Caffeine: Victoria’s Legacy is a visual novel adventure, written by Kikai Digital. It saw an early access release on steam, before fully releasing in March 2020. It was then ported to console by Ratalaika Games in September 2022.
*Disclaimer: A code was given by the publisher for the purpose of this review. But that does not affect the review at all, as my thoughts are mine and mine alone.
When Taka’s father dies and he gets a mysterious note about his mother, he decides to go to the land of Victoria to piece together his broken memories, and figure out why his family broke apart in the first place. While on the plane, he’s given coffee by a mysterious person, the plane blows open, and before Taka knows it, he’s falling through the air and ends up in the mysterious steampunk land of Victoria, where coffee rules all!
Unfortunately for Taka, while in Victoria, he can’t take all the time he wants to find his mother and solve the puzzle. Instead he takes on a job at the coffee house named after him, and during all this, he also needs to take a barista test to help save the coffee house, lest it be shut down forever and he be thrown in jail. The weird thing about Victoria is that being a barista is the peak job. You are lauded after, everyone loves you, because you can not only brew the perfect cup of coffee, but you have such talent that you can bring out all the flavours that are found in the beans themselves.
While baristas have this talent, it also lends to the other weird thing about the world. The power of caffeine not only rejuvenates your body, but also allows you to perform magical powers, aptly known as “Caffeine”. But not everyone can do it! Only people known as “Cuppers'” can, but they divide themselves from the filthy peasants who only drink coffee to feel alive! This magic power is usually used to keep yourself in power, or fight people in “caffeine duels”. It was the weirdest yet most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen. The game puts such an emphasis on coffee, and the flavours that it brings, that I wish I loved coffee this much. It even dives into where beans are grown, how they get different kinds, why some are so sought after. All I know is that if you don’t drink your coffee black, you’re a heathen!
During your journey, you get to romance four separate ladies, them being Eliza, Mel, Alice, and Oceane, Oceane being my absolute favourite. Luckily if you want to see the true ending, you get to experience all of them and get to decide for yourself who is the best! The writing in the game has some of the best balance I think I’ve ever seen in a visual novel. One second here I am, laughing my head off because the writing is silly and quirky. It may make a poop joke, or a sex joke, or one many coffee puns, which were so bad, they were good. Then next thing you know, the game takes a left turn and you’re crying your face off. I can’t tell you how many times this happened. It really helped that when the scenes got intense, most of the characters got voiced dialogue to really help push the emotional hit, even more.
It was nice that the game would sometimes try to stick a joke into these moments to lighten the mood, but then it went right back to being sad. Every emotion is perfectly described or written. It sometimes goes into so much detail about the most random events, but this made the emotions of the scene even more powerful, and there were plenty of scenes where the feelings weren’t diminished. With how large the game was, I expected the dialogue to eventually wear thin now and again, but it never did. It was all perfectly paced, and depending on the ending you would get, you would see how Taka moved on from his initial goals, and pursued a new life. The true ending unfortunately ends with a specific character though, that I won’t exactly spoil, but if you didn’t like her for one reason or another, you have no choice but to be with her. But all the characters are so amazing, I’d be surprised if you hated anyone!
The one thing I was really curious about was how every revelation would be tied together in the true ending, or if anything would be mentioned. But when the big twist happened, I was left sort of surprised, yet at the same time, the game hints at how it was all possible. The one downside to the game, and this was a big one for me, was that the game had no flow chart. When you have a visual novel this large, with about a dozen endings, give the reader something to look at so they know how they’re doing. It was such a pain to keep track of every route all by myself. Thankfully I had the trophies on PlayStation to sort of help guide me, but there were some endings that I wasn’t sure tied into what route. So that took a lot of trial and error itself.
I did run into one really bad bug where my save files started to randomly corrupt on their own. If I loaded them, I’d be back at the start of the game. If I saved over them, they’d just go corrupt again. With 24 possible spots, I lost about 12, and in visual novels, you usually end up saving, A LOT, so you can try different routes and make sure you’re not reading through the game again to hit a specific branching section. Luckily it can be fixed with time and patches.
- Amazing Characters
- Unique World
- Perfectly Paced
- No Flowchart
This visual novel is one of the most perfect reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Not only is the dialogue extremely well written and goes into detail in the most perfect ways, it plays with all of your emotions, like you’re nothing but a doll. The only thing that stops it from being ABSOLUTELY PERFECT is that there’s no flow chart, as I said. If there was, it would meet that mark. Read this story!