Game: Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
Genre: Adventure, Visual Novel
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS5, Xbox and Steam (Windows, Mac))
Developer | Publisher: Toge Productions | Chorus
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US T
Price: UK £12.49 | EU €14,99 | US $14.99
Release date: April 20th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Stride PR.
As its title suggests, this is the second Coffee Talk game. You will recognize many old faces, but we will also be introduced to some new ones. If you are interested in the first game, you should check out our review here!
Seattle, the city of rain
In the rainy, very rainy city of Seattle, there is a place called Coffee Talk. People gather here to reconnect over a warm and comforting drink. You are the owner of this late-night coffee shop, and every night old and new friends will come to have a warm drink.
The friends that are visiting, however, are not ones you would expect. Things quickly took a strange turn because customers are not always human. In this world, there are a lot of different fantasy species like Banshees, Orcs, Vampires, Satyrs, etc. But as a barista, you listen to all their stories and offer them a nice cuppa.
The unique stories
As mentioned before, the customers of Coffee Talk aren’t always human. In this modern-day Seattle, the world exists of many different magical races, and throughout the game, you will learn about their daily struggles and try to offer them a listening ear and some advice. At first, I didn’t notice that there were customers of other fantasy races, but when a female customer mentioned she was a Banshee, the light bulb finally went on. As a lover of everything fantasy, this was kind of embarrassing, but oh well.
I should point out that this is a visual novel, so much reading is involved. Normally, in other games, the characters have a voice. But in Coffee Talk, that is not the case. This took me a little getting used to, but the super chill and vibey background music totally made up for this.
The famous drinks
Next to the unique stories of all the customers, comes maybe the most important part of the game… a warm caffeinated drink! I think a lot of you nowadays love a good cup of coffee or some new and interesting tea variation. When a customer comes to Coffee Talk, they, of course, want a nice and unique beverage.
Every customer gives a description of the beverage they want, like the colour or the flavours they are looking for; it is up to you to brew it for them. How it works is: You choose three ingredients in total, the first one is the base (coffee, teas, chocolate), and the other two are the primary and secondary flavours. After picking the ingredients, a short animation plays where you make the ordered drink. And it’s ready to serve. If it is a latte, you do have the option to make some latte art. But oh boy, this was so difficult! I tried a few times to make some sort of latte art, but it never turned out well. Luckily the customers didn’t really seem to care all that much.
I do want to give my advice to everyone who reads this review. If you get a vague description of a drink, save your game before making the beverage. That way if you make the wrong drink, you can go back to the save file to make it again. And by doing this, the game will save the special drinks you make in between.
Visuals and Sound
The sound and visuals in this game are such a vibe; that’s just the best way to describe it. A lot of times, I will look for chill playlists on YouTube to do my work or whatever else and this game had that same feeling for me. The music is just chill and they have actually incorporated the played music in some storylines.
The Coffee Talks artwork is called pixel art, which is a little more old school, but really fits the alternative coffee place style. The art style is inspired by 90s anime; think Sailor Moon or the first Pokémon. Especially the way Coffee Talk’s interior looked. The characters in the game made the scenes colourful and unique. Every character has its own bright colour palette, and it really gives flavour to each character and makes the characters pop on screen as well.
I highly recommend this game to anyone who loves visual novels and is looking to soothe their anxiety whilst playing a game. This game helped me to relax at night before going to sleep because it just soothed me. I love that aside from hearing the stories of the customers, you actually make their drinks; this added a lot of extra fun to the game for me.
Another fun addition to the game was that they added a lot of fun little pop culture easter eggs in the dialogues. That made the game feel like it could be real, but just in another realm.
Lastly, I want to mention the playtime. The amount of playtime you get for this affordable game is so worth it in my eyes. It took me a long time to finish the game, and it is definitely replayable when you haven’t unlocked every recipe or have some other achievements to finish.
Final verdict: Two Thumbs Up