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This year, for Gameffine’s yearly Fantasy Critic League, I pledged to only pick games that I would 100% play. Coffee Talk Episode 2 was one of those games. I had first played the original last year, and was pleasantly surprised by its chill vibe and the laid-back gameplay. So when Episode 2 came around, I looked forward to picking the game up and taking it along with me everywhere on my Steam Deck. Because on paper, it looked like the perfect game to pick up an hour before you go to sleep. But does it stand up to the tests of expectations, let’s find out.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is a visual novel casual café barista simulator with a focus on conversations. The game was developed and primarily published by Toge Productions. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly was release on 20th April 2023 for PC, Xbox One/Series S/Series X, Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4/5.

A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name…

You reprise the role of the owner of the titular coffee shop set in a modern alternate fantasy Seattle where werewolves, elves, and aliens live in a strenuous harmony with each other. The overall game hasn’t changed much, and for the most part that’s comforting.

As a barista, you’ll need to make various drinks to satisfy your customers’ cravings, while also listening to their problems and offering advice. Some patrons will return from the first game, while others will be new to the series. The retro art style and Lo-fi background music make a comeback, creating a relaxing and nostalgic atmosphere.

The gameplay in Coffee Talk Episode 2 is quite simple and straightforward. You’ll need to make drinks by following recipes, which are displayed on a small notepad. Each recipe requires specific ingredients, and you’ll need to mix them in the correct order. You’ll need to pay attention to what your customers say. Because sometimes they would be specific in their wants, and other times they would want to be surprised, kind of like those AI tools who need a prompt.

A Place To Try Something New…

Not a lot has changed when it comes to Episode 2. Hibiscus and Butterfly (the flower and not the animal), are the new ingredients that are being added “to the mix” this time, giving you even more options than last time. A lost and found drawer has been added which allows you to return and forward items with characters this time around, which adds another layer of interactions.

The game however has a very high threshold for failure, and the penalty for serving up the wrong drink is mostly limited to a changed dialogue. The same can be said about your conversation as well, as most of them seem to be set in stone. You don’t have much choice on how you respond to your patrons questions, and it rarely matters. To be honest, this is what disappointed me the most, as I was expecting some branching storylines this time around. However, I also understand putting in this feature would have meant there was an optimized path to play the game, and that would go against the entire ethos of this game.

Ohh, and also there is a cat, that keeps appearing for some reason. I am still figuring out why, but it reminds me of a short story by Haruki Murakami. But that’s probably not it.

A Place To Chill…

The graphics in Coffee Talk Episode 2 are charming and retro. The pixel art style is reminiscent of classic games from the 90s, and the character designs are colourful and imaginative. The backgrounds of the coffee shop and the city outside are also well-drawn and add to the game’s atmosphere.

The lofi background music is another highlight of the game. The jazzy tunes are relaxing and soothing, creating a mellow and nostalgic vibe. The sound effects are also well-done, from the clinking of the cups to the sizzling of the coffee machine, and of course that doorbell chi176me which announces a new guest to your café. The soundtrack from the first game, had found its way to my office playlist, and I am confident that the same will happen again.

A Place To Remember

Coffee Talk Episode 2 is a great game to wind down to every night. But for people looking to be challenged, this might not be for them.

Ultimately, the reason you would like Coffee Talk Episode 2 is because you liked Coffee Talk before it. That’s because this is what your “Chill out” fantasy looks like. Sharing coffee with a diverse but core set of people, some old, some new, late at night, with rain outside, in a cosy café with Jazz playing in the background, feeling safe, feeling vulnerable, feeling chatty.



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