My Cup Of Coffee: The Trouble With Earl Grey – You Can Connect The Secrets

My Cup of Coffee: The Trouble with Earl Grey is a visual novel that takes place in a very imaginative turn-of-the-century coffee shop presumably somewhere within Victorian society. You play as a family apprentice of the coffee trade and you more or less are plonked right into days as a barista. The story revolves around a casual plot involving a group of customers known as the Grey family. Using clues from casual conversation, you are tasked to unravel the feeling of tension between Mrs. Grey and Mr. Grey and their maid as well.

My Cup of Coffee: In Context

It is definitely always my intention these days to explore these solo dev projects with a tone of casualness and positivity. The dev, Dreamgate, obviously has thought this game through and offered a polished project, which is pretty cool for a VN on Itch.IO! Pretty cool in general. I noticed in the credits that this game was made with Ren’Py, a traditional visual novel creation software. Well done! I’ve wanted to create my own VN for quite a while now and invested in some software on the Steam summer sale. I must play these games to understand what’s involved and frankly, it’s amazing what is possible.

There are around 8 ways I think for the game to end, meaning choice matters!

Gameplay in My Cup of Coffee

This is a traditional visual novel. You enter the scene, some backstory is given, a person enters, and you converse. As you converse with one person, then two, and so on, the story unravels. I like these because they’re really easy and give me a lot of room to focus on minutia within the story. Lady and Earl Grey, the married couple in the plot’s focus, are obviously named after types of tea.

Their maid, Maria Darjeeling a reference to Darjeeling tea as well. It’s a nice tongue-in-cheek joke about tea and coffee. (I hope the game creator/developer doesn’t mind me overanalyzing this swiftly progressed game!) Their costumes are bright and bouncy for a very light atmosphere. There is no real sinister motive from anything I saw, but the story does seem to put emphasis on a locket that Mr. Grey took from Mrs. Grey. I’ll leave that up to you to figure out, but my money is on the maid, Maria Darjeeling.

As a former barista, and literally drinking a cup of coffee as I played this, I’ve learned to enjoy coffee-themed games. Whether you are a fan or not, does not matter particularly, but I love that in one section you can choose whether to engage in a conversation or clean your machine. You’ve got to keep those things neat!

The Vignette

It’s a really simple game that’s nice to look at. If you’re looking for something casual to play a few sessions with, this is my pick at the moment. Luckily plenty of content for a regular-sized review. 16 oz or so, I’d say, although a demitasse would be fine. You can of course donate to the developer if you enjoy it and want to support their work.

So with that, there you have it. My Cup of Coffee. I want to thank you so much for reading Creating new content on a regular basis now, so please check back! I cover a lot of visual novels if that is definitely your thing, but all kinds of indie games and other topics as well. In the meantime, ‘za out!

P.S. I JUST found out that I can embed a link to Itch.IO games now, so be sure to check that out just below here!

Balloon o Mania – I Probably Didn’t Need to Explain This

I have been attempting to perfect my gentleman speak for like over a decade now. It’s a lost cause. What I do know, however, is that I am a video game blogger and not Lord Alfred Tennyson. I’ll do my best not to too scuff your wingtips, Oxfords, Mary Janes, Pumas, Jordans, or other fancy footwear.

Have you ever watched Antiques Road Show? Edify yourself, it’s on PBS and started in Britain. Lots of family heirlooms are showcased in what’s always some bustling convention of glazed eyes. Spectating bystanders stare directly into the cameras catching them in the background. Visually, they think “Hey, I might be on TV.”

Every once in a while, somebody has some vintage poster or whatever that has fantastic sepia Victoriana artwork. Whether it’s an invitation to a circus opening or a public service campaign for public display of drunkenness and lewdness.

It’s very exciting for me to see these kinds of things because my hodgepodge DNA hasn’t set any roots for me anywhere in particular besides grand old stories of yesteryear, by Ken Burns.

Balloon O Mania: Brilliant!

Remember that commercial? Classic.

So, Balloon O Mania is a Z train fast production schedule game that is up on Itch.IO. (Go here if you want to know what Itch.IO is.) The game is a Victorian-style game with a theme of racing in a hot-air balloon, dealing with obstacles along the way. You use W to go up, S to go down, and click to puncture rival balloonist rides or to repair holes they have made in yours.

There are a few tokens to fly through which alter your gameplay. One is an anchor that you can use to descend quickly, and there is also a kind of booster lifeline that will make you go faster.

The combat is quite fun when you can manage it. Just like real hot-air balloon navigation, the controls are totally insane and unpredictable. I watched a video about recreational balloon racing, and the pilots talked about having virtually no control aside from going up or down.

Way Off Topic Storytime

One time, when I was a kid, I was out at a pond near where I lived and a hot air balloon landed smack dab on the parking lot of the park, which I guess was no big deal a the time, but it’s been absolute ages since I’ve even seen a hot air balloon. I still have that memory though.

As an additional anecdote, my grandmother once was walking down a street with friends and a balloon landed behind them with no quick way to stop and they had to run for their lives to not be squashed by the balloon. It’s kind of scary, but man, do I love that story. Haha.

“Better Luck Next Time”

Obviously, I’m not talking about the game, sorry. Within the design of Balloon o Mania, everything in the game with the highest decorative fashion, and I totally commend them for it. I am not totally sure where they found the stock art for all of this but, public domain maybe? There is some excellent Monty Python humor injected into this game. The game over is issued by a massive bloke’s belly.

Also, I rushed into describing my own impressions, but I feel I’ve given this one a leg up in the world, so I hope you liked it. The game page on Itch.IO shows that there are actually all sorts of controls with which to compete with your rival balloonist; like using that aforementioned anchor to switch places with them. There are also wind lanes to speed up and slow down, which are illustrated on the download page.

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Here is a link to Balloon O Mania on Itch.IO: