Visual Novel Review: Midnight's Cafe

7/01/2016

otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe

In the 17th arrondissement of Paris, not far from the Monceau Park, a weird café lights up the street. A few streets from there, another light is on, on the third floor of a building. Although it's becoming real late, Evelyn is too depressed to fall asleep. To change her mood she decides to take a stroll in her neighbourhood. What will happen when she pushes the door of the small, weird café, a few streets afar?

GAME INFO

Name: Midnight's Cafe
Release Date: January 9, 2016
Developer: Didules
Genre: Urban-fantasy, Friendship

STORY

This visual novel is all about a girl named Evelyn who's bored and wants to change her life, so she goes out at night around her city. She sees a cafe, called Cafe de Midnight. She’s confused, because apparently, cafes aren’t supposed to be open at midnight. 

Ha! She should probably check out the cafes near my uni. A lot of them are open until after midnight, and I know one which is open 24/7. My own favorite cafe doesn't close until 12:00AM, too. :)))

Anyway, the cafe Evelyn stumbles into isn’t just any cafe, though. Turns out that it’s actually a cafe for non-humans, and only those who have links inside can find it. But if that's the case, then how in the world did Evelyn end up in this part of town?

CHARACTERS

Characterization is pretty good! We have the usual stereotypes here, but they are done so well it’s quite entertaining.

  • Murmur

otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe
Hard to take him seriously when his name is Murmur though. I'd totally name my cat Murmur.
The so-called Duke of Hell, who, surprisingly, can be quite a crybaby. Murmur seems more like an pure little cherub than a hellspawn, to be honest. He tends to be innocent and pure to the point that he doesn't want to talk about "those stuff".”  He worries really easily and cries just as easily too. I think his child-like personality is totally adoable. However, his ending. Freakin. Hurts. It hurt me so much that I could almost physically feel the pain. Emotional players beware.

  • Asmodee

otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe
Ha! I know someone like this in real life.
Prince of Hell, Demon of Lust. And he's definitely lusty, alright. He flirted with Evelyn the moment he first saw her, which I thought was a turn off, but after I got used to him, he didn't seem so bad anymore. I was pretty at the way he cheated Murmur and Evelyn just to keep winning in their little game. Oh boy. I hate cheaters. But anyway, personality-wise, Asmodee's a pretty cool guy. He also seems to care a lot for Murmur, even though he can be such a big bully at times. In one part, where Murmur was starting to cry because Evelyn said they weren’t scary at all, Asmodee said, “That’s okay, you don’t have to be scary. I will be scary for both of us.” (or something along those lines.) Awwww. <3 I actually got Asmodee on my first playthrough. Which sucks, because I was trying to go for Murmur. But… hehe Asmodee’s route had a pretty nice, if not a little sad and curious, ending.

WRITING

The writing started out pretty awkward. I’m not sure why or how. It just kinda feels that way to me. The mismatched tenses and the narrator's preference of using “had had” “I’d” and “would have” sort of got on my nerves, I think. I swear, those words were used so much in the beginning that I was wondering if I was just gonna get a flashback of the events or something. Let’s discuss the use of past tense for a moment, shall we. I absolutely suck at using past tense in my own writing, though my present tense isn’t any better. Hahaha. Still, sometimes, past tense can be a little bit awkward to read. 
otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe
Something here doesn't feel right, but I can't put my finger on it.
Take a look at this screenshot here. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it feels really awkward because everything is supposed to be happening in the present and yet the descriptions are written in the past. There are also quite a few glaring grammar errors, though I also noticed some minor typos like uncapitalized names, etc.

ART

I'm not such a huge fan of the sprite art style. The coloring, upon further inspection, seems pretty good, though the style itself is simply not my taste. Call me biased against non-shiny, non-professional-looking art, but... that's not it. Hahahaha, no, really, that's not it. This is just my personal preference. :))))

The backgrounds are all original as well. While I think they look too rigid (straight lines, solid blocks) and simple, they do suit the sprites and even the story itself. I don't know about you guys, but I think the coloring really shouts "Midnight's Cafe!" to me, which is a plus. Hahaha.
otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe
THIS. THIS EXACTLY.
Oh, and there are also a couple of CGs for the ending scenes in the game.

MUSIC

I am personally not a fan of the music. Even the opening theme managed to surprise me because I simply wasn't expecting that. Background soundtracks sound a lot better if they match the scenes they're placed in, I think. Midnight's Cafe kinda falls in the regard. I actually muted the music at some point in Asmodee's route in order to prevent the murder of the atmosphere, which is the exact opposite of what background tracks are for.


GUI

It's customized to some extent, I think. Though it does look like your regular Ren'Py GUI.

BONUS

There's a French translation! Weeee. That means we can use this to brush up on those French skills, mesdames et messieurs ! Haha, as a language nut, translations such as this are a real bonus for me.

WRAP-UP

otometwist visual novel review midnight's cafe
Actually, I have two reasons why I tried out this game, and both are quite shallow. HAHAHA. One, I love coffee and I usually spend my free time hanging out in cafes. Aren't they the perfect place for like everything? Hanging out with friends, meeting new people, reading books, studying for exams, and even writing blog posts! That's why, when I saw the word "cafe" in the title, I just knew that I had to check it out! And two, there's a secret project I'm working on at the moment, and the title is quite similar. =) I wanted to see if the plots are similar as well, (so I can change accordingly) and I'm glad to see that they're not. Hooray!

That said, I'm glad I tried this out. I really enjoyed playing Midnight's Cafe, even though I have to admit that I have a lot of gripes with this visual novel. However, I am desperate for a good ending, especially Murmur’s! I got four different endings, but none are happy. This game better has a happy ending... or else!

I give Midnight's Cafe seven strawberries. Not bad, but it could still be better! I may have a lot of gripes with it, but it was quite an enjoyable ride, and in the end, that's what's important, isn't it?

DOWNLOAD

You can download this game here.

Original date of writing: 04/24/16

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