Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly Review | Oh, how I’ve waited and pined to return to my favourite virtual coffee shop to create and serve delicious beverages, connect with customers and friends about life, and become hooked by the fantasy world they live in. That’s right, I’m talking about returning to the wonderful location of Coffee Talk located within the incredible setting of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly. The game is set within the present year of 2023 but in an alternate reality of Seattle where many species coexist in a forever-changing world, trying to adjust and live their lives in the society they find themselves within. Bringing both old and new characters to the comforting scene of a friendly barista shop, you are able to talk about life, experiences, and expectations over a refreshing cup of varying hot and cold drinks. All you have to do is make their requested drink and be social. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly has been developed by Toge Productions and published by Chorus Worldwide Games to build upon the world we already knew and adored while adding small additions, keeping the game original but fresh; but did it tickle our tastebuds? Read on to find out more.
|Publisher||Chorus Worldwide Games|
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher. This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Beautiful appearance | The 16-bit pixel design of Coffee Talk Episode 2 is almost identical to the first game, other than some nicely updated character models and drinks which is certainly far from a bad thing. The warmth created by the colour palette makes the entire game feel homely with a beautiful sense of security, making it even more pleasant to interact with the customers. The characters all have very unique appearances, given they all have distinctive features, making it incredibly obvious to tell them apart. The attention to detail within the pixel design is genius because it builds upon the already beautiful imagery. The conversations spoke and the entire game wouldn’t be the same without the gorgeous visuals so I’m glad these remained true to the original.
- Soothing soundtrack | A massive round of applause to the artist that provides all the music of Coffee Talk Episode 2, Andrew Jeremy, for his incredibly relaxing mixture of tracks. The Lo-Fi tunes give off an incredibly independent ambience to Coffee Talk and make every second of gameplay an absolute dream to experience. I can understand why the customers feel able to talk about literally anything and everything in a setting that literally makes you feel like you’re in another dimension; where all your worries and troubles seem like a distant memory. The background rain that falls throughout the game also adds to the cosy feeling I experienced in Coffee Talk Episode 2. There is nothing nicer than having a warm beverage to sip as you listen and wait for the cold rain to pass by.
- Cute animations | Although somewhat simplistic, the characters do have noticeable animations that convey their emotions and feelings from time to time when perhaps the player isn’t sure what mood they’re in. My favourite was definitely when they laughed or giggled and their character model would jiggle up and down with a happy facial expression to represent this. Coffee Talk Episode 2 also had animations for when people were frightened, angry, and upset which gave the game more depth perception. Eye movements showed who customers were looking at and/or addressing when talking which was nice because it showed a level of interest rather than having a frozen image. Even when customers would drink, smoke, or interact with their phones – these were all nice touches that brought the game to life.
- New and old characters | Keeping in touch with the original game was always going to be something which connected the two together and that is exactly what the developers have done by keeping old characters and introducing new ones together. Having a mixture of races – including banshee, orc, elf, and succubus to name a few – also made for interesting content as each had different social standing within the world. It was great to see how characters had changed and progressed in life since the first game, providing updates that made me reminisce back to the original. Adding new characters into the world, namely Riona and Lucas, did set the pace of the game from the very beginning as they had a new story to unfold entirely. The mixture of old and new patrons was not what I expected but I thought it was brilliant; building on the original base and not losing touch with fan favourites.
- Replayability | There is an element of replayability to Coffee Talk Episode 2. Whether you serve the correct drinks to your customers and give them certain items at the correct time can be detrimental to how different characters interact with you, changing their story path entirely. Within the achievement list of Coffee Talk Episode 2 are achievements that require you to take these different paths to complete the game. It also gives us the opportunity to explore different conversations and see how relationships change. I’m incredibly impressed that the game, although it has no dialogue options, managed to incorporate exactly this into the barista element. Your barista skills could make or break your customers. Who ever thought a drink could be so important?
- Different modes | As with the original Coffee Talk, Coffee Talk Episode 2 also includes endless mode which comes in two variations – challenge mode and free brew. Challenge mode is all about creating requested drinks correctly within a specified time limit to meet the standards your customer desires. If you’re successful, your time limit will increase and if you’re unsuccessful, it will continue to decrease. This is never ending until the time runs out but the orders so become increasingly more difficult if you aren’t aware of the correct combinations. Free brew mode gives you full control to create numerous beverages with any ingredients you choose – like an experimental mode. You can also choose who you serve which allows players to pick their favourite character. Having a mode which challenges people not only on their knowledge but quick thinking is just what the game needs for those who want a faster pace of gameplay.
- Drink combinations | The inclusion of hibiscus and butterfly in the title is to represent the new ingredients we have to work with when making drinks which are hibiscus and blue pea. Still not sure why ‘butterfly’ was used instead though. There are many combinations that can be brewed but if you play the main story, the drinks you make will be saved to the Brewpad app which can be accessed at any time in case you forget the necessary ingredients to make a certain drink. The developers have also changed the game to make the app accessible when making drinks which was an extremely helpful addition. Although in the main story, you are required to make drinks to the order given, I loved going into the endless free brew mode and trying different combinations out of pure curiosity. I will admit though that the majority of drinks have the same combinations as the first game which I guess was to be expected because it’s the new additions given to us which create the mystery and possibility of new concoctions to experiment with.
- Conversation topics | Each conversation and topic spoken about had me intrigued as I was compelled to listen to them and find out more which allowed me to make my own judgement and perceptions of each character’s dilemma. To be that person they would come to because they felt heard and consoled was a touching feeling. I don’t wish to spoil any of the conversations so I won’t go into detail but I certainly appreciated the different topics which were brought to my attention; a little lighter than the first game to be honest. Some also felt in tune with the modern world and this made them relatable. Although I couldn’t make any decisions with my dialogue, the drinks I made were important in progressing the story of each individual which was a nice touch. Pay attention to those orders!
- Latte art drawing | It’s always nice to add a personal touch to your latte drinks in Coffee Talk Episode 2 by making all sorts of patterns and designs with the milk and etching tools you have at your disposal. I will say that it does feel rather clunky on the controller to make more refined and detailed designs than I managed to achieve just because of the cursor control that seemed a bit jagged. I also think a better method of adding different amounts of milk would have made it easier rather than relying on how hard you press down your trigger. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the numerous attempts at making delicate designs – even if I only had two which I felt were successful in the end.
What we Disliked
- Nothing to dislike! | I can’t say there was anything in Coffee Talk Episode 2 which I disliked in the slightest which is a huge positive in my eyes. Keep up the good work devs!
How long to beat the story | Approximately 5-6 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 8-10 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Coffee Talk, Selective Visual Novels, A Space for the Unbound
A ravishing and toasty experience all within wholesome Coffee Talk is exactly what I was looking for in the sequel of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly. Keeping the original content Coffee Talk is known for was joyous but then adding new characters, updating visuals, and game mechanics while building upon old stories was a monumental triumph. The game looks adorable with music you can recline to. A must-play for anyone who enjoyed the first game or visual novels in general. I’m extremely hopeful another addition will grace our presence in the future; I’ll definitely be there with a cup and saucer in hand, ready and waiting.
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Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!