Hi there and welcome to Qualbert Cafe. Grab any seat you like. Your order of a hot and delicious Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly Review is coming right up.
Do you enjoy video games? If you are here reading this, I’m guessing the answer is yes. I love video games. Writing reviews for a website probably makes that clear enough. But, you know what else I love? Coffee.
I live in Melbourne, Australia – the coffee capital of the country, if not the whole world. There are over 2500 cafes in the city and plenty more businesses that also have a coffee machine lying around. Coffee is my rejuvenation potion, my fountain of youth, my elixir of life. So what better than an opportunity to bring together two of my loves?
This isn’t the first time that coffee and games have met though – we’ve previously reviewed the wonderfully bold brews of Necrobarista: Final Pour, so coffee and videogames is a blend we’re familiar with. Our first sip of Coffee Talk was back in January 2020 and was reasonably well received, given it is nestled squarely in niche visual novel genre of games.
Seattle. Coffee capital of the USA… but not the world.
Developer Toge Productions and publisher Chorus Worldwide have now returned with another piping hot cup under the moniker Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly. Have they pulled the perfect shot and re-captured the charming sensibilities of the original for the second serve? Or has this one come out of the machine burnt and over-extracted? Take a seat and find out.
Coffee Talk 2 Review – Story
The original Coffee Talk put players in the role of a cafe owner/barista in an alternate universe version of Seattle. Things seemed kind of normal until Vampires, Elves, Dwarves and various other creatures of the night pulled up a stool. Other than the nature of these creatures though, everything else is normal – they work, they have families and the usual problems that we have in the society of today.
Good evening indeed. Who was first…the, uh, huge werewolf that is covered in scars?
As the local Barista, it was our job to be a listening ear whilst also brewing up a storm. We laughed, we cried and we helped our customers solve their problems. Apparently our job was not done though because customers both old and new are back for more.
Now all we need are some customers!
Many characters from the first game have returned in Coffee Talk 2, but there are a bunch of new and strange entities to serve as well. There certainly isn’t any need to have played the first game for the purpose of knowing the characters that are returning, or their backstories. However, there are plenty of references to the events of the first game which is nice for those that had a chance to play it.
Each of the characters that we interact with in Coffee Talk 2 are unique and interesting. They have detailed social circumstances that we slowly unravel over the course of the game, and their personalities allow them to clearly espresso their feelings about what is happening in their life – and we are there to listen. The interactions between these strange beings can be quite hilarious at times – enough to make you spit out your brew.
However, even immortal vampires, bleak banshees and sexy succubi have their own deep, dark, personal issues. Even though these are mystical beings, their problems do have real-world connotations – relationship issues, career problems and racism are topics that will strike a chord with many players.
The second image is exactly what I’m like without a coffee in the morning.
Depending on choices made during the game (specifically, what drinks we make) the customers have multiple ‘endings’ so we can see both good and less good outcomes. As such it is essential to understand the game’s beverage making system so we can continue to sling that caffeinated goodness and keep the customers happy.
Coffee Talk 2 Review – Gameplay
Visual Novels are known for having fantastic stories, but typically ‘shallow’ gameplay. Coffee Talk 2 is no different to the standard visual novel style. You’ll find yourself spending a lot of time clicking through dialogue, though as noted above, the story is great. The ‘gameplay’ revolves around two simple tasks only. Firstly, making beverages to order.
I wouldn’t exactly call this a challenging task though. There are three elements to select when making any drink – the base, middle and top sections. Customers will make specific requests and may clearly ask for a coffee with milk and honey. Alternatively, at times they can be a little cryptic, or simply may not provide all of the information clearly. There are also some specialty beverages with secret recipes that may not be immediately clear.
You can make your beverage look pretty with some latte art before service (if it has milk as an ingredient). Fortunately, the game does allow you to ‘trash’ a beverage and re-make it to ensure you have the right one. However, once discovered you can pull up your phone to look up recipes at any time. The phone also has a few other functions including some social media apps that you can use to, ahem, stalk your customers online.
I like playing my Switch in bed too… usually with less tentacles though.
The second gameplay mechanic revolves around a handful of items that are either given to us, or accidentally left at the cafe, by the customers. These can be given to anybody when serving them a beverage. Selecting the correct person will progress their story towards their ‘good’ ending. Whereas the wrong recipient may only provide some awkward and/or hilarious dialogue.
Coffee Talk 2 Review – Presentation
If you have played or seen the original Coffee Talk, then don’t expect anything different here. This is a pixel art indie that has very little in the way of ‘animation’. However, there is a gorgeous style here that I think looks excellent, even on a large TV screen.
One of the game’s strongest elements is definitely the lo-fi soundtrack that plays constantly in the background. My wife and I love having this type of music on in the background when we are reading (or when she is reading and I am playing the Switch). Coffee Talk 2 captures the perfect cafe music mood. I just love what is on offer here and you can move through the game’s playlist at any time through the phone’s music app.
Lost yourself in the chill lo-fi beats of the Coffee Talk 2 main theme.
Visual novels are not for everyone. Even personally I typically avoid them. However, after playing three truly massive games in a row all of which have been reviewed here at Qualbert (Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Hogwarts Legacy and Tales of Symphonia Remastered) I wanted something simple gameplay wise. Something relaxing. Something short but enjoyable. Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly was exactly the type of game I was looking for.
Though the game itself can be played through a single time in a handful of hours, there is some good replayability here due to the various character stories/endings, PlayStation Trophy support (with a helpful tracking screen in-game) and a great gallery of cute and hilarious pictures to unlock.
Extra! Extra! Visual Novels are great!
Let me be the one to get the brew ha ha happening for Coffee Talk 2. Toge Productions have definitely served up some liquid gold here. If you are looking for a cute story with interesting characters and simple gameplay then this might be the game for you. Though it will be served up on every platform, the morning buzz is that Coffee Talk 2 is releasing day one on Xbox Gamepass – so anybody on that platform in particular has no excuse not to wake up and pour themselves a cup of Joe.
So, why should you play Coffee Talk 2?
- A great relaxing game to pass the time with some friendly alternate universe entities
- Plenty of coffee to go around, even if many of the beverages don’t have any caffeine
But, why shouldn’t you play Coffee Talk 2?
- If you are wanting a game with action – this certainly isn’t it
- The art style isn’t for everyone (but if you don’t like the music something is wrong with you)
A review code on PlayStation 4 was kindly provided by Toge Productions for the purpose of this review. All done with your Coffee Talk 2 review and ready to make another order? The menu for our other reviews is right here. You can also follow us on Facebook or join the gaming discussion on our Discord Server!