Lo, many moons ago I encountered VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action in the wild and was intrigued by a game that mixed narrative and…well…mixing drinks. The retro-inspired game from Sukeban Games and Ysbryd Games originally hit the gaming world back in 2016 and has accumulated “Overwhelmingly Positive” reviews on Steam.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game on PC and the unique game mechanics (which were mimicked, somewhat, in The Red Strings Club, which I’m working through at the moment). The game also was fantastically inclusive, portraying LGBTQ+ community members, sex workers and other members of society equally well.
those new to the game, it is a narrative game from the perspective of Jill, a bartender at a struggling chain bar. As the nights wear on, multiple characters arrive and give some of their background, comment on current events in the city, and evolve one way or another. What you serve also influences gameplay, making it somewhat of a choose-your-own adventure style game.
The only “gameplay” is creating from a set list of drinks as requested, or implied, by the characters (yes, there is beer). This is where the Switch version took some getting used to, but once I got the hang of it, I could mix a drink just as capably as I could using my mouse and keyboard.
The game lends itself well to a small screen, with the text still being very readable and the drink making interface still easy to use. The tactile aids available on the Switch also added a nice element that just isn’t available on PC.
My verdict is in, and VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action for Switch is a worthy addition to your Switch library and highly recommended.
(Brewelist received a key for the game to review)