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Sipping in Style: Coffee Talk’s Sequel Offers More Than Just a Cup of Joe

Coffee Talk is a unique game that centers around coffee and conversations. The game takes place in an alternate version of Seattle, where mythical creatures like harpies, elves, vampires, and werewolves live alongside humans. The player assumes the role of a barista at a late-night café and interacts with regular customers who share their personal problems and seek advice while enjoying their favorite beverages. The sequel, Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly, follows a similar format to its predecessor and takes place a few years later, in the same coffee shop, and in the same rainy version of Seattle.

The gameplay consists of a series of days where the player reads newspaper headlines and waits for the first customer to arrive. As a barista, the player is known for putting customers at ease, and they readily open up about their lives. Some of the returning characters include the elf and succubus couple who are planning their wedding and the alien who is trying to adapt to life on Earth. New characters are also introduced, and the game uses supernatural creatures to explore human emotions and experiences. Although the game features fantastical creatures, it tells deeply human stories that players can easily relate to.

During gameplay in Coffee Talk, customers will order drinks, which is where the main interactive component comes into play. The concept is straightforward: you have a shelf of ingredients, and each drink requires a combination of three of them. Sometimes customers will provide specific orders, while other times, you’ll receive hints and need to experiment. As you progress through the game, you’ll accumulate a nice collection of recipes, which are all saved on your phone. You can also access a Twitter-like social network for gossip and daily short stories. There isn’t much penalty for getting a drink order wrong, aside from some modified dialogue, making it low-pressure and enjoyable for those who may not excel in latte art.

Hibiscus & Butterfly introduces new elements, such as colorful tea blends that expand the types of drinks you can make, a lost and found drawer for returning key items to characters, and a cat that appears periodically for no apparent reason. However, these features don’t alter the game significantly. The second episode primarily serves as an opportunity to catch up with the characters and witness how they’ve changed over the past few years while assisting them through the next stage of their lives. Although the writing can be stilted at times, I relished simply hanging out and listening to the individuals I’ve grown to know and understand over the course of two games. The conclusion is particularly heartwarming.

The entire game takes place inside a café that has been designed for maximum relaxation, which contributes to its appeal. The sound of rain falling perpetually, along with the lo-fi beats soundtrack, creates a peaceful ambiance. The warm and inviting pixel art visuals, filled with familiar faces and steaming mugs, are also comforting. The act of creating warm beverages, although simple in the game, is still extremely satisfying, particularly when you successfully prepare a drink to your customer’s liking. All that’s missing is the fragrance of freshly brewed coffee.

Although it only lasts a few hours and doesn’t deviate significantly from the original game, that’s okay. Like the patrons in Hibiscus & Butterfly, sometimes all you require is a peaceful environment where you can unwind for a short period.

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