Coffee Talk Chapter 2 – Hibiscus & Butterfly review: Hot off the coffee press

by Ben Kirby
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I’ve had the pleasure of playing through Coffee Talk Chapter 2 – Hibiscus & Butterfly, following straight on from my initial Coffee Talk review over at Is it more of the same? Does Coffee Talk Chapter 2 take any drastic turns?

Well, the good news is, Hibiscus & Butterfly is more of the same. I loved Coffee Talk, and seeing some old faces back in the coffee shop is wonderful. Carrying their stories on, and meeting new people. Most importantly, making new drinks!

Coffee Talk Chapter 2 Hibiscus & Butterfly - Paper

Hibiscus & Butterfly

Ok, what sets Hibiscus & Butterfly apart from the original Coffee Talk?

Erm, not much really. That’s no bad thing at all. Coffee Talk was almost perfect as it was, and I don’t know exactly what developer Toge Productions could have done to improve it. I suppose that’s why it’s “Chapter 2” rather than “Coffee Talk 2”.

Hibiscus & Butterfly is another gem, a relaxed affair. Serving drinks, watching people interact, and just being a part of a story. You always feel actively involved, despite largely being a bystander in the game.

So, we’ve established that it’s more of the same. Does Hibiscus * Butterfly add anything to the broader world of Coffee Talk and that mythical version of Seattle?

Hibiscus & Butterfly - Blue drink

New and old

Familiar faces are here. Aqua and Myrtle are a more established pair, now. I love this, after seeing them meet and see that relationship grow. A couple of years have passed, and their dialogue has changed in terms of temperament as any couple does.

Jorji is back, and Gala and Hyde are here, too. Then you still have your social media to see others. Watching Freya seemingly flourish after the first game.

New faces are aplenty, too. They don’t quite fit as nicely as the original cast, but that’s more on me for getting comfy with my Coffee Talk friends in the first place. Riona is the face of a lot of the press images, and she’s certainly a character to pay attention to!

You’re seeing more little slices of life unfold. Modern takes on age-old situations. Relatable and nicely written/delivered. Hibiscus & Butterfly delivers the same style of dialogue, but I feel that it doesn’t quite hit the same notes as the original game. Certainly, some dialogue seems longer than it needs to be, and in-game days feel longer.

I wonder if there was a lot more pressure on the team to deliver after such a well-received initial title. Capturing lightning in a bottle twice is no mean feat, after all. Perhaps trying to extend the playtime of the game was an objective here?

Hibiscus & Butterfly adds a new mechanic with items to pick up and give to people. The mechanic itself is straightforward enough. Remembering what you have, and who to give it to is something else. Similar to when you make a drink incorrectly, you can slip up on item giving, too. Impacting your overall ending.

Coffee Talk Chapter 2 customer at the counter

Coffee life

I think it’s reasonable to say that Hibiscus & Butterfly doesn’t quite feel as cosy and smooth as the first chapter of Coffee Talk. However, if this was the first Chapter, I wonder if I’d have the same comments to make.

Regardless of dialogue length and writing that feels a little blunter, Hibiscus & Butterfly still delivers the goodness of Coffee Talk, and I’ll be honest, that’s all I wanted.

As I’ve grown older and worked in higher-pressure jobs. It’s occurred to me that I’d just love to run my own coffee shop. Sure, this is pure fantasy, and real life is likely far less appealing than being a bystander to the lives of elves, aliens and succubi. Coffee Talk helps me scratch a personal itch, kind of. Butterfly & Hibiscus gives me that without being a simulator game. I get to live out this pure fantasy in the most fantastic way.

The tea and coffee combinations that are pulled in from recipes all over the world, are wonderful and have let me start thinking about new drinks I could be making at home, too! As a devout home barista, this kind of inspiration does wonders for me.

Feeling connected to characters and the wider story of this version of Seattle is still core to the game, and Hibiscus & Butterfly delivers this experience again, in spades.

I just want more and more of this. I truly hope Coffee Talk becomes a long-running series.

Hibiscus & Butterfly doesn’t quite have the same flow as the original entry of Coffee Talk. New drinks and customers, tied in with old, familiar faces and new stories, means that you’re getting back into a cosy spot, though.

I highly recommend Hibiscus & Butterfly.

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