Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly is the second episode in the Coffee Talk series. In it, you play as the proprietor of a cozy little coffee shop that’s only open at night. Set in an alternate present-day Seattle, join a cast of fantasy friends and serve up some delicious hot drinks as you explore the world by listening to their stories. Even use your phone to follow their lives outside of the coffee shop via social media, and return lost items to further influence story outcomes.
I’ll be honest, I did not play Coffee Talk. I have only played Coffee Talk 2, but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything vital to the story. I’m sure meeting the characters in Coffee Talk would have made their stories richer, more fleshed out. However, it was easy to settle into the story, overall. The characters are interesting and diverse. They have varying personalities that you get to experience through the conversations you have with them. Each person struggling with their own real-feeling issues, as well as sharing their joys and achievements with you really adds a beautiful, personal touch to the game. You’re more than just a barista at their favorite late-night hangout. These characters feel familiar and real. Nevermind the sass and sarcasm that’s thrown around. You’re genuinely a friend to everyone, and it’s heartwarming.
Setting the Scene
Besides the fun characters, the setting is nice and cozy, too. Set in rainy Seattle, the ongoing rainstorm provides a wonderful sound backdrop. Pair that with the lofi chillhop beats that play and Coffee Talk 2 really has a great, relaxing environment. The overall color palette is pleasing to the eye, too. Some characters wear some bright colors, like Lucas in his bright yellow hoodie, but it’s not overwhelming. The coffee shop is decorated in neutrals and muted colors, too. It’s an easy-to-look at environment that still offers a great variation in color so it’s not boring. It is the perfect cozy environment.
Figuring out what people want to drink via hints (mostly) was an interesting game play element. It not only gives Coffee Talk 2 a sense of replayability so you can discover all of the drinks and outcomes, but makes it a little bit more than just a reading experience. Correctly, or incorrectly, guessing someone’s drink gives you just a touch more immersive play than if you simply read the pre-written dialogue and picked pre-made drinks. Now, you can influence the conversation and other game outcomes by serving drinks. Plus, the latte art portion is fun. I’m by no means good at it, but it’s fun to play with and see what you can make. I made a palm tree once! Accidentally.
This was a chill, relaxing game. It was fun serving drinks, and interesting reading the conversations with everyone. There’s no rush to complete things, and you can save in the middle of a day. Coffee Talk 2 is the perfect cozy visual novel, really. I can’t recommend this enough for anyone looking for a relaxing, no stakes, no pressure game to play. It’s perfect for curling up on a comfy couch, cozy blanket on a rainy day.
Tavern Keeper is a charming business simulation where you get to build and run your very own tavern! You’ll start out with the shell of a tavern out somewhere in the backwater remote area of the kingdom. It’s up to you to build a thriving business by meeting the demands of your customers. And as your profits increase, you can decorate the place, expand your tavern, add new dishes, hire staff, and more!
You’ll play your way through a single player campaign that takes place in a fantasy world full of unique characters. Encounter shape-shifters, skeletons, and more as each day brings you new surprises. Tavern Keeper is also full of simulated details for you to enjoy. You might have days where your staff is sick, or the personality traits of others present an obstacle to your day-to-day. There are dozens of other systems in the game that will keep you on your toes and keep the game play interesting. Don’t worry, though, you’ll have the tools to deal with everything that comes your way!
What’s really promising is the design mode in Tavern Keeper. If you love building and decorating, this might be the game for you. Design mode gives you the creative power to design the perfect tavern. Place a single candle on a table to create a cozy atmosphere, or even make an extravagant pile of pillows in the corner, perfect for relaxing in. You can even share your designs with others with the click of a button!
Coming Next Year
This fun little management sim is expected to release in quarter 3 of 2024! You can find Tavern Keeper on Steam, where you can Wishlist it.
If you loved Coffee Talk and Coffee Talk 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly, then this might be perfect for you! Tavern Talk is another pretty visual novel full of unique characters, fun drinks, and good times!
In Tavern Talk, you walk into a tavern and find yourself the owner of Wayfarer’s Inn. It appears to be a normal inn in the middle of the world, but looks can be deceiving. And you have a special gift! You can infuse beverages with magic that can influence someone’s fate. You’re known for helping the people of the realm via these magical drinks.
You’ll listen to the stories of the unique cast of beautifully designed adventurers that come in. From boasting about their glory or commiserating about failures, you’ll experience a variety of different personalities and tales. Help them find a place that feels like home by building relationships and creating an inviting environment inside the inn. Craft different interesting drinks, while you’re at it, but be careful what you serve. Your drink choices will alter their fate and the path their quests will take. Your choices shape the story of Tavern Talk!
Tavern Talk has no release date listed, but you can find it on Steam. There is a demo available too!
Lost Nova is the perfect cozy game for those of you looking for something without time limits or enemies. You play as the adorable Mia. She lost her way during a vacation and crash landed in some mysterious place. Take your time exploring the world and repairing your ship, plus more!
Discover hints of a bigger mystery in Lost Nova as you wander the world. Why is everyone ending up in this world, and why is it so hard to leave? Make friends with the locals and help them find their way. Teach a ghost how to be spooky, help a single parent with his children, and help a robot work through his artistic burnout. Create a hub for your friends to gather, and watch as the world and people change based on the actions you take.
In Lost Nova, you’re equipped with your trusty salvaging laser which you can use to gather all the resources you could need. Earn money by mining, farming, fishing, and resource gathering. Use that wealth to revitalize the local pet store, where you can buy useful items for your spectral cat pet. Whatever you choose to spend your days doing, do it at your own pace!
Meet Mûn, a Junior Ranger from the Interstellar Patrol, long before the events of Deiland: Pocket Planet and Summer in Mara. Play as Mûn in this tale about growing up, making friends, and connecting with nature. You’ve crash landed on the unexplored planet of Ankora and are stranded there. You’ll need to craft your own tools in order to collect resources to survive in this brand new world. Ankora: Lost Days will have you exploring this beautiful new planet and building your very own home.
Ankora is a mysterious planet with a wide variety of unique biomes to explore. Trek through sandy deserts or snowy meadows, frolic in idyllic meadows and cross magnificent rivers while searching for secrets hidden in Ankora: Lost Days. Even settle down somewhere to build your very own home. You can terraform the area, too, to create your ideal living space. Then, learn new recipes and skills as you explore the planet, and make friends with the anks, a group of toothy humanoid creatures.
Ankora: Lost Days is available now on Steam! There’s even a bundle available that includes Ankora,Summer in Mara, and Deiland:Pocket Planet if you wanted to try all three. You can also find it on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Hometopia is a building simulation that turns you into a home designer and developer in a realistic virtual world. You’ll build your career step by step, starting from the beginning and progressing to professional home designer as you go. Learn the ins and outs of the industry and level up your skills to unlock unique content.
Engage in a dynamic job system that offers a variety of tasks to complete. Successfully execute one-room makeovers or build whole homes from the foundations to the roof. Hometopia gives you the tools to seamlessly create and design for your clients. Enter first person view to get a better look at the interiors, or use overhead view for plotting the area better. Plan layouts of homes and plots by deciding the size and placement of each room. The grid-less designing allows you to place furniture exactly where you want it, and the color wheel lets you pick the perfect colors for each item. There’s even a workshop for custom items so you can achieve the perfectly designed spaces of your dreams!
Hometopia even has player homes for you to create and design with total freedom for yourself. And if you don’t want to design alone, play co-op with up to three others to complete tasks. Solo or together, design homes across five different neighborhoods and build a successful career!
Hometopia will release in just 3 short weeks! September 27th, you’ll be able to grab a copy of this fun home builder on Steam.
Blue Gravity was kind enough to provide a copy of Little Sim World for me to play!
I received a pre-alpha demo version of Little Sim World to play, which means I got an early view of a game that is growing bigger and better nearly weekly. What I saw, however, was already incredibly promising.
What Is It?
Little Sim World is an adorable life sim that draws inspiration from popular games like The Sims, Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley and Pokemon. You are in charge of your very own little cartoon-looking sim person. Start the game by creating one using a number of customization options (with more to come later!), like hairstyles and color, clothing, and facial attributes. Then, pick out different personality traits like favorite foods and quirks. After that, you’re released into the world of London and set in front of your very dingy new home.
Really dingy. Your fence is broken in spots and the paint is flaking. The front door and windows have seen better days. The appliances in the kitchen are dirty and barely fit to use. At least the furniture looks worn, but comfortable and cozy. Your computer, however, looks like the old dinosaurs from way back when that ran Windows ‘95.
Worry not, though! You receive a meager paycheck from unemployment benefits that you can use to survive and maybe even fix up your new home. Or, you can hop on that ancient computer of yours and search for a new job! Pick from one of five career paths like athlete, culinary, science, journalist, or painter. Detective is also listed, but either isn’t available yet, or I haven’t reached an appropriate milestone to unlock it. Either way, you’ll Start with basic jobs like professional fan, dishwasher, lab cleaner, greeting card wordsmith, and brush washer. As you level up in skills and traits, you’ll be able to earn promotions that will get your better pay. Better pay means better food, clothes, and house decorations!
There isn’t too much to the city just yet, but it’s beautifully drawn and animated. There aren’t any transition screens, either, so moving from one activity or building to another is smooth making it feel like a big open world for you to explore. No waiting on a silly dark screen with a loading bar!
You’ll find several useful stores spread throughout London. Buy groceries needed to cook and level up your cooking skills with. Or trot on over to Simon’s Pub for some spirits and ready made meals. Get furniture from Futon Furniture and flooring or wallpaper from D&Y. Berry’s Electronics has all your appliance needs, while Banana21 Apparel provides for all your clothing needs!
Not in the mood for shopping? Head to the gym to get your sweat on. Or go to the library to relax with a good book that’ll level your skills. Perhaps you need to edit your sim’s profile? Pay the Royal Snail a visit and take care of that real quick. The nearby museum is worth a visit, too. You’ll be able to donate items you’ve found to replenish the exhibits, as well as collect stamps for accomplishments. Throw in cars and busses driving around, as well as other people walking along the sidewalks, and London is full of life and things to do!
The design aspect of Little Sim World is super simple. You buy the elements you want from the shops, like wallpaper from D&Y. Then, while at home, you’ll enter the build menu which is laid out in an easy, intuitive manner. There’s a remove tool to not only remove walls and items, but to get some money back for them. You click the design element you want to work with, like wallpaper, and you can click each individual wall you want papered.
Or click and drag to cover the whole room. It’s easy to change whole rooms in this manner. Just be sure you have enough money. Buying the design at the shop merely unlocks the use of it. Placing it costs money too!Placing items is just as easy, too. Select the furniture you want to work with and simply click to place it where you want.
This part of the game is so easy and so simple to learn and do. It was fun designing my sim’s home instead of it being a chore. Switching flooring or rearranging furniture is quick and painless. I can foresee many, many hours spent simply building a fun house.
Little Sim World isn’t just all about the fun shopping sprees and exploring, though. Your sim is essentially a real person. They need to eat, drink, and use the toilet. Bathing is essential to a happy and healthy sim, too. Of course entertainment and exercise needs should be looked after as well.
It’s up to you to fulfill all those needs, and I have to say, that’s a full time job on its own. Maybe it’s because I like to push things instead of balancing my time appropriately, but my sim always feels like it’s starving or needs a shower. Learning to balance my time between working, cooking, having fun, and other needs will take some practice. The challenge is fun, though. It doesn’t feel like a hindrance, but an aspect to rise up to and overcome.
Little Sim World has quite a few other game elements that aren’t included in this early version. Finding love, traveling the city via car, bus, or underground, even having a roommate if you want to play with a friend. And if they implement those with the same care and effort as they’ve done with the rest of what’s in the demo, it’ll be excellent! One of the planned additions is the ability to choose Identity attributes. You’ll distribute points among attributes like smart, health, charm, courage, energy, and luck. I suspect these will help determine how well your sim does in their romantic relationships, as well as maybe their job, and overall life.
There is constantly something to do. Care for the sim’s needs, get them to work on time, and fulfilling tasks are all just what’s available in the demo. Add in romance and whatever exciting new features that are planned for Little Sim World, and it’ll be hard to be bored with the game.
As for designing your home and clothing options, the demo has a limited view of each. I imagine Little Sim World will have a much larger variety of everything upon release and I can’t wait. The clothes and design items are already great. I look forward to even more variety for cute or dark aesthetics!
I for one cannot wait for the full release of Little Sim World. It’s bound to be an adorably great time.
This lovely little game is projected to come out in the beginning of 2024! You can find it on Steam now to add it to your Wishlist.
A terrible storm rages around you and casts your vessel into the rocks of a nearby island. You wake up to your ship in pieces, shipwrecked on an island full of frogs. Discover what there is to find on this strange new island. Mingle with the locals. Also work to repair your ship. You’re in charge of how your adventure unfolds in Time on Frog Island.
Explore the sandbox world at your own pace. Perhaps run around to take in the sights or experiment with items you find. Any item in Time on Frog Island might be useful in your adventures by helping you run faster, jump higher, or fall slower. You never know what will come in handy, so try everything! Get to know the local frog villagers and help them out where you can. Even learn new skills from them, then put those skills to the test around the island!
When you’re not exploring, perhaps try your hand at farming or fishing. You can even brew some potions that will change how you get around the island. And when you’re tired of all that, work on fixing your ship! Ask the residents of Time on Frog Island what items you’ll need for the job. You’ll probably need to complete a quest or do a frog a favor in order to obtain your item, but why not lend a helping hand? You’ll even spend time solving fun puzzles to get your hands on the items you need to repair your ship.