Adventure Corner ~ Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
Welcome to Adventure Corner, a column where members of the RPGamer staff can give their thoughts, impressions, and pseudo-reviews for various adventure titles that don’t come under our usual coverage. Adventure Corner is aimed at delivering opinions on a wide range of titles including visual novels, point-and-click adventures, investigative mysteries, and so forth.
In this edition of the column we take a look at Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly, available now on multiple platforms.
Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly
When Coffee Talk was released in 2020, it was one of my favourite games I played that year. During the pandemic, we weren’t able to go to coffee shops to sit and enjoy conversation over coffee, but the game was a close equivalent. Given how the first episode ended, I was desperate to get my hands on the next episode but had to wait three years for it. The long wait ended in April, and sadly it is now December, and I have just gotten to it. Thankfully, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly was the perfect palette cleanser I needed after a few rough weeks with my health.
Part of Coffee Talk‘s charm comes from its slow-paced and cozy atmosphere. While our barista faces frequent power outages and strange happenings outside the shop, it doesn’t stop them from serving warm drinks and having quaint conversations. With Episode 2 taking place a few years after the first, it’s great to see all of the original characters come back to the cafe and find out how much their lives have changed since Episode 1. Aqua is working on her game with Myrtle’s help, Lua and Baileys are planning their wedding but running into pitfalls before the big day, Rachel is continuing to look for inspiration for her next album — it feels like hanging out with old friends, and catching up.
Coffee Talk Episode 2 also introduces a few new characters in the form of Amanda, Lucas, and Riona. Amanda’s natural curiosity towards humanity is endearing, while Lucas’ influencer personality makes him upbeat. The best of the three, and largely the one with the best arc comes from Riona, a banshee who wants to begin her music career but has tons of anxiety due to how people perceive her race, as well as her complete lack of confidence. Building relationships with all the characters is integral to the experience, and these new characters add another layer to Coffee Talk‘s already intriguing world.
In terms of gameplay, not much has changed from the first episode. Players will serve drinks to various customers who come into Coffee Talk and are tasked with providing them with the correct beverage. Sometimes the patrons will share exactly what they want, and other times they offer a vague hint of what they are looking for. Failure to serve the correct beverages can have hilarious changes in dialogue but also can have extensive consequences, including certain patrons never returning to the cafe. There are a lot of ways in which dialogue options can change in Coffee Talk Episode 2, so it’s worth experimenting to see the results and what ending one might attain.
Also new to Coffee Talk Episode 2 is the inclusion of two new items: the titular hibiscus and blue pea teas. These new teas allow for more unique drink combinations and are often common for making some of the correct drinks. Now, customers may accidentally or purposely leave items behind for our barista to deal with. There’s a nice element of simple problem-solving here, though it’s also fairly easy to accidentally forget to give someone an item they have lost.
The game also brings back its Endless and Challenge modes, where players can explore new drink combinations or challenge themselves to see how many orders they can get correctly within a specific time frame. There is also a mode for simply making latte art if that is your jam. On top of this, players can also select which calendar days they wish to revisit to replay sections of the game and make different choices, which is incredibly helpful.
While I am hopeful for a third episode, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly does a phenomenal job of wrapping up everyone’s storylines in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Although the gameplay remains largely unchanged, Coffee Talk Episode 2 is still a fantastic sequel that keeps all the cozy vibes strong. I adored spending time at this Seattle cafe and it felt like catching up with old friends and finding out how their lives have changed since our last meeting. Not only do we have new friends to learn about, but the ambient vibes of Coffee Talk can easily keep players coming back. This second helping of Coffee Talk is absolutely worth savoring.