This review is spoiler free.
Notice Me Senpai is a free mobile application game by Skillshot Labs available on Google Play. I originally downloaded it thinking it was a chibi-form Otome game. In actuality, it borders the Otome game genre with some minor interactions but otherwise is more of a collection game.
How to Play
To play the game, you have to put beans in the coffee pot to attract Senpais to your cafe and provide objects for them to enjoy. Empty tables will not bring in Senpais and Senpais all have item and coffee preferences. The items you select for your cafe and the type of coffee you brew will draw different Senpais. After you fill the coffee pot, minimize or close the game and wait 5-10 minutes.
Open the game once more and there should be at least one Senpai. Each type of coffee bean has a length of time that it brews, and Senpais will only show up if there is coffee in the pot. Note, if you expand your cafe, the coffee pot on the far side of the room needs to be filled and is not just a decor piece. Senpais don’t hang around forever, so if you wait too long to check back in, a Senpai you are anticipating may already have left.
This is a super casual game and does not require hours of play in a sitting. Once you get into the swing of things, gameplay will involve filling the coffee pot(s) and checking in every ten minutes or so for the duration of the coffee. Other than rearranging your cafe, purchasing items, or checking your collection book, each play section is quite short.
When a Senpai leaves, he pays for his coffee, which can be collected from the till. Income is generated this way and can be used to purchase more coffee beans or items for the cafe. Before you collect the money, you have the option to watch an ad in order to double your money.
Income is also generated by quick-tapping on Senpais to get coins. Keep tapping them for coins and eventually, they will max out and give you a gem. This can be done once on each Senpai daily.
The game has a “Collection” tab in the main menu and gives your cafe a rating by how much you’ve collected. Each Senpai has a pre-determined amount of visits they need to hit before certain actions happen.
1 – Collect All Senpais. In the main menu under Senpai List, you can see all the Senpais who have visited your cafe. As stated above, you will need to find the right combination of furniture, beans, and circumstances to unlock each Senpai.
2 – Collect All Love Notes. Use the same items and coffee beans to bring back the same Senpai over and over until you unlock his first threshold, the love note. Each Senpai has a uniquely written note on a qunique piece of stationary.
3 – Collect All CGs. CGs are photos. The first obtainable CG is a Senpai’s confession. Each Senpai has 1-2 additional story CGs, unlocked after an additional amount of visits. You can track your progress in the CG Collection tab only after you unlock the confession CG. Each Senpai also has a special birthday CG to unlock. To trigger this, the Senpai needs to visit your cafe on his birthday. This can take a year to complete, but birthday CGs can be purchased for gems to be completed sooner. There are also in-game events that you can earn CGs for, such as Christmas and White Day, and they can also be purchased for gems.
I thoroughly enjoy the casual atmosphere of this game. It can be played at your own pace and is fairly non-linear. For me, the game started unbearably slow, and it took awhile to grasp how the game worked. It doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things, though, and it certainly doesn’t take long to make gold. You’ll be able to afford to buy bulk in rare coffee beans and higher-priced items sooner than you may expect.
Though you can purchase gems in-game for real money, it’s not a game that’s stingy with the higher level currency. At all. Once you can afford the rarer beans, some Senpais pay for their visit in gems.
The art style of this game is beautiful. I love the chibi characters and the mystery of what the fully illustrated Senpais look like when you get their CGs. The CGs are well-drawn and add a true element of Otome to this game.
As far as gameplay, it feels very repetitive. While focusing on several specific Senpais to raise hearts with (since there are 5-10 tables), there isn’t a whole lot to do in the game but refill the coffee pot every time it’s empty and wait. I don’t feel there is enough to do on the down time, other than poking the cafe attendees a few times to shake some extra coinage out of them.
This game isn’t for me in the long run, and I lost interest after 2 weeks of casual play. If you enjoy casual play or want a game that requires checking back in on occasion around more intensive games, this might be worth a play. It’s definitely worth picking up if you enjoy collection games and the Otome flair.