VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action is a visual novel developed by Sukeban Games where, as its subtitle suggests, players work as a bartender at a bar named VA-11 HALL-A in a dystopian city reminiscent of cyberpunk anime but with the graphical style of a Japanese PC-98 adventure game. The title was published by Ysbryd Games for the PC on June 21 2016, with a port for the PlayStation Vita and iPad being worked on by Wolfgames that will be released at a later date.
Before VA-11 HALL-A’s final release, a Prologue was released in 2014 that contained an exclusive story that was a prequel to the full game. The Prologue served as a proof-of-concept and also worked as a pre-order for the final release if it was purchased before a certain deadline.
Taking place in the December of 2069, the game stars Jill as a bartender of an unkempt bar named VA-11 HALL-A, better known as Valhalla. She encounters a number of patrons from varying walks of life within Glitch City, an unstable dystopic city controlled by megacorporations and corrupt law enforcement.
The gameplay of VA-11 HALL-A is centered around mixing drinks for the varied patrons of the bar while engaging them in conversation. Drinks are prepared from five different ingredients, with additional options for aging, blending, and adding ice. Each drink has a set of characteristics (e.g. sweet, sour, girly, manly) denoting the kind of clientele which it might appeal to. Preparing drinks earns money, which the player can use to pay for entertainment or bills. Finishing a shift with no incorrect orders provides a “Flawless” bonus, providing extra cash.
Mixing drinks also serves a function similar to dialogue trees. Patrons react differently depending on what drinks they are served, sometimes shifting the course and tone of the conversation.