Last month the free version of Bar Oasis [99¢ / Free] hit the App Store, and really took me by surprise by how oddly unique the entire game is. There are some elements of time management, a tilt-powered drink pouring gameplay component, and a fairly captivating story told through your encounters with the various customers of your bar. I had some minor annoyances playing the game, but thankfully the free version is fully featured enough that you will be able to tell whether or not you can deal with these before jumping in to the paid game.

The center of the game, which strangely enough is barely touched on in the iTunes description, is the first person narrative that begins with you stumbling across the Bar Oasis, seeing a job posting, and deciding to try your hand at mixing drinks. You are instantly hired by a character known as "the Boss", who shows you the ropes and explains that drinks are never poured using jiggers because pouring straight from the bottle looks so much cooler. (A point that is hard to argue.) This is where the tutorial begins, as the Boss shows you around the bar and explains how to mix drinks.

The main view of the game has you facing across from your customers, and swiping right or left moves from seat to seat. Swiping down shifts the view to the shelves behind the bar where you will find various bottles of liquor and glassware. Just like when looking at the bar, swiping right or left switches shelves, and swiping up takes you back to the bar. When the game starts, you have a bare minimum of available liquor to mix with, but as the game progresses you slowly unlock more types of booze to make even more complicated drinks.

Dragging up looks below the bar where you'll find a cash register and telephone, along with a menu and recipe book. Mixing drinks feels a lot like a time management game, as you're balancing seven different customers with indicators that show their mood which changes based on how long they're waiting. When a customer arrives, you slide them a coaster, take their order, then consult the menu to select their drink. From there, you turn around to the liquor shelves, select the glass and ingredients, then proceed to pouring.

Pouring drinks requires tilting the iPhone like a bottle, and pouring out the various liquors in to your glass. It's cool the first few times you do it, but begins to get repetitive especially since when you mess up when pouring a drink you have to go all the way back to the menu, re-select the drink, pull all the ingredients off the shelf, and start over again.

The game continues like this, with more and more customers entering the bar, each with their own associated story they reveal as you get to know them. Overall, it's a really cool experience, but you will need a lot of patience to make your way through the whole game. Everything seems to take a very long time, from switching screens from the bar, to below the bar, back to the liquor shelves, and when you're making drinks. It doesn't take a very long time until you get tired of the different screens fading in and out, and all the different popup confirmations you need to tap through to make drinks.

The pay off is in the story, which you will either get sucked in to or be annoyed by its pacing. There is a LOT of text in this game, and it's often presented in single sentences which also take a long time to get through. Personally, I read extremely quickly and often find myself annoyed with any RPG that restricts how fast you can blow through text. You can tap to make text appear quicker, but it still feels like the whole pace of the game is much slower than it should be.

Bar Oasis is a game you really should try if you've found yourself sucked in to games like Phoenix Wright [$4.99] and other story-driven RPG's. The lite version features a full tutorial, and it won't take long at all for you to determine whether or not this is a game you can get in to or if like me you're frustrated by the slow pacing. The full version features a full story mode and 100 drink recipes that you slowly come across and can access in the secondary "Make Drinks" mode where the game acts like a virtual recipe book of sorts.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Bozar

    I had a lot of fun with the free version and bought the paid version for a buck when I saw it a couple of days ago. I agree that I mostly like it for the intriguing story and the characters. Without it, the game would be a little repetitive.

  • Bozar

    I had a lot of fun with the free version and bought the paid version for a buck when I saw it a couple of days ago. I agree that I mostly like it for the intriguing story and the characters. Without it, the game would be a little repetitive.

  • Zuriyahe

    This game reminds me of an old bartending game "Final Call" from way back in 2000.

    • UncleT

      Hey I remember that game! I still have my Final Call CD in my closet. If they could do Bar Oasis with all the drinks laid out on one screen like in FInal Call (go to a landscape mode maybe), or at least make the screen swiping animations faster, the pacing might be more tolerable.

  • Zuriyahe

    This game reminds me of an old bartending game "Final Call" from way back in 2000.

    • UncleT

      Hey I remember that game! I still have my Final Call CD in my closet. If they could do Bar Oasis with all the drinks laid out on one screen like in FInal Call (go to a landscape mode maybe), or at least make the screen swiping animations faster, the pacing might be more tolerable.

  • Matto

    Game crashes on iOS4 after cocktail shaking...

    • Soap

      yes dammit esp after paying for it

      • http://www.gamebus.co.kr Aurora Games

        We have fixed the iOS4 problem.
        Please download the update.
        Thank you.

        Aurora Games

      • Erivera81

        hey do u still have the bat oasis game i want it

  • Matto

    Game crashes on iOS4 after cocktail shaking...

    • Soap

      yes dammit esp after paying for it

      • http://www.gamebus.co.kr Aurora Games

        We have fixed the iOS4 problem.
        Please download the update.
        Thank you.

        Aurora Games

  • http://www.whatis180.com ron

    never heard of this - thanks for bringing it to my attention, looks cool :)

  • http://www.whatis180.com ron

    never heard of this - thanks for bringing it to my attention, looks cool :)

  • Phice

    Is it just my timing? I seem to get the measures pretty much spot on but everytime it just says the drink is sewage???

    • Rumors

      Do you take the time limit into account?
      Or when you shake or stir, do you continue doing so until it says OK?
      I made the mistake the first few times to just shake once.. since shaking or stirring didn't have a measure, I didn't know.

  • Phice

    Is it just my timing? I seem to get the measures pretty much spot on but everytime it just says the drink is sewage???

    • Rumors

      Do you take the time limit into account?
      Or when you shake or stir, do you continue doing so until it says OK?
      I made the mistake the first few times to just shake once.. since shaking or stirring didn't have a measure, I didn't know.

  • audreyxxex

    I love this game it was actually pretty addicting for me.
    It made me want to go make some drinks with the recipes haha.
    I'm kinda sad that I finished it though.
    Does anyone know any other games similar to Bar Oasis with the whole story-like theme?

  • audreyxxex

    I love this game it was actually pretty addicting for me.
    It made me want to go make some drinks with the recipes haha.
    I'm kinda sad that I finished it though.
    Does anyone know any other games similar to Bar Oasis with the whole story-like theme?

  • Tim

    can't get passed the part were the boss wants you to make him a martini can anyone help?

    • Jessica

      me toooooooooo~~~ how to make a martini???

  • http://none Tim

    can't get passed the part were the boss wants you to make him a martini can anyone help?

    • Jessica

      me toooooooooo~~~ how to make a martini???

  • Lauren

    Damn you martinis! So damn hard, I keep getting sewage no matter what I do I even tried using a different vermouth. I stay within tome limit but it's all still sewage!!! What am I doing wrong!? Why has thou forsaken me!

    • Lauren

      Holy crap! Just figured it out! Do not use the shaker!! Stir it! And green bottle vermouth!!! Woot!

      • Keelz

        Yeah but what do u do after the sturring

        I'm stuck on the pouring and ice bit :(

  • Lauren

    Damn you martinis! So damn hard, I keep getting sewage no matter what I do I even tried using a different vermouth. I stay within tome limit but it's all still sewage!!! What am I doing wrong!? Why has thou forsaken me!

    • Lauren

      Holy crap! Just figured it out! Do not use the shaker!! Stir it! And green bottle vermouth!!! Woot!

      • http://... Keelz

        Yeah but what do u do after the sturring

        I'm stuck on the pouring and ice bit :(

  • Sam

    sometimes when i fill in a drink the oz. goes into minus
    wtf???

  • Sam

    sometimes when i fill in a drink the oz. goes into minus
    wtf???

  • J

    hey i love the bgm of this game, so awesome and soothing. mind if i know where can i download then song or find this bgm/ost? thanks alot

    • yuuji

      I LOVE THE BGM TOOO!!!!

  • J

    hey i love the bgm of this game, so awesome and soothing. mind if i know where can i download then song or find this bgm/ost? thanks alot

    • yuuji

      I LOVE THE BGM TOOO!!!!

  • yuuji

    You know theres a button on the button left of the screen which shows u the ingridients to make drinks and then after clicking it, the drinks required for the drink has a flashing white dot on it so just follow that :D

    since i know nothing about making drinks (except now i know since i completed the game) it helped alot

  • yuuji

    You know theres a button on the button left of the screen which shows u the ingridients to make drinks and then after clicking it, the drinks required for the drink has a flashing white dot on it so just follow that :D

    since i know nothing about making drinks (except now i know since i completed the game) it helped alot

  • Raul

    Man! The most awesome game ever for the ipod touch! I loved the game. Never found the drink making truly boring or annoying, saw it as a chalenge--remembering the ingredients. But the amazing part was the artwork, the bgm, and of course the story. I got disapointed at one point though, with mark and.. you know(trying not to spoil de story) but i still liked the ending. What makes me wonder was that in th credits it should a pic of Vic and Sheila kissing, which i NEVER saw during my time playing. So, is there different story parts or endings depending on the important choices?? Does anyone know?

  • Raul

    Man! The most awesome game ever for the ipod touch! I loved the game. Never found the drink making truly boring or annoying, saw it as a chalenge--remembering the ingredients. But the amazing part was the artwork, the bgm, and of course the story. I got disapointed at one point though, with mark and.. you know(trying not to spoil de story) but i still liked the ending. What makes me wonder was that in th credits it should a pic of Vic and Sheila kissing, which i NEVER saw during my time playing. So, is there different story parts or endings depending on the important choices?? Does anyone know?

  • jaide

    how do you make a martini:|:| i got all the ingredients and stirred it but i always get "poor"....watttt the f am i doing wrong 0.o haha......do you actually have to find ice...?

  • jaide

    how do you make a martini:|:| i got all the ingredients and stirred it but i always get "poor"....watttt the f am i doing wrong 0.o haha......do you actually have to find ice...?

  • Natasharichards

    hi im stuck on the olive bit what are we spose to do?

  • Jiseonk

    this game's a bomb!! :DD
    i like how mark's so funny. the best game ever!

  • Vladagaja24

    Similar, maybe even better game is Nimble Strong Bartender in Training, pour timing is sattled better than in this game, here is a little unaccurate and frustrating.

    • TeeshaMango

      Nimble Strong FAILSSS!!!!! terrible game.. no where NEAR as entertaining...

  • Danfeng08

    It's not on iTunes app store anymore?? :/

    • Shelbyg09

      I was trying to look for it as well and couldn't find it :(

      • TeeshaMango

        yeh I havn't been able to find it also (TT_TT) it was on my brothers phone so I tried downloading it but search comes up with "No Matches" and so I went on a search frenzy trying to look through all RPG games... thinking it would be in the Top 100... couldn't find it (TT_TT)

  • Chamika Ranasinghe

    I think they re launched the game. I just found it in the app store. It's an admin problem they had with update or something. They have said that they plan to release a sequel in the second half of 2011. Can't wait. Best game ever.

BAR OASIS LITE Reviewed by Eli Hodapp on . Rating: 3.5