Coffee Talk 2-in-1 Double Pack
Developer: Toge Productions
Publisher: Serenity Forge + Numskull Games
Genre(s): Visual Novel, Simulation
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12+
Release Date: 10/11/2023
A physical copy was provided for review purposes
Significance of Success
With an abundance of video games being announced every single day, there is always some significance placed on those that receive a physical release. Some receive one for the commercial success it is sure to bring – indicative of a developer or publisher’s confidence before launch. For others, a physical version is the result of the success it achieved digitally, with a physical release coming later down the line. In other cases, it’s because the game is trying to say something. It has a significant message to share and immortalising it in physical form is important.
In the case of Coffee Talk, or, more specifically, this 2-in-1 Double Pack physical edition, it’s a bit of all of them. There have been prior physical releases of both games, which suggests some commercial success already, and it definitely has a significant message to share. To read a more in-depth look at the original Coffee Talk, check out our Rapid Review here. For the purpose of this review, we will be exploring the two games as a whole and what this physical double pack offers.
Considerations for Collectors
As a collector of physical Switch games, there are always a few elements I like to look out for off the bat. For starters, is it complete on the cart? When a physical releases sometime after the game was made available digitally, I expect it to be the most up-to-date version. As expected, the original Coffee Talk is up to date with no patch required. Thankfully, Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly is also complete on cart even though it is a newer release. An optional patch is available to add support for Indonesian, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish and Russian languages.
The other consideration for a physical collection is whether or not the games appear separately on the home screen. Due to the naming convention, I feared this would not be the case, however, I am pleased to report that both take pride of place in the Switch library. Although some may consider this insignificant, there is something to be said about the fantastic artwork being displayed.
Before delving into the games themselves, there’s one final element of this physical edition that requires discussion: the name. Previous editions of these games have made thematic links to the source material, i.e. Single Shot and Double Shot editions. It is disappointing to see a lack of creativity in naming this collection. The same can be said for the physical artwork, too. Seeing a 2-in-1 Double Pack displayed across the front cover and adorning the spine is an eye sore and cheapens the overall package somewhat. That being said, it is considerably cheaper than the original Double Shot release and goes some way to justify the design decisions made.
As I alluded to earlier, Toge Productions set out to share stories and project messages with Coffee Talk. The team have achieved this through outstanding writing and thought-provoking stories, all interwoven with some silly but enjoyable discussion. Set in 2021 and 2023, respectively, the two games open with deep story beats that set the scene extremely well. There’s a relatability to the discourse which is exceptional, and solidifies this Coffee Talk collection as one important for contextualising the here and now. It also encourages a revisit, something that will prove even more thought-provoking and insightful in years to come.
Both games are soothing on a level I’ve rarely experienced in video games, and they truly capture that feeling of talk in a coffee shop – a relaxed atmosphere, taking in the surroundings, a real respite from the day. It’s so calming that, on occasion, it can offer little incentive to pick up and play. Games are all about mood, and when this mood hits, there’s little out there that can rival it. When you aren’t quite feeling it, though, I doubt you’ll be reaching for the controller. Even though they are short games, relatively speaking, both can be slow burners depending on how you are feeling.
Aesthetically, both games are stunning. The artistry on display is magnificent, and the cast of relatable characters is brought to life in very simple yet effective ways. Some of the developments made in the second game, when coupled with the returning faces from the first game, make Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly the more complete entry of the two. Both games are wonderful in their own right, though.
From the atmosphere it creates and the stories it tells, Coffee Talk is a quintessential indie for a physical release. Whilst the package itself leaves a little to be desired, there’s no denying the value for money of this edition and every Switch library is all the better for it.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
You can buy Coffee Talk 2-in-1 Double Pack now at Numskull Games.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.