Cafe Enchante is a fantasy otome game developed by Otomate and localized by Aksys Games. Follow Kotone Awaki as she takes over her late grandfather’s café, Enchanté. Unbeknownst to Kotane, the cafe has a surprising secret—it caters to special supernatural clientele.
- Genre: Fantasy | Supernatural | Romance
- Where to get the game: Nintendo Switch
- 30+ hours of gameplay
- Price: $49.99 (Standard Edition)
- Similar Games: Ayakashi Gohan | Mystic Destinies Serendipity of Aeons | Changeling
Take on the role of Kotone Awari, an absolutely ordinary young woman at a crossroads in her life. She’s working a draining office job and to top things off her beloved grandfather, Souan recently passed. Still grieving her loss, Kotone learns that gramps left her his café in his will. So, she quits her dead end job and takes over Café Enchanté. Not long after taking over she discovers that the shop is hiding a surprising secret—it caters to a very exclusive clientele.
The promotional campaign for this game lied to me. Everything about Café Enchanté gives off wholesome, slice-of-life vibes. But the ACTUAL game is anything but—drama, angst, and a lot of heartbreak. This game gets dark and a few folks might not be ready for some of the heavier storylines. Ignis’s route is especially surprising for how heartbreaking it gets, and don’t get me started on Misyr’s route.
Café Enchanté has 5 love interests. Canus, Ignis, Il, and Rindo can be romanced at the start of the game, but Misyr’s route is locked. After you finish the first 4 routes, you’ll be given the option to romance Misyr. Each route focuses on a character specific conflict, with varying degrees of drama. For the best transition, I recommend playing Canus ⇒ Ignis ⇒ Rindo ⇒ Il ⇒ Misyr.
VA. Yuuichirou UMEHARA
“I vow to protect you from whatever perils seek to obstruct our path.”
The Headless Knight (Dullahan) from the Fairy World, Medio. The removal of his helmet reveals the startling truth, that there is nothing to see or touch from his neck up. Although bearing a suspicious look, the reality is that he is a knight with an earnest and straightforward personality. At times, he even displays a soft spot by extending his hand out to those who are in trouble or to those weaker than him. Canus is a master swordsman, but is also just as adept at handling a spade and tending his garden.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Canus (Click to reveal)
VA. Yuuki ONO
“Just know that I’m picky with cooking. You won’t get away with a half-assed meal.”
Demon Beast from the Beast World Bestia. A young, flame-wielding werewolf, widely known as the strongest in Bestia. He has an aggressive nature and a short fuse. He gets into fights often because if this. Despite these traits, others still see him as a non-human who has a strong sense of duty and is usually reasonable. Ignis often displays his kindness by calling things as he sees them. His enormous appetite is generally apparent when anyone encounters him scarfing down plates at the café. It goes without saying that he is a lover of meats.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Ignis (Click to reveal)
VA. Jun’ichi SUWABE
“Hah. You’ve really gotten used to this odd way of living, haven’t you? This old man doesn’t even know how to feel”
A member of the Government Paranomalism Measures Organization. He’s a man living in the sunset of his prime. His current assignment is to monitor non-human activity at Cafe Enchante, but he also likes to relax and unwind there as a patron. Rindo is known to be a calm and collected gentleman, but the topic of non-humans can illicit a more serious response from him at times. A first glance might give the impression that he’s more comfortable behind a desk than on the field, but seeing him in combat tells another story.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Rindo (Click to reveal)
Il Fado de Rie
~Otome Loving Fallen Angel~
“Oh, how are otome games this wonderful?!”
A lover of otome games, the Fallen Angel from the Heavenly world, Caelm. Refined and elegant. He might seem like his head is always in the clouds, but behind this klutzy appearance, he is quite the intellectual. Due to those personality traits of his, Il has a tendency to inadvertently cause trouble for the others, and often need to babysat. For his reason, he usually shuts himself in his room devoting his life to playing otome games. As expected, he has the heavenly singing voice of an angel.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Il (Click to reveal)
~Coffee Loving Demon King~
“You may not realize it, but there is magic in effect all over the place.”
The Supreme Demon King of the Demon World, Asmodia. Also known as king of the non-humans. To the extent that some may consider it cheating, he’s an extraordinary individual who can solve any problem with his impressive skills in the art of magic. Being a connoisseur of coffee, Misyr visits Cafe Enchante every day to enjoy a freshly brewed cup. Despite his elevated status, he’s down to earth and cheerful. Every once in a while, he mutters some unsettling things without so much as batting an eye. People sometimes question whether or not he’s joking.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Misyr (Click to reveal)
~ The Heroine ~
With her grandfather’s recent passing, this 19 year old finds herself in the incredible position of being the newest owner of Cafe Enchante. After graduating high school, she held a regular office job for a short time and has come to understand how the world works. She has a personality that’s sunny and upbeat, allowing her to adapt to new environments quickly and easily. On top of all that, she’s quite the cook.
Blerdy’s Thoughts on Kotone (Click to reveal)
Overall Thoughts – An Enchanting Coffee Fueled Romance
Lies My Otome Told Me: Cafe Enchante is NOT a Lighthearted Story
They pulled the ol’ bait and switch on us with Café Enchanté. If you only saw the opening trailer and read the game bio on Aksys’s website, you would think Cafe Enchanté was a sweet coffee filled slice-of-life romance—and if that is what you’re looking for, it’s probably best that you don’t play further than the common route. After that it’s all aboard the angst train. Each route starts off pretty sweet, Kotone spends time getting to know each of the LIs and learns more about their respective cultures and worlds and then BAM, the story takes a turn down heartbreak lane. And believe me some of these routes get DARK.
In Ignis’s route especially, I was convinced I was on my way towards the bad ending. But, that’s part of the problem. There are times when it felt like the game didn’t know if it wanted to be a cute slice-of-life romance game about a café that caters to magical beings or a dark supernatural drama, there just isn’t enough balance. The common route did a much better job of establishing the dangers of associating with non-humans while still keeping a lighthearted tone and that was the story I thought I was getting.
Honeybee’s Ayakashi Gohan has a similar premise to Café Enchanté—both focus on a normal human girl living in a place where the humans and non-human beings coexist. Of course, relations between humans and non-humans are pretty touch and go; conflicts do arise between humans and non-humans, but for the most part in Ayakashi the tone is much more slice-of-life in nature. In contrast, Café Enchanté tries to split the difference attempting to deliver a feel good romance with a thrilling second and third act for folks looking for a bit more spice with their otome and in most routes it works.
The Main Cast has an Interesting Dynamic
The family dynamic between the café regulars was absolutely perfect, I really got the sense that they each cared about one another and at least for me the moments when they were just hanging out in the shop together were among some of my favorites in the game. Even Rindo, who is technically an outsider fits right in with their lighthearted banter to the point that I forget that he’s human just like Kotone. Then there are characters like Canus who really shine when they aren’t in the spotlight. He’s usually the voice of reason in the group always stepping in to put things in perspective. But, the same can be said for the others too and I suppose that says a lot about how versatile they are as characters—they can exist both as leads in their own stories and as supporting cast members.
Route Breakdowns and Romance were A Mixed Bag
While I’m not really a fan of the guy, Rindo’s route had the best balance; establishing a relationship that felt natural and then introducing a conflict that both tied in with the existing worldbuilding from the other routes AND felt like a very organic progression for the character. This route had real consequences that don’t just get magically fixed by the end of the game. Then you have Ignis’s route where despite the descent into heartbreak we get, everything is seemingly “fixed” by the time the credits roll.
While all of the routes tell a pretty self contained story, I feel like some of the routes could do with a bit more expanding through a fan disc… maybe? I wasn’t completely sold on the romance in some routes and part of that was because there really wasn’t that much time to fully flesh out the relationships before the plot came bulldozing onto the scene.
Cafe Enchante has Amazing Characters and Worldbuilding
Rounding out the cast are a handful of side characters and while most of them are exclusive to specific routes, there is a bit of cross over. Kariya plays a more prominent role in the common route, but even after his conflict is resolved he stays on as an assistant café worker at Enchanté. Then there’s Kororo, a young demon beast Ignis finds alone in Bestia, he mostly serves as the cafe’s unofficial mascot. But for others, it’s kind of weird seeing a side character in other routes when they were the main antagonist in others. And some of the side characters like Epilogi and Asmodeus were a little too good looking to just be background characters…
I’ve said this before, but I AM A SUCKER for worldbuilding and with a game like this that blends together lore from not one but several different cultures, let’s just say I was in heaven!! But, what I really enjoyed about Café Enchanté is that the writers take existing lore and build on it to create something new. Canus, is a Dullahan, a type of fae that has it’s roots in Irish folklore, but the fairy world of Medio exists within the branches of Yggdrasil, a tree from Norse mythology that connects the nine worlds, then there’s the queen of the faries, Titania who is a reference to the fairy queen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There are all these really neat references and it was fun seeing how it all fits together in the context of the world of the game.
Yuuya’s Art is Absolutely Gorgeous!
In terms of appearance, Café Enchanté is a really pretty game. The character designs are unique to each character and even when they are in their human forms there are neat little details that giveaway their otherworldliness. Granted some characters like Canus aren’t really able to “blend in” all that well, but that’s part of what makes this game so unique. That and the gorgeous UI which carries over the game’s café theme, with menus modeled after café menus. Café Enchanté a very robust soundtrack with unique tracks for each of the various parallel world and still more to fit in with more emotional moments in the story. The opening theme song ‘precious places, precious faces’ is one of my favorites, and it’s upbeat lyrics and music put you in the mind of a relaxing lighthearted experience. The ending theme ‘eternal’ is just beautiful!!
Vibe Check: How is Cafe Enchante’s Localization?
I took four semesters of Japanese in undergrad and all I have to show for my efforts are a few cheap pick up lines and some basic conversational greetings. So, I am nowhere near an expert on Japanese to English translation (so take this with a grain of salt). But, as far as localized otome games go, Aksys did an alright job with Café Enchanté, nothing is as bad as the pre-patch version of Collar x Malice: Unlimited.
But, that’s not to say that the translation was perfect. There were a few typos here and there, but I want to stress that it’s not enough to really detract from my enjoyment of the games as a whole. Though, in the common route the translators switch from Venir to Vennia midway through and honestly that’s something the QC team should have caught early. And there was this weird thing going on with the spacing—sometimes there would be too much spacing between the words and there were times when the text would be bunched up in a corner without utilizing the full text box.
Aksys tends to go with more by the book translations, so there isn’t much in the way of meme-speak or any lines that’ll probably be dated in a few years. I kind of prefer this since overusing jokes can be a bit distracting and I really just want to enjoy the story.
So the Verdict – Should You Play Café Enchanté?
Heck yeah! I really loved this game and I’m glad I chose to play it before Piofiore. While it isn’t the fluff filled otome romance we’ve been clamoring for, Café Enchanté is chocked full of warm feel good vibes that are bound to melt even the most jaded of otome fans. Like the titular café, Kotone and the rest of the regulars are sure to offer a fun and inviting experience for folks looking for a short respite in these trying times. So grab a warm cup of coffee (or in my case tea), settle down in your favorite chair, and lose yourself in this delightfully charming otome game.