Tavern Talk is a new entry in the cozy game genre that allows players to run a virtual tavern where they don’t only focus strictly on the drink-serving aspect but act as a quest giver to the patrons they serve. The game’s setting takes you straight into the Medieval era with fantasy mixed in. You’ll be serving drinks to Elves, Werewolves, and more. But is there more to this tavern than meets the eye? Let’s find out in our Tavern Talk preview.
You take the role of innkeeper, who runs a small tavern, and similar to Coffee Talk, you have customers who come in and engage with you in conversation.
Where the aforementioned game talked about the patrons and their daily struggles, Tavern Talk leverages that and adds in the ability to hear and piece together rumors to turn into quests and give to select Patrons of the establishment.
You will hear whispers of the undead, werewolves, and other mythical beasts and will be tasked with giving the quest to the person that best fits the job.
As the innkeeper you are the middleman between serving drinks, listening to rumors, turning them into quests, and giving them out to your patrons to solve.
The drinks you make for them can equally determine their fate and this is a fun aspect of the game that I found intriguing.
Throughout the story you will meet various characters from different races and each of them has a unique storyline and personality that helps with the immersion of the world and its setting.
The majority of the game focuses on mixing drinks, and this is where I had the most confusion. The learning curve for mixing drinks was a bit unclear and I needed help from friends to figure out how to make the tutorial drink. This was already a bad sign.
Where Coffee Talk was a lot more generous and helped you mix drinks for your first few days, Tavern Talk has a steeper learning curve and the drink mixing only gets progressively harder as early as the day after the tutorial.
You get 5 different bottles affecting the level of dexterity, charisma, strength, intelligence, and defense in the drink. You have to listen carefully to the drink order and match the character sheet as closely as you can to the one in your journal, and you can also put it on the board to help with the visual to see if you are close. When you succeed, the bell will glow.
A Quest-ionable Tavern
When you aren’t mixing drinks you have access to the rumor board. This is where your patrons add their input and can help piece together a quest for a potential patron who is best suited for the job.
Once you have a patron brave enough to take on the quest, you have to prepare them a drink that makes them ready.
If you are a fan of RPGs, you will be well familiar with the character sheet, and this is where you have to mix the drinks that the customer asks for.
Unlike Coffee Talk, you will not be able to serve the drink until the drink order is met, so while this is a positive aspect of the game it also is the most annoying part as you will spend a lot of time doing a lot of trial and error tinkering with drinks and making the right combination your patron is looking for.
The presentation is bright, colorful, and has a good visual style to it. It’s similar to other games in the genre where you have a standard innkeeper’s perspective from behind the bar, and you will engage with patrons from various races to hear their stories and figure out what they are looking for from you. Whether it’s a simple request or preparing themselves to take on a quest given by you.
The music suits the atmosphere, with a melodic lute playing in the background to really deliver the medieval setting of the game.
The tune is very relaxing to work to and helped with the trial and error of figuring out the drink mixing process.
In my Tavern Talk preview session, I found it to be a fun entry to the cozy games genre, but its focus on ramping up the difficulty of drinks relatively early also makes it a very niche game.
On the day after the tutorial, the drink combinations became very tricky and it took a lot of trial and error to progress past that point. This can be a problem for casual gamers who might jump in thinking this was a fun and relaxing game.
The setting, characters, lore, and presentation are all fantastic and put fans of RPGs into what could be a comfort game tailored to them.
However, the mixology behind the drinks can sometimes feel overwhelming if you are not an ardent fan of the genre and just get by the story with trial and error of mixing drinks.
This preview is based on the PC version of Tavern Talk. The key was provided by Future Friends Games.