EDDA Café is a cute and heartwarming fantasy visual novel developed by digital artist, Pepapen for the Valentines VN Jam 2021. What if a coffee shop could help a young woman get a second chance to correct a mistake from her past and work through her lingering feelings of regret. EDDA Café is short, no more than 30 minutes long, as of this writing, parts 1 and 2 are available for play with the part 3 coming at a later date.
“Have you ever heard a myth about cafes that turn back time?”
There is a rumor that there is a hidden café that brews a special coffee that can turn back time—for many it is just a fun urban legend, but for Mina, it’s an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. After an accident took the life of her most important person, Mina has been wracked with guilt, blaming herself for for everything that happened. Now, two years later, Mina is still haunted by her regrets and longs for a chance to fix her mistakes and she is given just that chance, when she encounters a strange young man handing out flyers to a local café named, EDDA.
Initially Mina doesn’t want to visit the café, but her best friend Rin convinces her to give it a try, but when they go to the address on the flyer the café is nowhere to be found. It’s only after Mina hears the sound of a bell (one that Rin can’t hear) that they are able to locate the place. They are greeted by a friendly waiter named Taku who offers to take their orders and both Rin and Mina notice that many of the menu options have unusual names, but when they ask Taku about it he remarks that all the menu items are named after previous patrons and their experiences, which with menu items like ‘Viola’s Big Crush’ and ‘Bittersweet Colette’s Heart’, it’s clear there’s a more than going on with this café than meets the eye. Taku also recommends the ‘The Unforgotten Memorials Dripper’, a drip pour coffee that comes with a bit more of a kick than your usual cup of joe.
“And when the coffee starts to drip, the magic begins…”
‘The Unforgotten Memorials Dripper’ gives patrons a chance to work through their unresolved feelings by reliving their past memories. And, for someone like Mina, who is still haunted by her grief, this special coffee blend offers a unique opportunity to finally face her past and maybe learn to move on with her life. While Mina is much more reserved than I like my heroines, it works well here, as we are meeting her after she’s experienced a painful loss. Her pain and grief are what define her and you really get the sense that she’s just kind of going through the motions with her life. She is at a crossroads and it’s nice to see that she has a supportive friend like Rin to rely on when she needs to. Rounding out the cast (at least right now) is Taku, the mysterious waiter of EDDA café. I will admit that I have a thing for mysterious waiters and bartenders, so Taku really piqued my interest—he claims to just be a normal college student, but I’m not buying it!
The game was created as part of a game jam and those releases are usually pretty simple to accommodate a much shorter development timeline. But, even with that, EDDA Café is a gorgeous game! I love the soft backgrounds and the stationary design of the UI is super cute. The character designs are adorable and remind me a bit of a picture book which fits with the urban fantasy story. There is a bit of animation (falling snow and blinking eyes), which adds a bit more movement to the visuals.
EDDA Café is partially voiced, Mina narrates the openings of each new chapter and Taku has a handful of voiced lines. I like the voice acting because it breathes life into these characters, but, I will admit that the voiced Mina lines aren’t as smooth as I would have liked (there’s a bit of an artificial sound to it). The music is beautiful, soft instrumentals that really convey the relaxed tone of the story.
At a glance, EDDA Café has a lot in common with Mojiken Studio’s When The Past Was Around—both games have a soft, cute art style and both focus on heroines dealing with deep regrets from their pasts. And, while EDDA‘s story is still a work in progress, the available chapters sets the stage for what could potentially be a truly memorable and emotional journey. We all have moments from our past that we wish we could change and EDDA Café gives us a small taste of that sweet, sweet wish fulfilment. I’m definitely looking forward to part 3, which is set to be released soon, but in the meantime, EDDA Café is a perfect short game for a lazy Sunday afternoon.