June 21, 2016 10:15 AM | Thomas Faust
Has it really been two years? Well, apparently so. Back then, Gnome was praising the prototype of post-dystopian cyberpunk bartend'em up VA-11 Hall-A and very much anticipating the full game's late 2014 release date. Fast forward almost two whole years, and it's finally out. Was it worth the extra wait? Oh yes, absolutely. As far as I'm concerned, the rest of 2016 can go home now. Game of the year right there, bam. Premature? Maybe so, but VA-11 Hall-A is really pretty amazing.
So what's the big deal here, anyway? The game basically consists of short vignettes. Think Paul Auster's Smoke, only in a cyberpunk dystopia with humanoid robots, futuristic memes, and... well, corgis instead of Harvey Keitel. (Fair trade? You decide!) Playing as the bartender Jill, you listen to your customers talk about their lives, banter with your coworker and your boss, and mix a lot of drinks. There's a bunch of slice of life stuff going on, and a whole lot of world building.
So there's all these kinds of flavors (sweet and bubbly mostly, and occasionally spicy and bitter), but what about the substance, you ask? The game features some truly amazing writing that feels authentic and manages to treat its well-rounded characters as more than means to a narrative end. It's no gripping egde-of-your-seat stuff, but that little dingy bar somewhere in Glitch City feels so much more like an actual (if super-weird) place than most other videogame locations. Oh, and have I mentioned the soundtrack? Lovely stuff, really, just like everything else about VA-11 Hall-A.
We've got an interview with developers Sukeban Games coming soon.
VA-11 Hall-A is available for $14.99 on itch.io and Steam. iOS and Playstation Vita versions will follow later this year. For more information on the game and developer Sukeban Games, you can follow them on Twitter and visit the game's website.