Café in the Clouds is a short but sweet visual novel with puzzle elements that was developed for NaNoRenO 2020 by Café Nemo. Help Remerie and Somnia cook up a dish from their client’s dream that will be sure to ease their torment.
Somnia and Remerie are dream eaters who do exactly what it sounds like…they eat dreams. Well, more precisely, they use ingredients they find in their clients’ dreams to create dishes that they then devour. Once the dish is eaten, the worries and anxieties from their clients seem to melt away.
The concept is an intriguing one. Dream eaters are often portrayed in media as scary, nightmarish things that hunt down a person while they’re sleeping. Café in the Clouds does the complete opposite and gives us a wholesome duo whose job it is to erase the nightmares, not the other way around.
Somnia and Remerie are more than cooking partners; they’re romantically involved—which I personally feel adds a layer to the game’s narrative. Aside from the cute comments shared between the two, the relationship between the girls makes the world Café Nemo has created feel even more alive. They’re a partnership that trust in each other’s abilities and work together (with your help, of course) to navigate their client’s dream.
The pitfalls of the game’s narrative are not in the dreamscape the women travel to. Rather, it’s in the lore outside of the dream world that things get muddled. There’s a level of understanding that anything goes in a dream world, but in the world outside of that, there needs to be some explanation for things so that the player can feel connected. There are some looming questions that I think take away from the overall narrative, such as why the café was closed for some time and who the woman brought up by Somnia, Remerie, and the client is.
Café in the Clouds has point-and-click elements that allow the player to solve puzzles in order to find the ingredients they need. At first, this manifests as the player simply clicking around to find more information, but as the game progresses, tasks are presented. The player must help the characters in their client’s dream so that they will help Somnia and Remerie in return.
At the end of the journey, the player must then choose their ingredients to make a dish. A five-star dish will unlock a special ending.
Art and Music
The art in Café in the Clouds can be described as cute and enchanting. The painted style works well for the game’s theme, and makes the whole experience feel a lot more lighthearted and fluffy.
While the music is fun to listen to, it’s the sound effects that I think tie the experience together. They’re all rather fitting in a fantasy setting, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere they added to the game.
Have an hour to spare? I would recommend checking out Café in the Clouds. The narrative is a lot deeper than what’s on the surface, the puzzles are challenging enough to be interesting (but not enough to make you click out of the game), and the art and sounds are pretty amazing.
You can get Café in the Clouds for free on itch.io.