Coffee Talk 2 review
Image via Toge Productions

Review: Coffee Talk 2 Presents Warm But Bland Comfort

The days are getting longer and the weather is getting hotter, but Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly brings with it that sweater weather comfort. It is a slow-paced and comfy game that combines the visual novel and brewing simulator genres. As a game that mostly centers on its characters, it stands to reason that they’re all very likable. For better and for worse, the strong writing really hammers home just how West Coast everyone is.

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The premise of Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is more or less the same as the first game. You play as the owner of the cafe Coffee Talk, where beings both natural and supernatural gather and, well, talk. Each character has a very distinct personality and goal, with connections that they forget either throughout the course of the game or already had from the last one. I actually never played the first game, but I never felt lost on who everyone was. The game did a great job introducing everyone in a very natural way. New additions aside from more characters are the hibiscus and butterfly pea teas. Incidentally, adding normal milk to a tea with dried hibiscus in it IRL is absolutely horrible. I cringed until I realized I was making lattes in the game.

Coffee Talk Episode 2 and its new characters Riona and Lucas

Image via Toge Productions

Coffee Talk boasts beautiful pixel art and a wonderfully pleasing aesthetic, from the colors to the music. I unironically listen to this kind of “coffee shop music” sometimes when I work, so it was really easy to stay focused on the slow-paced story. The new “main” characters Lucas and Riona are really interesting from both a design and a narrative perspective. A little detail I liked was Officer Jorji making a dumb dad joke on the game’s Twitter parallel, and Lucas (essentially a nice Paul brother) was the only person to like it. Jorji’s posts don’t tend to get a lot of likes compared to a lot of the other characters. So Lucas liking Jorji’s bad joke endeared me to him after his somewhat rambunctious introduction.

Coffee Talk Episode 2 and its pretty pixel art

Image via Toge Productions

One of the main themes in Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is what we leave behind in our lives. Lucas and Hyde’s plots in particular really center on this. To my memory, I don’t believe I’ve consumed a piece of media that had this as a main focal theme. It’s an interesting one, especially in our current day, to tackle and the game does a great job on linking this theme with the anxieties that a young adult faces as they enter society. Everything always moves so fast and there is always a need for more. I keep bringing up Lucas and I don’t even like him that much. But his line, “What’s the point of being born if nobody is going to remember us?” really resonated with me. What legacy—tangible or invisible, permanent or fleeting—do you suppose you’ll leave in this world?

Clearly, the characters are the main selling point of the game. After all, the only thing you really do in it is watch their interactions. But there’s something really inorganic about the conversations. Everyone feels overly considerate to the point that they no longer feel realistic, even though the characters themselves are. They all have their good points and their flaws, and their problems are ones that are definitely relatable. But there is no tension in any of the arguments or troubles since the characters all talk to each other or you in a way that goes so out of the way to not hurt any feelings that it’s unnatural. Or supernatural, I guess you could say.

Coffee Talk Episode 2 and its way of talking

Image via Toge Productions

Jokes aside, it’s pretty crazy how there is such a wide spectrum of personalities, yet everyone feels the same. This is because they almost all, barring vernacular and tone, talk in the same overly-sensitive manner. So the conversations can get a little monotonous, especially if you play multiple hours in one sitting. The lack of a common plot thread can add to that. While Hyde’s issues of wanting a new job where he can make a mark (and have fun) can link up with Lucas’s, it’s a little hard to tell why we spend so much time with, say, Aqua and Myrtle. Silver and Amanda, despite their interesting premises, also kind of just faded into the background. So it sometimes feels like you’re just reading a cute but ultimately “meaningless” short story. I suppose that’s the true Seattle coffee shop experience though.

Coffee Talk Episode 2 Challenge Mode

Image via Toge Productions

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is a slow and comfy game with legitimately interesting subplots and a beautiful aesthetic. It’s one that feels the most enjoyable in short bursts rather than a long marathon. For those who wish solely to experience the brewing factor, there are modes to experiment with the various ingredients and create drinks based on customer demands. There’s not much of a time attack, so it feels very casual, much like the rest of the game itself.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is readily available on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC.

7
Coffee Talk Episode 2

Coffee Talk is a coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator about listening to fantasy-inspired modern peoples’ problems, and helping them by serving up a warm drink or two. Switch version reviewed.

Dust off your coffee machine and prepare your warmest smile to meet your customers again in the second episode of the much loved coffee brewing and heart-to-heart talking simulator; Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly. Coffee Talk 2 is a beautiful game with fun characters and interesting themes, but can sometimes fall flat in its presentation.

Food for Thought
  • Though I liked the characters well enough, I found it very difficult to care about them. In fact, because Amanda was just so bizarre, I liked her the best just for sticking out.
  • There are multiple endings for each character depending on how you fulfilled their orders. So there could be a different ending for some people that I didn't see. This also adds some replay value to the main story.
  • No joke though, a comfy cafe where everyone is friendly is exactly the place I wanted to frequent when I was in my early twenties.

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Author
Stephanie Liu
Stephanie is a senior writer who has been writing for games journalism and translating since 2020. After graduating with a BA in English and a Certificate in Creative Writing, she spent a few years teaching English and history before fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a writer. In terms of games, she loves RPGs, action-adventure, and visual novels. Aside from writing for Siliconera and Crunchyroll, she translates light novels, manga, and video games.