Super Barista comes across like a frenetic mash-up of arcade classic Tapper, a tower defence game, and an especially demanding shift in a futuristic branch of a popular coffee establishment.
Each shop boasts a grid layout, suspended in space, with entrances marked in green and exits in red. You site dispatch droids and tables on available nodes, and then open the doors to customers.
Each marches along until finding a table. If there are no empty ones, they'll stomp out of the exit, and you'll lose a star. Three unsatisfied customers and it's game over.
Time is therefore of the essence. Additionally, customers are picky and each requires a specific drink.
Early levels are a case of noting who's sat down, selecting relevant coffees from slide-out button-based menus, and dispatching your server droid.
If you're deft of finger, suitably organised and extremely attentive, you'll manage to earn combos, by sending out a half-dozen drinks at once.
This gets you tips, swelling your coffers so you can upgrade tables or buy more. Mostly, though, Super Barista is a juggling act - only you're juggling hot coffee and likely to get burnt.
Bean and gone
The big problem is it gets difficult far too quickly. So eager is the game to keep shaking things up, you're never given time to settle.
Usually, it's laudable when a developer doesn't churn out dozens of samey levels before making minor changes, but here the player could do with being eased in.
Instead, every level flings something new at you – teleporters, floor switches, multiple dispatchers for separate areas - sometimes resulting in major difficulty spikes.
The first end-of-section level is murderously difficult, in part requiring you to sate a VIP guest that requires their own specific droid and station, and downs gallons of coffee in an instant.
And once you get past that, you're faced with faster customers, and more of them to recognise and serve their unique brew.
What's frustrating is everything else about Super Barista is, well, super. The graphics are lovely, and a jolly tune plays throughout.
When customers get their caffeine fix, they pleasingly beam up. There's a collectable card sub-game, too, boasting impressive pixel art by a range of talent.
But the juggling act is too often tiresome and frustrating, to the point you feel this is a game that decided to grab the shiny Pocket Gamer medal it should have been awarded and attempt to clobber you to death with it.
I really wanted to like Super Barista. It has a lot going for it and feels very much like a labour of love.
But its unforgiving nature is such that it doesn't appear to love enough of the people who'll be playing it.