Affogato provides a serene experience and intense thought-provoking gameplay with an enchanting modern story. The latest release published by Spiral Up Games features a reverse tower defense JRPG game that includes a mix of amazing gameplay mechanics and magical lore within a modern setting. Players take on the role of Affogato as they encounter the challenges of managing a café, while also fulfilling their duties as a Sorceress. With many quirks and characters, battle and brew as you’re thrown into a captivating story set in the city of Arorua.
Affogato is the latest indie Role-playing game that features strategic reverse tower defense gameplay. The game developed by Befun Studio offers players the chance to experience running a coffee barista, while also engaging in card-based combat as you send characters to navigate tower defense levels protected by demons. The players take on the role of Affogato as she opens her new café in the city of Arorua. The game has already been nominated for awards including a 2022 indiePlay Nova Prize and a BIG Festival Innovation Finalist.
Affogato Mashes A Card-Based JRPG with Bewitching Urban Adventure
The game focuses on the role of the protagonist that is both a business owner and sorceress, with her life throwing obstacles in every direction. The gameplay includes mechanics from RPG titles but also merges strategy and simulation-style quirks. The story features Affogato as she becomes the new owner of a café in Arorua, with contracted Archdemon Mephista. However, a cluster of occurrences is soon placed upon the player as Affogato encounters customers affected by inner demons.
Booming Gameplay Experience
The whole game is like a potion concocted from games that people have come to love. The RPG aspect of the game allows players to choose what to do with their time, which adds stats or even unlocks new side missions. The reverse tower defense combat is a fantastic twist that makes Affogato stand out so much as it makes a player focus on how to play characters. The best feature was the tranquillity of making coffee for customers as there are tons of choices in this simple piece of the game.
At first, there is a lot to get your mind around in terms of the elements that comprise the game. However, it was easy to figure out the flow of events as the player goes from combat to casual interactions outside the Café. There was a lot of variety in the game that gave Affogato similar vibes to titles such as the Persona series but still retains originality. The game also allows players to make dialogue choices as the protagonist and beautifully teased future events by experiencing an upcoming boss fight.
Combat With the Correct Cards and Right Paths
The Reverse Tower Defence aspect of the game was very thought-provoking straight away as even ‘Normal’ mode provided a challenge. With the first 3 cards, it was easy to be defeated but also great that a player had to think tactically about how to play their characters. Penta was needed to summon characters from the cards in your hand, but it was great it could be earned by defeating demons or collecting cards on the field. Leveling characters was also another essence of the game that seemed a bit complicated at the start.
There were tricks to completing each level, but the hardest part was making sure you used the Penta correctly to gain more. Restarting often happened when it was unclear, but once a plan was figured out, the order of use made sense. Along with different classes like healer or tank, it was great that you could recall a character to replenish them until needed again. Although with only 1 attacker, the action could make you restart if you forgot about the Penta you need to bring them back.
Characters, Stories, and Wonderous Possibilities
The quirky nature of the characters is the first feature that draws in any new player, with an anime aesthetic that captures the heart. This is instantly caused by the dynamic between Affogato and Mephista as they navigate through the challenges facing the Café and the duties brought on by being a sorcerer.
It was great seeing their dynamic as Mephista puts on a strong front about being all-powerful. Humor was a delightful addition to scenes such as Affogato’s objection to her magenta hair being labeled as red, and big-talking Mephista seeking a switch in the dark but managing to hit everything en route. These starting moments brought out light-hearted joy to the game, with darker tones taking place as you progress.
The bond gameplay feature was a terrific way to create moments between characters, including meeting new allies or potential clients to save. Creating the right coffee was a pleasant experience to develop these bonds but it was rewarding to uncover hidden quests and challenges to pit your tactical wits against. The overall featured sorcerer and demon lore perfectly bound together all the different gameplay elements, thereby bringing life to the experience.
Quirky Art Style & Intense locations
It was a surprise to see the level of exploration as the 2D art style naturally allows the player to move around the city and Café as a 3D play space. The Chibi-like style for the characters flowed perfectly between the tower defense gameplay and roaming the street as Affogato. Although always nighttime, the aesthetic for the city was visually stunning and created a picturesque profile that defined the vibe of locations. A fitting example of this is the street where the café was located, as it encourages both relaxation and exploration.
Much like the city, the locations featured in various tower defense fights also applied individual aesthetics that were wonderful to interact with. The boss fights changed the feeling of these locations simply by employing more dramatic surroundings. The whole path is also kept in sight for the scene, but the general movement and character animations did not seem to fit the severity of the event. A path circulating the giant boss would have been difficult to achieve in the game but would have presented a better aesthetic for the tension and intensity of the boss-fight combat.
Overall Take on Magic/Modern Adventure
The best aspect of the game is that with all these quirky gameplay elements, the game rewards you the longer you dive into the story. It was also great to see the amount of choice in JRPG and explore the city to seek out hidden missions. The highlights of the game are brewing coffee and the reverse tower defense combat, as they synchronize perfectly with Affogato’s split life and overall story. Although boss fights could have used more visual gravitas, the quirks in every part of the game provided a charming experience that pulled you into events.
For providing a delightful JRPG experience with quirky combat and character interactions, I give Affogato a total score of 8 out of 10.
Affogato will be available on PC via Steam, with the release date set for August 16, 2023. This will be the full game including all features for the JRPG Reverse Tower Defence game.
Release Date: 17 August 2023
Publisher: Spiral Up Games
Developer: Befun Studio
Platforms: Steam® (PC)
Rating: 16 (PEGI)
What do you think about Affogato? Do you like the quirky mix of gameplay featured for the Sorceress and Café owner? Will you be experiencing Affogato’s story with the game now released? Let us know on social media and keep following The Illuminerdi for more reviews.