Anniversary Sale (Jan 17-19), Episode 2 is very similar to the first Coffee Talk game released in 2020. The gameplay is quite simple and easy to live with in terms of role playing. If you’re an IRL barista, this will look pretty familiar, just pixelated.
As stated in the title, the developers have added new tea options to the lineup, especially Hibiscus and Buttery Pea. Your customers are curious enough to try them, but it might take a few times to get the recipe and pour it. Luckily, you can keep experimenting if your rosetta looks a little funky the first few times. Other than that, not too much has changed. You’re still the same barista in the same cafe, chatting with regulars and new faces while serving up a dose of caffeine and respite.
Wishlist Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly on Steam.
The closing team
If you haven’t already noticed, cafe games are usually cuter or try to make the game as realistic as possible. So when Closing Shift, a new immersive Japanese horror game, appeared on Steam, I had to see more.
I’m not going to lie, I’m not one to like horror. I avoid the genre at all costs, but in the name of journalism, this game was too good to pass up. We’ve covered serving coffee to the dead. So it was fair to mention a horror game on this list.
Closing Shift is a first-person walking simulator where you play as a barista on the last shift at a cafe. The sibling duo behind the game, known as Chilla’s arthas been releasing horror games since 2018. They haven’t released a trailer yet, but the cafe screenshots see sinister. The visual landscape is reminiscent of old Japanese horror movies, think Ringu (The Ring), so very grungy. If Closing Shift is anything like its predecessors, expect plenty of alerts.
Apparently “the game is going to drive you crazy” – was it the espresso machine or did the door just open?
Wishlist Closing Shift on Steam if you dare.
Brianna Fox-Priest is a freelance journalist in Oklahoma City, covering coffee and video games, and co-host of Bits & Pixels. Read more Brianna Fox-Priest on Sprudge.