Butterfly Soup 2 (2022)
Developer: Brianna Lei
Butterfly Soup was one of the first visual novel games I picked up when I first started playing a lot indie games and it's stuck with me ever since as one of my favorites. I was surprised to hear there was a sequel to be released, and since it's been a long time I went to re-read my original review of Butterfly Soup before playing this game. Butterfly Soup 2 is a story about four friends figuring out high school, romance, identity, and complicated relationships with their parents. Butterfly Soup 2 is an excellent continuation of the original story and allows you to get to know the characters even better as they continue to grow.
Butterfly Soup 2 picks up where the last game left off, once again getting to know all four friends - Diya, Noelle, Akarsha, and Min-seo. Diya and Min-seo are happily dating now, albeit in secret, and the four of them continue to hang out together in their free time. You'll play as all four characters, but this game focuses a bit more on Akarsha and Noelle. Akarsha's feelings for Noelle continue to develop, despite being unsure if Noelle is into girls (or anyone). Her way of getting attention from Noelle is to continue to pester her and prank her, riling her up as usual. The girls still play baseball together as well, and we get to know a few of the other students on the baseball team as well. Meanwhile, Noelle wrestles with complicated feelings about her culture and background. Min-seo continues to struggle with her anger and trauma but is able to work through some of it with Diya's help.
Butterfly Soup 2's art style is pretty much exactly like the original game, including some fun animations and occasional photos used part of the environment. The photos did a lot to remind me of my own high school, and it's fun to see actual references to timely thing such as Mario Golf. There was some new fun, bubbly music that I really enjoyed, but I always have a hard time finding the music as its mentioned in the credits but since it's different artists I couldn't find it as a set soundtrack. We get to see more environments outside of the school, as the friends end up spending time working on a group project and hanging out outside of school.
It's been so long since I played Butterfly Soup that I forgot about a lot of the great feelings the original game conveyed for me. The setting felt so home-y and similar to one that I grew up in. This sequel did the same - it transported me back to 2009, with all its messiness and complexity. This game specifically touched on the dynamics of racism within different non-white communities. This felt extremely familiar to me as someone who attended a competitive school where most of the population was either asian or white. Students who were black or hispanic in advanced AP classes were treated like an "anomaly" for being studious. Looking back, I put up with a lot of jokes about being Mexican since I was often the only hispanic student in the classroom. Once again, this game manages to capture really minute moments from growing up in Sugar Land and make me reflect on how they affected me.
Once again, I loved the story of Butterfly Soup 2 and I would highly recommend playing both games. It's probably one of my favorite queer stories out there in any medium. It's not only about gay girls figuring themselves out in high school, but it also highlights different conversations about gender identity and sexuality. Brianna does such an excellent job at properly conveying the messiness of teenage relationships and friendships, and yet still making these characters so lovable and relatable. These games hold a special place for me because of how familiar and nostalgic the setting feels, but I think it's a story that anyone could enjoy.
Butterfly Soup 2 is available on PC
Played on: PC (Steam Deck)
Playtime: 4 hrs