A Return To Coffee & Conversation

HIGH New characters and new storylines, more combination options.

LOW More of the same, if that’s a bad thing.

WTF SPOOKY! Alien dating problems continue?

The first Coffee Talk took a laid-back, character-focused approach to visual novel storytelling. It was set in a fictional coffee shop in a fantasy version of modern-day Seattle, complete with orcs, elves, succubi, cat people, and more. When I discovered that a sequel was being produced, I eagerly jumped on and was not disappointed.

Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly serves up what I loved in the original — and more of it.

In the first, there was a focus on experimenting with menu-based drink combinations, and nailing a customer’s order rewarded the player with more of their story. It’s a simple matter of combining up to three ingredients in an attempt to match whatever flavor profile they’ve asked for. Black coffee would be coffe+coffee+coffee, while a sweet latte might be coffee+milk+honey, and so forth.

Coffee Talk 2 has similar mechanics, but now has more options on the menu and an additional item system (of sorts) where customers might give me an item (or accidentally leave one), and it must be given to the correct person at a later date. For example, returning a cop’s forgotten lighter might reveal a bit of the script that would otherwise be missed.

I forgot about this new mechanic the first time it came up (and honestly, it’s easy to forget!) but it was a simple matter to reload a save and perform the task to see how it turned out. It’s a welcome addition to the formula without changing too much of the make-a-drink/hear-some-story core gameplay loop.

The new characters I was introduced to in Hibiscus & Butterfly were intriguing, such as an aspiring opera singer banshee and a satyr influencer. More aliens and an evolution of the alien character from the prior game were also present, in addition to others.

One thing on my mind was that the previous Coffee Talk felt like it tied up many of its storylines and conflicts, so I was curious what we were going to get this time around — I was glad to see that Coffee Talk 2 found natural continuations to some of those stories. While it’s an urban fantasy version of Seattle, the characters often struggle with social issues (racism, prejudice, etc.) that mirror what we face in our own world, only through a funhouse lens. The writing is strong here, and the chats feel like relatable, down-to-earth anxieties and tribulations whether the person has horns or not.

One story that stood out to me was about the Banshee who had been hurt following her dreams of becoming an opera star, only to settle for work as an Uber-like driver. She talks over her issues, what holds her back, and she gets help along the way. Likewise, it was great to check in on tales that continue from the first installment, such as the game designer girlfriends who not only need to work on their relationship communication, but to also become more confident in tackling obstacles together.

Like the first Coffee Talk, Hibiscus & Buterfly delivers a delicious cup in the form of new stories, characters, and a lil’ shot of revised gameplay mechanics, and these elements all blend into a delicious mix that I love to cuddle up on the couch with.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Disclosures: This game is developed by Toge Productions and co-published by Toge Productions, Serenity Forge and Chorus Worldwide Games Limited. It is currently available on XBO/X/S,PS4/5,Switch, PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC (Steam Deck). Approximately 6.5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode. The game was finished. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains: Alcohol Reference, Use of Tobacco, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Language.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. (See examples above.) There are no voiced lines in the game, it’s all text. There are no audio cues. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized. This game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. The thumb stick selects different items, X will bring up the phone menu to see different social media content in the game’s world, as well as drink recipes. A is select, B back. Etc.

Nikki Waln
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