So as I do I was scrolling through the App Store looking for something new to play. The App Store is insidious in nature, trapping gullible people like myself into impulse purchases. I was browsing the top 25 selling role playing games and this title, Bar Oasis, caught my eye. A game based around working at a cocktail bar with dozens of different cocktail recipes? Original, but I wasn’t sold until I saw the screenshots, focusing on the breasts of the bar’s female clientele and a review from, self described tradie, Aussie123212 who claimed he was unable to put it down.
The games story is presented in an interesting fashion. You’ve been trapped into talking to someone in a bar and he’s telling you about his job working at a bar 10 years ago or so. These parts are presented as dialogue directed directly at you, otherwise you play as the narrator, in the past getting the job at the bar. The game hopes to resonate with gamers everywhere straight away, our barman has been unemployed for a year and spends his free time complaining – qualifications that could see him writing for Pietriots soon. He tentatively applies for a job at the random bar he found because he’s months behind in his rent and intends to only work for long enough to get out of debt before he can go back to bludging on the dole. Hired on the spot by the closet homosexual bar manager, he is thrust behind the bar and given a frightening list of cocktails to memorise before starting work an hour later. You play the game as him so this strange mix of being spoken to by the narrator and playing as the narrator has the same player-character relation games such as Prince of Persia: Sands of Time.
Across the time spent behind the bar you’ll encounter biker dickheads, fat losers and whiney bitches but it’s the game’s voluptuous alcoholic Sheila O’Brien that will keep you working. Our hero himself has got to be a frontrunner for arsehole of the year, losing his temper with outbursts of frustration at the slightest provocation. Situations in which any normal human would find amusing or interesting our faceless bartender Vic (as he is named) is up in arms about. To be fair to Vic though, the boss is a slack shit and I’d be pretty annoyed with him taking off to go motorcycling in the middle of the night and getting injured and leaving the bar all to you for a week. That could be a spoiler.
When you’re not fraternising with dickheads that make up the game’s ensemble cast, you’re pouring them drinks. If you’re like me then you might’ve always had a fascination with alcoholic cocktails and how there can be so many ways to combine essentially poisonous substances into visually stunning, delicious beverages. That said, for someone with an interest in cocktails I don’t know the slightest thing about them, how to make them, or even what most of them are. If I’m feeling like a cocktail at a bar I play it safe and just get a tequila sunrise or long island ice tea. This is where the game’s hidden value comes along: it’s educational. Not only does the game have about a hundred or so authentic cocktail recipes but you have to put them together yourself by tilting, shaking and touching the iPhone. Apart from skipping the garnishing of drinks it is a very authentic experience and one that can be a lot of fun. The game guides you along with recipes and prompts to meet customer orders but to really make the best drinks and collect the highest tips you have to brave going by memory and trying to judge shot pouring without the guides.
Bar Oasis is a captivating game from upstart Korean developers Aurora Games. For just over a dollar you get an original game with great character art, music, and educational gameplay. Recommended for all my fellow alcoholics!