Iniko announcing "Fraud" in Tavern Talk.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Tavern Talk Review: Overcoming trauma using D&D drinks

I made so many Swift Strikes.

Like you'd expect from a visual novel, Tavern Talk is a bit text-heavy. Some reviewers on Steam have complained that the game is too "verbose," but I'd argue against cutting any of the dialogue lines or shortening them - it would take far too much away from the novel aspect of the game. If you're looking for a review from a fellow cozy game player, you're in the right place.

Recommended Videos


Infusion shipment in Tavern Talk.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The story of Tavern Talk is spread throughout the game, and the backstories of each patron only come to light as they continue to visit your tavern. At first, you may find certain characters annoying, edgy, or just plain weird, but there is not a single character in Tavern Talk that I didn't enjoy seeing in front of my bar by the end of the game.

Despite being a nameless, faceless NPC in the game, you connect with every character through your questioning and ability to make a darn good drink which may imbue the consumer with some handy buffs. They tell you their stories, you point them towards adventures, and they ask for something to help them. It's very much a "Don't go alone, take this-" kind of situation. The Innkeeper clearly has some trauma to resolve, which comes to light in due time, but the game does well to keep you on tenterhooks, drip-feeding you little details as you build your rapport with the colorful cast of characters.

The storytelling really does make you feel like you're the "save point" of a D&D campaign. The friendly Innkeeper waiting for your friends to return and tell you all about their success... Or their failures.

Score: 5/5

Visual Design

Swift Strike in Tavern Talk.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Tavern Talk is gorgeous. The detail on each character is wonderful, especially because parts of their costume or design change after certain quests have been completed. Every design is unique, even if the characters are a little stereotypical for a D&D game.

One of the main issues I have with the design is the drink crafting. After a while, it gets incredibly boring to be remaking the same few drinks for every request. I would have also enjoyed seeing the potion colors actually mixed together for the drink and having the finished drink show that mixture. As it is, the colors of the potions are completely irrelevant. The finished drink ignores the colors that were added together and shows no sign of any infusion that may have been added.

The tavern itself barely ever changes. You can get gifts from your patrons - such as Fable's constellation embroidery gift - and the window reflects the time of day and recent events, but that's about it. The only moving parts are your bird companion. The characters don't move much either - as expected of a visual novel - but visual novel backgrounds usually change much more than this. I would have liked to see more moving parts and more life in the tavern. If the game is stuck in one location, that location shouldn't be so static.

I will knock off a point for the static visuals of the game and another for repetitive drinks and drink design. Yes, the patrons' faces move, and their hands will change position, but there isn't much going on in terms of interaction with the world. I would have loved to see more of the outside of the tavern, which you only learn about from your patrons coming in for a drink and telling you what's happening out there. It made me feel like I was trapped in one tiny corner of a huge world.

Score: 3/5

Controls and Accessibility

Elethyia takes a quest in Tavern Talk.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Click, click, click. With the exception of drink-making and quest-making, this game could be a contender for the best clicker games of 2024. I understand that visual novels don't, by design, include many controls, but it's still a factor here.

However, using fewer controls makes the game significantly more accessible and easier to learn how to play. There is a LOT of dialogue, though, so I highlight recommend putting the game on auto-read and changing the reading speed in your settings to suit your preferences.

Score: 4.5/5


Fable's profile in Tavern Talk
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

This game is the perfect kind of game to replay. It's impossible to get every achievement in your first playthrough because the drinks you serve in response to quests change the outcome of each quest. Server someone a drink that boosts their charisma, and they might succeed in talking down a beast that's terrorizing a nearby town. On the other hand, a drink that boosts their strength may result in a character getting injured or failing to address the root cause of the problem.

Unfortunately, one of the later drink requests in the game is bugged and you can't create one of the two requests - these are the drinks for the Dead Parade quest, where it's likely that the best outcome comes from the Charisma and Defense drink, but there is no drink and infusion combination that works for the request. 

Considering that is an Act III quest that is close to the game's ending, it's rather important that players be able to access both outcomes.

Something that struck me right away was the representation in Tavern Talk. Fable, who you meet first, uses they/them pronouns. They aren't the only example of LGBTQIA+ representation in the game, either! A range of pronouns are used, some of the patrons flirt with each other, and there's even an adorable case of found family that really endeared the game to me.

There are plenty of emotional moments; some funny, some romantic, and some that will make you want to stab fictional characters. For a visual novel to take you on such a rollercoaster of emotions, and have some compelling gameplay mechanics thrown in that have you hoping you mixed a character the right drink ensures that Tavern Talk stands out from the crowded bar of drinks-based visual novel titles out there right now.

Score: 4/5


Zephir,Melli, and Fable in Tavern Talk.
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

It seems like a lot of the hype for Tavern Talk came from the Coffee Talk series, which is a beloved set of visual novel games. Tavern Talk definitely shares some traits, but the games are very different - their settings, characters, the art style... That said, if you enjoyed Coffee Talk, you may very well enjoy Tavern Talk! They aren't made by the same developer, but the gameplay is still that same level of cozy escapism that just hits right after a long day at work or a lazy Sunday.

On its own merit, Tavern Talk is a unique game that gives D&D fans the chance to become the NPC, rather than the adventurer. Your tavern is the place the adventurers start from and return to, you hand out quests after gathering rumours from their conversations, and you're always open for those who need a drink.

I would have liked to see more illustration in the game and less static visuals. Visual novels are identified by a novel becoming visually interactive. You can still read the story, but you are also supposed to be able to follow the story. I understand why the devs decided to keep players in the tavern, but even being able to go outside the tavern to inspect the damage at different stages of the story would have made me feel like I was actually part of the world, and not just a part of it there to push the story on.

More drink options would also have been nice, but I'm more annoyed by the lack of cohesiveness between the potions' colors and the drink's outcome. If a drink is called "Sparkling Nebula," why isn't there something we can add that makes it sparkly? Or why don't the attribute potions create a purple color to reflect the finished drink? Seeing some color theory would have made this part of the game much better.

Score: 4/5

Want to play Tavern Talk for yourself? Check out our Pro Game Guides Tavern Talk Walkthrough (best outcomes) or read about the 10 Best cozy games coming to PC in 2024.

Pro Game Guides is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Lyssa Chatterton
Lyssa Chatterton
Lyssa Chatterton has been a freelance writer for over 6 years, ever since graduating from their Master's degree in Transliteration & Screenwriting. They have worked with clients in practically every industry, including iGaming and TCG/Tabletop news. Lyssa prefers cosy games and indie games, but that doesn't stop them from going all out with a great fantasy RPG or digging out old retro games. An avid fan of Pokémon, Animal Crossing, the Witcher, and Persona, you'll be seeing a wide range of writing from this freelancer.

Write A Comment

Tavern Talk Review: Overcoming trauma using D&D drinks

Comments are on moderation and will be approved in a timely manner. Please read the following rules before commenting:

  • All comments must be on topic and add something of substance to the post
  • No swearing or inappropriate words
  • No asking or begging for anything free
  • Do not attempt to start a poll in the comments
  • Comments in all CAPS will be removed
  • We reserve the right to remove a comment for any reason
  • Do not impersonate a staff member or influencer

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.