Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly ulasan: more sweet tales from the fantasy café

Back in the mists of time (January 2020), I was absolutely transfixed by a Japanese novel called Before The Coffee Gets Cold. It’s about a small, cosy café where customers can travel back in time by sitting in a very particular chair, for the length of time it takes for a cup of coffee to go cold. It’s not long by any means, but it affords its cast of regulars the chance to get some closure on an issue that’s often been plaguing them throughout their lives. It’s heart-warming, soppy stuff, but very feel-good. That January was also about the same time I slurped up every last episode of Midnight Diner on Netflix, where a chill Japanese man known only as The Master serves up delicious looking dishes in a tiny, 10-person izakaya from midnight onwards. Put these two things together, and it’s probably no surprise that I liked the original Coffee Talk more than most.

Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is a continuation of that story, set three years later in the same, alternate version of Seattle where elves, werewolves, orcs, mermaids and other fantastical creatures all rub shoulders as city-dwelling citizens in need of a good cuppa. Once again, you play as the owner of the titular late-night coffee shop, brewing up a multitude of exotic hot drinks that you’ll need to match to each customer’s request that night as they tell you their woes.

Get the order right, and you’ll gently nudge their lives in a better slot qris gacor direction, leading to various different endings for its individual cast members, including (for the two main new characters, at least) the option for them to never return to your café ever again if you really balls things up. It’s classic visual novel territory, in other words. Sure, the idea of a coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milky drink being so legendarily good / catastrophically bad that it has the power to change the course of someone’s life still requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but with story arcs that play out across multiple days in the game’s two-week time window, Episode 2 lends itself well for a lot of repeat playthroughs if you want to see every possible outcome.

I’m going to say upfront that I enjoyed Coffee Talk Episode 2 a lot, and if you dug the first game, you’ll no doubt dig this one a lot too. I loved spending more time with this peculiar bunch of characters again, and newcomers Lucas and Riona – an influencer satyr and wannabe singer banshee, respectively – bring a welcome freshness to the pack as they debate the merits, flaws and general murkiness of online prejudices, selling yourself on social media, and finding an audience for your work, whether that’s randos in the ether or more traditional acclaim from lauded establishments.