Top Critic Average
I like the idea of Valhalla and some presentation gripes aside, I like its execution. It’s no great revelation but a pleasant surprise, and being a mundane bystander going about their day instead of the plot-critical centre of the universe is an under-explored concept.
When I think about the best visual novels out there - the likes of Steins;Gate and Danganronpa, VA-11 HALL-A shares many of the same traits. It's thoughtfully written, to provide some deeper insights and philosophical musics that help to elevate the game above being simple entertainment... but at the same time it does so in a vibrant and deeply entertaining way. And it is impossible to put down.
VA-11 Hall-A is a funny, thought-provoking, and sometimes tragic work of art, with truly original gameplay and a beautiful aesthetic unlike anything else on the market.
In an ocean of indie titles that eventually blend in with one another, VA-11 HALL-A stands out from the crowd and promises you a comfortable and unbelievably enjoyable experience. Grab a beer, listen to the soundtrack, and enjoy.
VA-11 HALL-A is a brilliant point and drink adventure game with memorable characters, a superb soundtrack, and some of the best writing out there that has found a new home on the Vita.
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, a great addition to the visual novel library on the PlayStation Vita back then, is now a perfect addition to the PlayStation 4 library.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
Endlessly stylish, emotionally gripping and deceptively addictive, VA-11 HALL-A is the pure essence of a visual novel: a digital page-turner filled with unforgettable characters and set in an infectious cyberpunk noir that will live in your head for weeks after you've put the game down.
Overall, I enjoyed VA-11 HALL-A way more than I'd anticipated. It's a visual novel with a lot of heart, a heartwarming and emotional story, and some great aesthetics. It's also super cheap, so the relatively short play-time isn't so bad. I'd recommend giving it a go, even if you're not usually into VNs.
Va-11 Hall-A is one of those games that comes out of nowhere and blindsides you with what it has to say. It beats the hearts and minds of the creators in special ways all while delivering a wonderful stylized world through its unique list of characters. Despite its few shortcomings and hefty reading, Va-11 Hall-A offers up something all its own rarely found in this industry.
Despite having a story that is filled with cybernetically enhanced people trying to cope with their dystopian life that is blurred more than ever due to lifelike artificial intelligence, VA-11 Hall-A is remarkably human in its nature.
When it comes to visual novels, VA-11 Hall-A is king. Never before have I seen such a perfect balance of sharp writing, gorgeous visuals and downright delicious music that also manages to pack in hours of engagement without ever overstaying it's welcome. Furthermore, the combination of drink-mixing action and visual novel storytelling creates an addictive gameplay loop that makes the game even harder to put down once you pick it up. VA-11 Hall-A is a gem of creativity from the most unlikely of places, and I can't wait to see what the team has up their sleeve next.
I loved my time with VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. It’s one of the best visual novels I have played in years and one of the best stories in games this decade. It’s a funny, tragic, stunning adventure unlike anything I’ve played recently.
Va11ha11a is a really odd game. Not because it’s bad, or particularly weird per se, but because I have nothing to really draw a parallel to for comparison. Yes, there are visual novels with gimmicks, but those normally culminate in something, whether it be snagging a girl or unraveling a magical conspiracy by fighting with giant mechs using anthropomorphic books (yes that’s an actual example). Va11ha11a, on the other hand, is perfectly content to just be as it is, which is something I can say is rather novel to find. You aren’t going to find much action here, but the company certainly kept me coming back for more.
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VA-11 HALL-A is so much more than just chatting up clients and making drinks. It's the kind of game that makes you think, and it can be silly, serious, soul-crushing, and light-hearted, all at the same time. Its cyberpunk/anime flair is just the garnish on top of the cocktail.
Thanks to its fantastic storytelling VA-11 Hall-A is a highly engaging experience wrapped in retro aesthetics. Some may argue that its simplified gameplay being subservient to storytelling does little to make it a game in the modern, mainstream sense. However, it succeeds in presenting a slice of life in a dystopian future and drives home the point that not every video game has to have you as its central character. They can just be as fun with you serving its heroes copious amounts of alcohol.
If you don’t like visual novels or more intimate stories, will you like VA-11 HALL-A? I think so, yeah. I honestly believe there is a game in every genre for everyone, so you should give it a shot. VA-11 HALL-A is a damn fine video game, and that’s the bottom line.
Obscene, often vulgar, but, first and foremost, phenomenal and unbelievably stylish – that's VA-11 Hall-A. A must-have for every fan of cyberpunk and retro futuristic themes, and one of the best visual novel game on the market.
Review in Polish | Read full review
If you like choose-your-own-adventure style books and like to explore all the options, then VA-11 HALL-A is a perfect choice. You will be hard pressed to find a better narrative-driven form of entertainment this year.
I had low expectations for VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action. I anticipated a bartending simulator with a simple narrative but I was mistaken. Yes, you're a bartender and the game is a narrative-driven title but the deep and complex characters along with the well-crafted cyberpunk universe provide a soothing yet exciting environment. Each character has their own personalities whether it's an editor looking to kill time or a working man trying to find meaning in life. VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action excels at providing an invigorating adventure full of interesting characters while elaborating on its own cyberpunk world.
Overall, VA-11 HALL-A on the Switch is a marvelous port that works far better than I ever expected it to. The new controls may take some getting used to, but after a few minutes tinkering with them I found they came pretty naturally, and overall the game has kept the charm and likeability that drew me to it back in 2016. Gameplay may get a bit stale after long sessions of play, but for small relaxing wind-down sessions at the end of the night, you'll find no better place to be than in Jill's head during yet another shift at the bar.
VA-11 Hall-A is a unique experience that borrows some design elements from games in the past, such as Carmen Sandiego, that features solving problems through natural dialogue with ambiguous clues. The additional narrative to it is captivating at times, though some dialogue can get way too long in the tooth. The additional money-making motivation and customization options help to sell the experience a little further beyond its initial design.
VA-11 Hall-A offers no challenge. Its not a game you will remember for its controls or its multiplayer, but you will remember the experience, and if you ask me. That's worth it.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is a unique experience that's literally a book in game form. Mixing drinks and changing lives proves to be a blast as you interact with many interesting characters. There's loads of reading to do here but as long as you're ready to read a novel while you play, this is one book, er, game that you won't want to put down.
Despite the quantity of visual novels readily available for the PlayStation Vita, VA-11 HALL-A easily stands out among the rest for one simple reason: it is mundane. Yet that distinction is something unique and drives the relationships in the game — something you just won't want to rush through. Bolstered by an excellent soundtrack and stylistic art choices, VA-11 HALL-A should be a must-buy for indie lovers and VN junkies alike.
At its core, VA-11 Hall-A is the rare cyberpunk story that has heart, and even goes so far as to give its female characters agency in their own lives. It’s a story where we, the player, take the backseat, and soak it all in. Just like a good book.
Sukeban did a fantastic job with building a cyberpunk world that feels organic, writing characters that are believable and (mostly) easy to love, and giving us a gameplay experience that would give those who are reluctant to the simple flow of visual novels a legitimate shot. I really enjoyed my time in Glitch City, and I think you will too.
The mix of bartender simulator, interesting characters and clever writing makes VA-11 HALL-A a little gem, especially if you like games that are not your typical an have a lot to say. It is best savored in a smooth way... Like a whiskey on the rocks in a bar.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
A charming visual novel about tending a cyberpunk bar, VA-11 HALL-A is a genuinely fantastic title. A focused, neon-drenched art direction, paired with incredible music and razor-sharp writing, the game is great if you're new to, or curious about, visual novels. The writing's deft handling of darker or more taboo subjects makes for a compelling title with a varied cast of characters that each bring something unique.
VA-11 HALL-A is a very good visual novel, with strong th'mes, despites some problems due to it's genre. If you like reading, VA-AA HALL-A is a must have.
Review in French | Read full review
The kind of game that would surely earn the accolade of “cyberpunk bartending at its finest” if any other game had ever tried cyberpunk bartending. A character-rich visual novel that's as stylish as it is weirdly compelling.
VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action excels through relatable characters and stories that are worth listening to, even if its gameplay aspects can appear to be non-existent or tedious.
VA-11 Hall-A isn’t a game for everyone, and that’s fine. The simple mechanics, pixel-heavy look, and not-so-interactive story aren’t supposed to cater to every audience.
VA-11 Hall-A's fresh take on the visual novel genre makes the jump to consoles with relative ease. Those that don't mind the occasional bit of salty language will find a cyberpunk adventure that will captivate you to the very end.
Va-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartending Action is precisely what is right about indie development right now. It's a really highly polished experience with a lot of secrets to be found, coupled with a story that pulls you along with strong characters. The drinks just happen to be a neat distraction.
Valhalla is a dark and moody dystopic game with an infectious underlying optimism. It’s comfort food, a relaxed experience welcoming you with soothing music, cooly-colored visuals, casual conversation, and a calm sensation. This, mixed with its brilliant approach of telling a story through the experiences of its characters, makes it a smart and inventive new take on the science fiction visual novel.
It might be lacking the solid gameplay from other indie titles, but VA-11 Hall-A more than makes up for it with its great storytelling. This is for lovers of interesting fiction, and not for hardcore gamers.
Review in German | Read full review
The gameplay, and some of the dialogue, could do with some refinement but this dystopian drinks-making game has some of the most interesting storytelling of the last few years.
What Valhalla is trying to do is interesting, but playing it is boring. The dialogue drags, the main bartending mechanic is tedious and the day-in, day-out repetition becomes frustrating quite early on.
Despite VA-11 Hall-A’s commendable ability to create an elaborate, futuristic environment via a relatively simple medium, it’s ultimately a frustrating endeavor. The unique characters are not enough to overcome the exasperating surprises and a story that tapers off. As such, VA-11 Hall-A misses an opportunity to be an engaging, memorable experience.