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a game by Sukeban Games
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Simulator Games, Anime Games, Visual Novel, Manga Games, Dystopian Games

It's not often heard that people enjoy being a bartender. But wait, what if we added some cyberpunk flair and fast-paced game mechanics into the mix? Surely that will make the traditionally trivial profession more interesting? Whether it does or not, VA-11 HALL-A is going to give a damn good try to make bartending in the cyberpunk era as entertaining as possible.

So how does a bartending game even work? Is it even possible to convert the physical mechanics of the job into immersive gameplay? If you consider all the bizarre simulator games out there that have obtained a cultish following - anything is possible. So we're definitely going to have to satisfy our curiosities and see how this VA-11 HALL-A pans out.

Keep My Tab Open

What's initially surprising about VA-11 HALL-A is the game takes the direction of a visual novel, incorporating the basic drink-making mechanics with a heavy storyline. There isn't anything challenging about gameplay - you receive orders, and you make them as well as you can. The better the drinks, the more money you get.

However, making the quality of your drinks has a direct impact on the narrative. Might I say this aspect is actually quite compelling? Without giving the story away, VA-11 HALL-A comes littered with intriguing character development and storytelling through patron interactions, notes on computers, and the lore of the setting - Glitch City.

Where usually cyberpunk-themed games are very flash in their visuals, VA-11 HALL-A takes a more minimalist approach. The pixelated art style isn't going to stun anyone but nicely works in tandem with the themes and nodes of gameplay. It highlights that everything in this game is pretty elementary, but the narrative-rich content makes it quite an experience.

Understandably, players may look for some diversity in mechanics to get a thrill from their gameplay. VA-11 HALL-A is not that type of game and subsequently will not appeal to everyone. It's a more life-simulator-esque game where you build a story and simply enjoy the world around you. There are plenty of players who will adore this kind of journey.

A Bartender's Story

Arguably, VA-11 HALL-A is one of those indie games that's done right. Most base their gameplay on the concept of minimalism. However, many falter due to a lack of immersion from those elementary mechanics. VA-11 HALL-A sets the groundwork for a flourishing narrative and engaging gameplay through rich world development.


The last time such style of the game struck a chord with me was Papers, Please. It omitted to focus on visuals to enrich the basic mechanics and build a storyline that got players well-immersed into the setting. VA-11 HALL-A does the exact same thing. If you can overcome the idea that gameplay is more relaxed, there's a fantastic journey that awaits.


  • The rich world-building that keeps players wanting more
  • Well-designed mechanics that have an impact on every aspect of gameplay
  • Taking the concept of minimalism to no plateaus


  • Mechanics are simplistic and won't appeal to everyone
  • Visuals are nothing special

Download VA-11 HALL-A


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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PC Screenshots

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