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Video GameVA-11 Hall-A Review
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Posted: 5 months ago, last updated 3 weeks ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, to use its full name, is a narrative game about a futuristic bar "VA-11's Hall-A", known locally as Valhalla. You serve drinks and talk to customers, to learn their stories and piece together the daily struggle of life in the city where the powerless are kept in check by Nano machines. It's unusual not only for the themes and futuristic setting but the vastly branching plot that is determined by how well you remember (and deliver) customer preferences.

In a dystopian futuristic city ruled by criminals, those without power are kept in line by Nano machines placed inside their bodies to track their movements. For some small respite, many turn to drinking away their sorrows. You play Jill, a bartender, who prepares (real-life) cocktails from a selection of recipes. Depending on how each patron reacts to the drink you make them, you unlock more or less of their story and a different amount of money.

The challenge is deciding which cocktail is best suited to which customer, and whether you have the ingredients and methods you need to make them. Remembering each patron's favourite drink and giving them that, perhaps even instead of what they ordered, can lead to them opening up about their life and struggles in the city. However make a drink incorrectly and you get less money and they won't come back as frequently. Entire sections of the story can be missed by not keeping important clients happy, which removes several of the different endings.

The money you earn from selling drinks is used to buy items that can help you work more productively, and pay rent and bills, but there is never enough money to buy everything, forcing you to choose your priorities which further shapes the unfoldng story.

The result is a game which uses its unusual loop of making drinks, listening to customers, and earning money to enable you to explore the lived implications of poverty, oppression, greed and corruption in a new light, while still providing a humorous and experimental gameplay experience.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 21/06/2016, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4 and Switch

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Communication, Narrative, Puzzle and Simulation

Accessibility: 18 features

Developer: Sukeban Games (@SukebanGames)

 

ListsLists

DurationDuration

Play Time: This game will take between 8 hours and 17 hours to complete. Depending on which ending you get and how much story you receive from each patron, the game length varies greatly. In addition, multiple playthroughs are required to see everything.
 

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 16 for Bad Language and Sex. There is the frequent use of the sexual expletives ‘*!@?*’ and ‘*!@?*’. There is also the recurrent use of words and terminology that are very sexually explicit, in particular relating to sexual intercourse. The words and descriptions greatly transcends innuendo.
Using the correct proportions of ingredients, non-fictional cocktails, such as the Piledriver or Blue Fairy can be created. The barkeeper obtains an advantage realised as money earned, rent paid, and after finishing the game, being able to transfer earned money to new games. The game features scenes of smoking which are presented as a neutral activity.

Skill Rating

9+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. The gameplay is relatively simple, consisting of creating drinks from recipes and buying things with the money you earn. The reason for the high age rating is instead in the mature themes and sexual content.

CostsCosts

VA-11 Hall-A usually costs £10.99 to £12.99.
 

VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

Steam Store PC £10.99
Steam Store Mac £10.99

Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action

PlayStation Store PS4 £12.99
Switch Store Switch £10.99
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

AccessibilityAccessibility

Our VA-11 Hall-A Accessibility Report documents 18 accessibility features:
There are no time limits on any of your actions, so you can take as long as you need. In addition, all the actions you can perform have the corresponding button displayed at all times, meaning there's no need to memorise the controls. These button prompts are given in the same text size as the rest of the text in the game, which is large but not 1/20th the size of the screen. All text throughout the game is of high contrast, but the font(s) used can be hard to read.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We have documented the following aspects of the game in terms of inclusion and representation. Let us know if we missed something.

Gender and Sexuality:

Sexual Orientation Representation: The sexual and romantic orientation of characters you can play in the game.

  • Play as Bi Character: The game’s protagonist is bi (someone who is attracted to two or more genders, sometimes but not always all genders), pan, poly, or omni.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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