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Tavern Talk takes us on a thirst-quenching quest

Take a moment and take respite with our Tavern Talk preview, a fantasy-themed visual novel coming to Switch, brimming with delectable stories and characters.

Tavern Talk preview: two fantasy characters stood in a bar with slime on their clothing

“Greetings, traveler! What can I get for you?” is what I ask as you walk into my inn, nestled in the land of Asteria. Welcome to Tavern Talk, a cozy fantasy game where you take on the quest of serving drinks to patrons as an innkeeper.

It’s a visual novel-turned-talking simulator akin to the Coffee Talk series, and reminiscent of Travis Baldree’s recent book Legends and Lattes, which I highly recommend if you’re into fantasy settings and wholesome vibes – just like Tavern Talk.

Your days consist of mixing whimsical drinks behind the bar and serving them to eager patrons including rangers, vampires, hands for hire, and more. The ingredients at your disposal aren’t your usual milks or sodas, no, they’re the five key stats – dexterity, strength, intelligence, charisma, and defense.

Each customer requests either a specific drink, or their preferred stat, and you can then consult your ledger to see which recipe matches their needs. Next, you mix up the different potions and lotions into a drink and send it through the magical void so it appears in front of the thirsty revelers.

A notebook in Tavern Talk filled with scraps of paper detailing new quest items

Don’t worry about remembering all the ins and outs of how much defense goes into a cup of Frosted Lagoon, it’s all written down, and you can write the recipe on a chalkboard to follow instead of eyeballing measurements. If you do happen to pour too much dexterity where you need intelligence, you can discard your drink by feeding it to a friendly purple monster called Andu. He lives behind the bar and is very sweet.

Naturally, your prowess for crafting drinks flows across the land, and more potential customers flock to your inn’s doors to get a drink that benefits their stats ahead of their travels.

As you sling drinks to more and more customers, you get to know them and pick up some interesting tidbits about potential enemies in the area, or things that need solving by passers-by eager for a quest. These are your rumors. In your notebook, you can combine three rumors to form a quest, which hangs out on your tavern’s pin board. Anyone visiting can pick it up and complete it.

Tavern Talk preview: a character dressed in green sat at a bar during the day time

Those who enter your tavern and take the quest will require a drink from you – be sure to make the right one or their fate may take a turn for the worse. Providing you give them the right beverage, they complete the quest and bring a story back to you, along with new rumors.

The preview build I played showed me a glimpse into the game where fun and vibrant characters await, such as the gruff wolf Caerlin (Caer or Lin for short) who you win over with your excellent beverages, or the dark and mysterious Zephir who only appears at night.

The art style of Tavern Talk fits the theme amazingly, making use of what the developer describes as ‘clutter core’ to decorate the space with plants, creatures, potion bottles, and more. There’s a delightfully tinkly soundtrack featuring some classic medieval lute playing to immerse you in the fantasy setting too, you’ll be pleased to hear.

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I did play this preview on PC, and it ran beautifully – the game doesn’t seem too demanding so I feel like it’ll look great on Switch. The only concern I have is mixing drinks using the Switch’s controls may get a little fiddly, though I can’t see it being too much of an issue.

Tavern Talk smashed through its Kickstarter goals which means that the game is coming to Nintendo Switch in 2024, and I think it’ll be a delightful addition to the console’s library. It’s a perfect game to play while cozying up and looking for some relaxation, as it’s a very chill time with no combat, puzzles, or confusing mechanics. That said, if you’re not a fan of visual novels or reading long conversations between characters, take heed of this game’s type before you spend your coin.

I’m very excited to see where this game goes and to have it on Switch soon so I can nestle into an armchair and play it with ease. With such a strong start, I think we can expect great things from Tavern Talk.

If you need something to while away your time ahead of Tavern Talk’s release, then check out the best visual novels on Switch and some of the best mobile games going right now.