Café Stella and the Reaper’s Butterflies Review – A Cafe Worth Dying For

    Title: Café Stella and the Reaper's Butterflies
    Developer: Yuzusoft
    Release Date: March 25, 2022
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: NekoNyan
    Genre: Visual Novel

We’re back with another Yuzusoft visual novel that includes all the typical flavor you’d expect from this visual novel. Café Stella and the Reaper’s Butterflies introduces some cool concepts until it forgets all about them to focus on romance. Ultimately, we have a story packed with laughs, h-scenes, and extras that lacks the staying power that the developer’s past releases hold.

Café Stella and the Reaper’s Butterflies has a pretty cool concept as our protagonist, Kousei, has just died but then wakes up only to replay the same day. Instead of a Groundhog Day premise, he simply goes through the day to the moment he’s killed, but this time doesn’t die and comes face to face with Akizuki Kanna, a goddess of death tasked with making sure everyone who is supposed to die does.

She gives him a choice, to either help her run a café and rid the world of lingering souls that take the shape of butterflies or die. Sadly, this plot is forgotten about shortly after it’s introduced, and although there’s some mention of the dangerous red butterflies, we’re here for the slice-of-life romance, so buckle up.

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The premise is strong, but if you’re looking forward to a dramatic story of a guy who has death literally at his front door, leading to him changing his whole life and bettering himself, you won’t find it here. Kousei is exceptionally boring as a lead. However, the five romanceable heroines really pick up the slack. They each have their own quirks, and the slice-of-life scenes they share are comical and heartfelt.

Each route is exceptionally lengthy, with the entire game taking around 60 hours to complete. I find it interesting how the setting takes place in college, which is a huge difference when compared to the high school setting that we’re used to. I mean, even the 100-year-old death goddess looks to be 18, but I will say that Shioyama Suzune’s design makes it a bit hard to believe that she is supposed to be the older sister of the male best friend Hiroto.

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I really enjoyed Shiki Natsume and Sumizome Nozomi’s routes the most in terms of routes available. Shiki is hilariously blunt and doesn’t really understand how to interact with people. Her innocence makes her incredibly charming, along with her desire to do her best in the café. She often gets flustered and angry, which makes her route perhaps the most charming of the groups. When it comes to Nozomi, well, I’m just a sucker for the childhood route. What can I say?

Other routes are determined by a few choices, some of which can lead to a bad ending. It’s rather surface-level, though, as the premise is primarily forgotten about during the daily life segments. However, I didn’t really care because I was invested in the character’s friendships. I found it interesting how the relationship routes were so open to labeling the characters as boyfriend and girlfriend. There was no shyness in that aspect, and the characters would simply react as a normal group of friends would. It’s this writing that makes this story so fun. Sure, it’s not the best Yuzusoft title, but this developer’s knowledge of friendship interactions continues to surprise me across each game.

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Once completed, players gain access to Extra scenes with some additional steamy moments. The h-scenes are frequent once you’re locked into a route, which turns this slice-of-life narrative into more of a moege title. Once you’re doing the deed, you also get to choose where the climax lands, so that’s fun for immersion’s sake. I should add that the scenes are mostly vanilla with nothing out of the ordinary. Luckily, each character is exceptionally adorable, so finding best girl won’t really be a problem.

Character illustrations are depicted in many different costume changes, including a nude sprite for after the deed conversations. Most of the narrative takes place in the café so expect to be there a lot throughout the entire runtime. There are a few moments of tension, but this is simply a low-impact story that plays out at a decent pace without weighing on the reader in any real way.

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Café Stella and the Reaper’s Butterflies is great at telling a narrative about a group of friends running a café. However, its casual disregard for the actual plot is a missed opportunity. You may come for the supernatural premise, but you’ll stay for the cute girls and comedy. I think the character writing is reason enough to play through this game, especially if you’re a fan of Yuzusoft titles, but if you’re looking for a compelling story, you may want to try one of their other titles.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.