‘Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly’ Review: A Touching Continuation

Coffee Talk Episode 2 is the sequel set 3 years after the first Coffee Talk. With returning cast from the original game and a couple of additional characters, new ingredients and concoctions to make; the game explores the characters further through new storylines, struggles, and ambitions — and even some new gameplay features. 

With the first Coffee Talk being known for its beautiful pixel art, mellow music, and especially its relevant and emotional stories told through the individual characters, Coffee Talk Episode 2 refines the formula that made Coffee Talk the game that everybody loves. The characters feel more alive, the music is more chill and comfy, and even the art looks better. It’s clear that they understood what made the game great and continued to run with it. 

In Coffee Talk Episode 2, you revisit the old cafe with the returning cast and some additional characters. Having the first person you meet be Officer Jorji felt nostalgic, reminiscent of the rainy days of the first game. As the game is called Coffee Talk, you share drinks, stories, and conversations with your patrons, learning new parts of them.

With the first game addressing social issues such as race and social class, Coffee Talk Episode 2 focuses more on the individual characters and their interpersonal issues. The many issues that they explore and the way the dialogues were written gave the characters more dimension to their quirky personalities and traits; it made them feel actually alive. During some of the deep one-on-one conversations you have with the characters, I forgot that I was talking to a computer program because I was so immersed, and it made me feel like I was talking to an actual person.

In terms of the comfy barista vibes, Coffee Talk Episode 2 nails it within the opening night of the game with heavy rain pouring and thunder roaring in the background as the cafe music seeps into your ears. The ambient rain does sound significantly lowered even at maximum volume, and I personally wished they not only made the ambient sounds louder but also allowed the player to control the rain volume manually.

A new addition to the narrative gameplay gives the players the ability to give items to the characters. The characters will sometimes leave an item, either accidentally or on purpose, for you to give back to them or to another character. During the first game, the story only changes to a certain degree when you either present the right drinks or the wrong ones. With the item giving mechanic, it adds the illusion of choice which makes Coffee Talk Episode 2 feel like it has increased in dimensionality and player agency within the game.

Another additional feature added into Coffee Talk Episode 2 is within the social media app ‘Tomodachill’. The game introduces a stories tab, where the characters share their thoughts as they would to Twitter, a text-based web page with photos. The photos are saved into the Gallery of the game for players to review again if they ever miss it. It’s a cute little addition that brings more light to how the character thinks and feels that day before they show up to the cafe.

Verdict: 9/10

The game genuinely feels like an upgrade from the first, with all the new gameplay elements and meaningful stories told through both old and new characters. The new original music sounds amazing and visuals are breathtaking for a pixel art game. Even if the game doesn’t introduce any big changes that would alter the core gameplay loop significantly, it is still a game that delivers a great story and narrative. Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is a must have for anyone who loves a wonderful and thorough story.

This review was contributed by Darren Barker, streamer and co-founder of The Cham Drinkers. Follow him on Twitter and Twitch.

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