Review Visual Novel

Bistro Days – Demo Review | An Appetizer

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” is a quote by Virginia Woolf, a British writer born in the 19th century, and I am using it to whet our appetite! Today we are covering the demo for Bistro Days, an upcoming game developed by Drunk Bunny Games and the Kikai Digital studio for Windows and Mac.

Fine cuisine and love often seem to blend in a tasteful mix in media, ranging from movies to videogames. Bistro Days intends to focus on the development of relationships in the work environment of the bistro. As usual in visual novels, it’s often about the antics that sprout from it. 

Does it satisfy a curiosity for the full course or does it leave a bad taste on the mouth? Let’s find out.

The story, with some coffee on the side

Bistro Days follow our main character, who can be either a boy or girl and have any name you desire but let’s go with our boy Yuki for this one. Yuki is an aspiring food critic in Wisteria City, with a growing Instasnap profile of about 33 followers. It’s a humble start that almost immediately goes down the drain thanks to accidentally clicking a link on an obvious bot profile who tried to add him, corrupting his profile and erasing it with no chance of recovering. Past that error in his life, Yuki decides to get some fresh air and start over on his dream as a foodie. 

He walks through town until he finds a talking raccoon, unfortunately just a person in a costume, that introduces him to the Bellflower Bistro. Inside, he is mesmerized by how cozy and family-friendly the bistro feels. Despite the array of desserts on the menu, he finds the sweetest thing in the location – Lily, a pink-haired waitress who brightens up his day after the failure with Instasnap. Refreshed, Yuki has enough energy to deal with having dinner at his mother’s house along with his brother Cypress. This is despite the pressure their mom puts on him thanks to his brother’s perfect life and wife, while Yuki is following a “dumb dream” and doesn’t have a real job. 

After leaving the mess that was the family reunion, Yuki goes back to the Bellflower Bistro and meets the two other main girls: The manager Rose, who is strict and teases people but is a kind and responsible person. She’s well suited to deal with a bistro with only three members of the crew to attend to customers. He also meets Iris, a tsundere-like girl who is a bit of a nerd but has an overactive imagination and a talent for drawing, being the one who draws the menu board. The demo ends here, with our main character meeting all the main girls and finishing his order for the day. I wish there was more to the demo to hook me in further, but I felt it was a bit too short.

Menu of Characters

The characters in Bistro Days seem like interesting people to know about, but I can’t say I got attached to any of them as it is just a taste for what’s to come. Cypress is the “perfect sibling” made to be hated by everyone so he fits his job well and I do hope that we get to see him fail just to have the final laugh. I did also enjoy the male and female options for the main characters as that helps broaden the audience without losing in any aspect.

Lily is super adorable and I have a weakness for pink-haired girls so that’s perfectly aimed at my heart in terms of love at first sight. Rose seems like the mature but teasing type and that’s always fun for comedic purposes. She could develop into a great character if further depth is given to how things came to be before Yuki was around. Finally, Iris seems to be the type of tsundere that doesn’t leave people begging they didn’t exist, especially thanks to having other characteristics aside from it. Overall, a vanilla but enjoyable cast to start things off.

Bistro Days - Pink

The few CGs in the demo were also pretty good, with one of them being the good old panty shot as per the norm for anime tropes but if it is well done. I am not complaining. Characters also have good character designs and models, but the zooming out or flipping as characters move was a bit unusual at first. It’s nothing that impacts the experience though. 

I do wanna comment on the self-voicing feature. I definitely feel like it’s not something I’ve personally seen before but it definitely needs working on before it becomes pleasant to use, as of now I wouldn’t recommend it. I know that my fellow visual novel reviewer has commented on these before in some of the original English language visual novels he has reviewed.

The menus are also well made, with character art in every option, so that’s good and I do appreciate having a message from Iris when leaving the game. That’s the odd detail bonus point I want to give this time around. Also, being able to rewind to the last text or even choice is a blessing and I want to give a pat on the back to whoever chose to implement it.

Bistro Days - Bleh

Tentative Verdict

Overall, Bistro Days has a very short demo, but it wasn’t a bad experience. I do wanna check out the main game simply because I want to see what happens in the rest of the game with the girls and the relationship between the main character and their family going forward. That said, I definitely understand those who don’t get hooked – this short taste was nothing amazing. But much like a menu in a restaurant, you gotta pick new dishes once in a while to try out new experiences, you never know right?

Platforms: PC
Kickstarter Link

If you would like to see more visual novels, you may be interested in our review of Under One Wing. 

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