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    Affogato Review – A Delightful Brew of Anime and RPGs

    For coffee lovers, anime watchers, and RPG fans!

    Spiral Up Games and Befun Studio’s Affogato is one of the most surprising indie titles of 2023, becoming a “jack of all trades” RPG in a sense. Affogato provides a blend of different elements that come together to deliver an enticing and satisfying experience, just like the coffee players can brew for their in-game customers. Additionally, the new Persona-inspired RPG presents an engrossing gameplay loop through its familiar time-management system and unique “reverse tower defense” mechanics.

    As a coffee lover and avid anime watcher, my curiosity was truly piqued for Affogato, and the game doesn’t disappoint. Affogato lets players run a café, brew delicious cups of coffee, forge bonds with intriguing customers, and battle supernatural forces. While learning about the game’s vivid cast of characters, players can enjoy an incredible Japanese dub, colorful and masterfully drawn artwork, and a diverse soundtrack that makes Affogato feel like an authentic anime or visual novel production. 

    Affogato – A Witch’s First Cup of Brew

    Affogato stars a titular protagonist that runs a café in the middle of Arorua City, a bustling metropolis seemingly inspired by Tokyo and New York City. The protagonist is accompanied Mephista, an archdemon summoned to aid the witch in her daily life. Affogato’s story begins with a flash-forward scene where the protagonist’s friend, Aoi, is seemingly possessed by a demon. Before facing Aoi, players must first complete a tutorial level as Mephista explains the game’s mechanics. After completing the first level and facing the first boss, the game goes back in time to the beginning of the month.

    Affogato and Mephista may be seen making her way into the city after a lengthy car ride. Mephista appears to be heavily car sick, but the two don’t waste too much time before heading to their newly rented downtown café: Witchery. Dave, a psychiatrist and local landlord, gives Affogato the keys to the café after receiving rent for the month. He gives Affogato the simple goal of raising enough money to continue business in Arorua. The main story of Affogato really opens up from here as the Witch Barista attempts to grow her business and gain some loyal patrons. 

    The Witch and Barista Life

    In Affogato, players run the Witchery café by progressing the main story, defeating people’s inner demons, and brewing delicious cups of coffee. Affogato naturally receives requests due to her prowess as a witch, and her longtime friend Sera will give her plenty to do throughout the main story. Funnily enough, a lot of necessary funds for rent may be amassed outside of the actual café job. The Witchery café lets Affogato build closer relationships with her customers through dialogue and a brewing mini-game. In the mini-game, players must correctly prepare the customer’s order to earn affection. Fortunately, a list of coffee recipes and materials is available at all times, so the mini-game is quick and simple. 

    Affogato includes a Social Link-like system for forging relationships with the game’s characters. After meeting characters like Natalie, Lindsay, and Cesar for the first time, Affogato may talk to them in Arorua City and deepen their relationship further. Sometimes, stats like Beauty and Courage must be increased to a certain level to advance the relationship. As expected, time will pass if the player decides to listen and talk to the character. Running the café, completing battles or requests, advancing the main story, and talking to patrons are the key components of Affogato’s life management system. The Persona similarities are quite obvious in some regards, but Affogato manages to be stand out with its visual novel-like presentation.

    Power of Arcana

    The protagonist uses Tarot cards to summon magical warriors into battle. For instance, using the Strength card summons an offensive unit, and using the Chariot card summons a defensive unit. These units will move forward in a map’s routes, and players may control the direction they head in by rotating pads found throughout the map. In short, players are in control of the path that Affogato’s units take while they defeat demons on the map. Some maps may include hidden items, treasures, and additional challenges, so it’s wise to go into a map with a wealth of cards to choose from. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to strengthen Affogato’s witch abilities and deck. In fact, some cards may be acquired through combat only with unique effects such as the “Switch World” and “Silence” cards.

    Players may earn more cards by progressing the main story and browsing Mephista’s card shop at night. The Archdemon’s selection of cards grows over the course of playthrough, so it’s worth revisiting every other night. New cards may be obtained completing levels or by spending Memories in Mephista’s shop. Cards may be upgraded with Soul Shards, which are acquired at the end of a battle. I recommend leveling up the Strength and Chariot cards first in order to complete some of the game’s bonus challenges. In addition, each Tarot card has its own special ability and role that will aid Affogato in defeat demons and freeing possessed people from their plight.

    Experiencing Affogato on PC  

    I had a great time with Affogato on Steam thanks to its wide range of supported controller and monitors. Affogato has really cozy visuals with chibi character designs in the overworld, and the full character designs and CGs really stand out with its eye-catching colors. The beautifully illustrated CGs make the game feel like a high-quality anime production, especially while playing on a 1440p IPS screen. Many of these scenes are filled with spoilers, so I won’t be showing those here, however. Once more, I believe the Japanese voice acting in this game is stellar. 

    On the other hand, it’s clear that Affogato still needs key adjustments in order to bring the best possible experience. Some of the control mapping for Affogato feels off or just doesn’t work in a few areas of the game. For example, scrolling through messages and news on Affogato’s phone doesn’t work on controllers. It’s a minor area of the game, but the in-game news pieces helps players decide how to go about their day as Affogato. Additionally, Affogato has some performance issues in densely packed maps, including game freezing and slowdown. I didn’t experience any hard crashes, but these issues can impact the experience profoundly while trying to decide the ideal route for Affogato’s troops to head in.

    Affogato is a Compelling Title for Anime and RPG Fans

    Affogato provides 30 unique levels through the main story alongside and hours of engaging, humorous dialogue. The game’s stellar voice cast and beautifully drawn CGs will appeal to visual novel players, while the life-management system feels right at home for Persona fans. The combat system is simplistic, but it’s satisfying to play as I strengthen my deck and fight some of the game’s unique bosses. Additionally, the miscellaneous timed challenges are also really fun to play through to earn points and redeem additional rewards.

    Finally, Spiral Up Games and Befun Studio’s Affogato caters heavily to anime and RPG fans who want a familiar experience with some new twists. This title has the potential to be one of 2023’s sleeper hits in the busy indie space, so Steam players should definitely check Affogato out on August 17. The controller issues need to be fixed, but I believe Affogato will truly thrive on Steam. A release on Nintendo Switch or PS5 would be even better, though!

    Disclaimer: Spiral Up Games and Befun Studio provided Final Weapon with a Steam key of Affogato for review purposes.

    SUMMARY

    Affogato combines elements of visual novels, popular Japanese RPGs, and anime to create a compelling title. The beautifully drawn illustrations and superb Japanese voice cast make Affogato feel like a high-quality anime or visual novel production. Affogato's Persona-inspired life management systems also allow players to dive deeper into the game's colorful cast of characters as well.
    Soul Kiwami
    Soul Kiwami
    Raul Ochoa, a.k.a. Soul Kiwami, is the Managing Editor of Final Weapon and a Games Writer at Game Rant with four years of writing and editing experience. Raul is passionate about the Japanese gaming industry, and he's a huge fan of Nintendo Switch, PC hardware, JRPGs, and fighting games. business email: [email protected] | Muck Rack: https://muckrack.com/raul-landaverde-1

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    Affogato combines elements of visual novels, popular Japanese RPGs, and anime to create a compelling title. The beautifully drawn illustrations and superb Japanese voice cast make Affogato feel like a high-quality anime or visual novel production. Affogato's Persona-inspired life management systems also allow players to dive deeper into the game's colorful cast of characters as well.Affogato Review - A Delightful Brew of Anime and RPGs