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VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action for Switch Review

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.

 

Yes, even mysterious women that are part cat.
Yes, even mysterious cyborg women that are part cat.

 

 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.

Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, PC, macOS, Linux
Price: $14.99
Studio: Sukeban Games
Publisher: Ysbryd Games

(Brewelist received a key for the game to review)

Stone Brewing's Xocoveza Charred is our day 11 pick for a beer you must try.

Brewelist Advent Calendar – Stone Brewing Xocoveza Charred

You know the holidays are coming when Stone Brewing puts out Xocoveza, a beer that is inspired by Mexican hot chocolate and is a glorious blend of chocolate, chili and other flavors that culminate in a strong dark beer with a little boozy flavor.

Xocoveza Charred takes that flavor to another level – the base beer is aged in barrels for a period of time, which lends a really nice smoky flavor to the beer. It also mellows things out a little bit.

This one is kind of a specialty/luxury pick as it’s not easy to get. I got lucky and found a bottle at a local grocer. I’m not sure if Stone released some this year after aging it for two years, or if someone misplaced a case back in 2016 and recently found it. Either way, I’m happy for the find and my husband and I enjoyed it a lot.

No, I won’t tell you where because I need to get another bottle or two to share with friends. A normal Xocoveza is still a lovely seasonal experience and is readily available wherever Stone Brewing’s beers are sold.

Style: Mocha Stout
Color: Coal Black with Light Brown Bubbles
ABV: 9.6%
Availability: Limited (i.e. good luck finding it)