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Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is a cafe simulator and visual novel developed and published by Toge Productions. This is a thrilling sequel to the original Coffee Talk which was released in January 2020. Your job is to catch up with some old friends, meet some new ones, and keep the drinks flowing!

The Graphics

Coffee Talk Episode 2 goes for a pixelated art style that is incredibly well executed. The Cafe remains mostly the same but has the addition of a couple of shelves that have items added to them as the story progresses. Most of the characters aren’t human, with there being a number of familiar fantasy races. All of the characters are well-drawn and no one looks out of place. Additionally, all of the special drinks have their own art and some of them are so creative. 299.792.458 with a little rocketship made of foam and Queimada which has little purple flames are some notable examples.

The Gameplay

Both Coffee Talk games are at their heart visual novels. That means, there is more reading than there is gameplay. Customers will come in and chat with you and amongst themselves about what’s going on in their lives. Being a coffee shop, they’ll order a multitude of different drinks. This transitions to the making of drinks. There are bases like Hibiscus and Blue (Butterfly) Pea and secondary ingredients such as mint and honey. If you make a latte, you’re able to make latte art. And sometimes, customers will either leave things behind or give you things to hold onto for others. The next time someone comes in, you can return it or maybe give it to a known friend of theirs.

Overall, the gameplay has remained the same but with the new additions for more drinks. Since this game is very narrative-focused instead of its gameplay, it does enough to feel new without abandoning what made it special.

Aside from playing through the story, there is also Endless mode. This consists of either Free Brew or Challenge Mode. Free Brew, as the name implies, lets you experiment with making drinks. There is a catalog of different recipes that all start locked barring a couple of simple starting drinks. As you progress throughout the story many will be unlocked. However, you won’t unlock them all this way which is where Free Brew comes in. Play around with the ingredients until you unlock all the recipes for an achievement. Challenge Mode on the other hand presents you with an endless line of customers ordering increasingly complex drinks. You’ll need to unlock all the recipes to get very far as eventually they’ll begin to ask for specific drinks you may not have unlocked otherwise.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack in Coffee Talk Episode 2 was composed by the returning Andrew Jeremy who worked on the original. The soundtrack is made of Lofi tracks, with a couple actually being tied in with the story as collaborations with one of the characters. The tracks are long enough and there are enough of them so that it’s rare to hear repeats on the same night. Very cool attention to detail is that on some nights, the storms outside will make power flicker in the cafe. The music that’s playing will skip alongside the lights as it’s supposed to be actually playing through speakers. Any fan of Lofi will fall in love with the soundtrack and it’s a fantastic fit for the game.

The Story

The story of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly takes place a few years after the original. During this time it’s implied that many of the characters you meet and befriend in the first game continued to stop by in that time. Some more frequently than others. Hibiscus and Butterfly introduces three new characters with an intriguing story to tell. Over the course of two weeks, each character is involved in a number of different subplots. Serving the correct drinks is essential as the game will penalize you via characters maybe not telling you the whole story or will stop showing up. A tip for players is that most drinks will have a unique name when prepared correctly. Additionally, returning lost items to their respective owners as well as delivering things on behalf of others also ensures you get the best outcomes.

A small grievance I have is that some characters only show up two or three times whilst others come by every other night. It makes sense when you think about it realistically but it leads to the following happening twice: Characters will show up at the beginning of the two weeks and lay their subplot on you. If you get their drink wrong that night, you won’t figure out what happens until close to the end of the two weeks.

Thankfully the game allows you to replay each night separately, allowing you to go back and fix your mistakes. It would have been nice, however, if there was at least one more night you see them to get an update on how things are going. It’s not a major drawback by any means, but it can cause you to forget about those characters especially since the narrative tends to focus on a select few.

My Thoughts

I’d say that Coffee Talk Episode 2 was a very successful sequel to the original. I appreciate they didn’t fix something that wasn’t broken. Catching up with the characters was interesting as it really feels like they’ve been living their own lives in the meantime. I did find it unfortunate that my favorite character only has a very brief appearance at the very end. I called it from the beginning that this is when they’d turn up. However, you don’t really get time to catch up with them before the final fade to black. It makes sense when you look at it as a game since you want to devote the lion’s share of the game to the new characters. Overall, all the characters barring one (purposely) feel like real people.

It seems unlikely we’ll get an Episode 3 but if we do I expect it’ll be a few years yet. I highly recommend picking up both games. As of right now, only Starfield is a possible rival to my personal GOTY. Toge Productions certainly knows how to make a good game and Cofee Talk is something special you need to experience for yourself.

This review was conducted on a copy given by the Development Studio.

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Coffee Talk

$14.99
10

Graphics

10.0/10

Gameplay

10.0/10

Soundtrack

10.0/10

Story

10.0/10

Pros

  • Cozy Atomsphere
  • Incredible Soundtrack
  • Diverse Cast

Cons

  • Some Nights Can Drag On

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