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Pixel Cafe Review

Pixel Cafe Review

Baltoro Games has you channelling your inner barista when you take on the role of Pixel in this Pixel Cafe, a visual novel with arcade elements blended with a cosy game title. When Pixel was young, she ran away from her home in the small town she was living in to live with her grandparents in Karstok. This emotional story has you viewing moments from Pixel’s past and her day-to-day life in the present. She shows how her memories of her grandparents have changed and shaped her life through her relationships with co-workers and other people she interacts with. Pixel’s grandmother has just passed away, and the house that she lived in has now been passed on to her.

PixelCafe memories

Pixel Cafe recommends using a controller for this game. Even though this is a chill and cosy game, you will be required to make quick decisions to keep the customers happy. When you take control, you are playing as Pixel, starting her first day of work at a cafe and being trained by Sandra, who will teach you the basics, like making coffee. Though Java isn’t the only thing being served here, you will also be preparing food like waffles for the hungry customers.

PixelCafe waffletopping

To make coffee, you use LB to start the coffee machine, and once the mug is full, use A to serve it to the right customer. Make sure you don’t overfill the cup because if you do, you will have to throw it in the garbage. They will leave money on the counter that you will pick up using X, as you will want to pick it up before it disappears. The faster you complete the order, the happier the customer will be and the more money you will make.

PixelCafe customer

To serve food, the first thing you need to do is grab a plate. At the beginning of the game, the only thing you have to serve is waffles. As you progress, you will get different toppings, like jam, cheese, ham, and tomatoes, to top each waffle. Each customer will have their own custom order, so be sure to pay attention to what they have asked for, if it’s wrong, you will have to throw it into the garbage, having money taken off of your pay. When the workday is done, you will be presented with a screen that shows the revenue, time taken, tips you received, combo bonus, how many customers were seen, and how much waste you had. If you think you can do better, rechallenge the shift, or you can go to the next day.

PixelCafe results

You will follow Pixel as she works at 10 completely different bars. However the skills that you learn from the beginning will stick with you as you progress. At first, this may seem like a chill and relaxing game, but as you improve and get further in the game, new recipes and tools like soda machines will be introduced to you that you will need to create. As more options are provided to the people ordering, the more crazy combinations you will have to create to make them happy. Just like in real life, people get irritated and angry when they don’t get their coffee!

PixelCafe map

The trickier part is that you have multiple counters that you will need to switch between to serve the people lined up in each spot. This gets incredibly hectic, and it’s super easy to leave a mug or glass on the machines to the point where it overflows and will need to be tossed. Customers don’t want to stand and wait for ridiculously long amounts of time, so if you aren’t quick, they will get angry and leave. If you are a sucker for punishment, there are 50 optional Nightmare levels that you can challenge. These are amazingly difficult and make you feel like you are drunk or hungover as you are trying to complete the orders coming in by making the screen blurry and wavy, adding a whole new level of difficulty.

PixelCafe calendar

When Pixel isn’t working, she goes back home, and instead of relaxing, she is busy redecorating and updating the house's furniture and posters to make it feel more like her own and to increase her pride. Each item you update from the desk to the computer and the wardrobe will earn you a different amount of smiley faces, and these will be spent upgrading Pixel’s skills. There are a variety of things that will make your time at work easier, like Dish Preparation, Drink Preparation, and Trash Cost (which costs you less money if you have to throw stuff away). Each of these has five slots available to level them up to improve your abilities.

PixelCafe upgrades

Pixel Cafe has a great retro pixel aesthetic, which you probably expected from the game title. The food and drinks that you make while working look how you expect pixelated food to look, with lots of details and bright colours; they actually look appetising! When characters are talking, they aren’t just static pictures; their hair is moving, their facial expressions are changing, and events are occurring in the background, like lights blinking or cars driving. In some of the bars, there are even bands performing, giving the game a unique soundtrack that conveys a variety of emotions. Each location only has one song, but you don’t spend a huge amount of time at one location, so it doesn’t get repetitive.

PixelCafe owner

Pixel Cafe is a great “cosy” game, though at times, it feels like it’s too action-packed to be considered a relaxing and laid-back title. To keep all the customers happy, you will need to have fast reaction times to ensure you get the orders right and completed in a timely manner. The introduction of new machines and recipes is done at a reasonable rate so that you don’t get overwhelmed trying to learn too many new things at once, reminding me of games like Overcooked. I always thought I would like to work in a coffee shop, but after experiencing this in the game, I think I’ll just stick with Pixel Cafe. At least I get to level my character up myself by upgrading elements of my home — wish it worked that way in real life!

8.00/10 8

Pixel Cafe (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

Pixel Cafe is a heartwarming game that will not only challenge you but also feels rewarding. With a great pixel look and soundtrack, this is a fun title to check out!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

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