Bar Oasis 2 (iPhone/iPad) by Corners Studio Ultramarine is the latest entry in the Bar Oasis narrative, bringing us back to the most popular virtual bar on iOS. With many of the same characters and gameplay, Bar Oasis 2 might not expand too far on its original concepts, but is worth a play for its great story and atmosphere.
At its core, Bar Oasis 2 is the same game as its predecessors, mixing a tale of friendship and romance through the filter of a Shanghai bar and its constituents. In between the large sections of text based dialogue and manga-like storyboards that make up the game’s story, players play the role of Vic, a bartender who can make just about any drink in the book.
The gaming portions of BO2 take place at the bar. Once a customer sits down and orders a drink, players swipe to give him a coaster, and then find the drink in the extensive almanac and make it. There are multiple shelves of liqueur to choose from, with multiple shelf qualities and varieties for just about all of them. After selecting the correct glassware and alcohol, players enter the drink-making mini game – the most fun part of the game.
Say I get an order for a Negroni. After pulling an old-fashioned glass from the shelf, and selecting my gin, vermouth and campari brands, a black screen with a timer opens. By swiping up to take the cap off and tipping my iPhone sideways, I’m able to pour in the amount of alcohol I need into the glass. Amateur mode lets players continuously check the recipe, and provides players with the current amount of alcohol in the glass, compared to what is needed – pro mode doesn’t have either of these features, and feels just what a night of pretend fancy-drink bartending should feel like.
Now, even though it has a great story and extensive encyclopedia of drinks, Bar Oasis 2 was a little bit disappointing at times. The menus and bottle icons are the same ugly, low-res versions from previous games, and like the other two titles, the narrative takes a little while to get going, which might turn off some gamers right away. It would’ve been nice to see some new mini games introduced, or some new art – at least for the alcohol bottles, which are blurry and indistinguishable on the shelves.
But even with its lack of technical progression, Bar Oasis 2 tells a great story and has a ton of different drinks for players to make, for a wide variety of visiting customers to the bar. Drink aficionados will have a ball with the game’s extensive collection of drinks, and other gamers looking for an interesting story to sink their teeth into won’t be disappointed, either: Bar Oasis 2 is a great sequel.