Also available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Windows
Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/24/2022 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Would You Like to Run an Idol Café? is a visual novel that’s pretty much exactly what I want in a visual novel; cute anime girls one of whom each fills a part of the Holy Trinity of Waifus – Cat Girl, Childhood Friend, and Quiet Weirdo. While many visual novels go beyond this sacred set of three, any good one must have all three, and this one has excellent examples. I was graciously given a download code for this by my dear friend Shlib since he won a giveaway but decided that it wasn’t his type of game, so thanks homie!
So first thing’s first – this is a SHORT VN. We’re talking probably eight hours for every ending. It’s also not going to knock your socks off; it’s no Muv-Luv Extra. It is, however, a solidly enjoyable game with several spots for dialogue choices to affect the course of the MC’s relationship with the waifus. The basic premise is that you’re a reformed ruffian who flunked his college entrance exams and gets a job as a waiter at a café while he waits to try his luck again at getting into college. This isn’t technically a maid café, but the attire is basically “skimpy maid” for the women, and other than the cook, he’s the only male employee. So it’s basically a maid café. He also lives with his childhood friend (automatically best girl; I don’t make the rules) who, unlike him, did not flunk her exams and is in her first year of college to be a nurse. She’s also completely and totally obsessed with cute girls and idols.
The game is published by Winged Cloud, the glorious degenerates who brought you the absolutely massive Sakura franchise on Steam (Sakura Succubus, Sakura Agent, Sakura Santa, Sakura Beach, so on and so forth). With that said, you pretty much know what you’re getting here – giant boobs, inexplicably single waifus, a totally boring protagonist who somehow has drop-dead gorgeous women madly in love with him, etc. If that’s not your cup of tea, then I can absolutely promise that you won’t like anything about this game. If that sounds even somewhat appealing to you, then you should probably get this game. It’s not a kinetic visual novel as you do get to make choices that affect the outcome, but given its short length, there’s not a whole great deal to see here. This is probably the shorted visual novel I’ve read in a few years if not ever, but I definitely enjoyed getting to know the characters. As law dictates, there’s a tsundere waifu, so if that’s your thing, rest assured, they’ve got you covered.
Honestly, there’s only so much I can say about it without just telling you the entire plot. It’s a visual novel shorter to read than the Lord of the Rings trilogy is to watch. You’ve got three waifus to pick from. The game ends right as you start getting into it, basically forcing you to buy the as-of-yet-unreleased sequel (at least on Switch; it’s out on Steam). It’s a good time, though, and the perfect length for a long car, bus, or plane ride. Or a power outage. Since it’s a visual novel, it puts next to no strain on the Switch, so a fully charged battery is more than enough for you to see every ending and dialogue choice. At $10, it’s a pretty steep asking price given how short it is, but it’s definitely worth throwing on your wishlist and waiting for a sale.