In A Year Of Great Games, A Small One Called Butterfly Soup Stands Out

Illustration for article titled In A Year Of Great Games, A Small One Called iButterfly Soup/i Stands Outem/em

2017 has been so relentless in the release of top-tier games that it’s hard to justify spending time with stuff that is merely “good.” Why settle for anything less than “great”? Despite the incredible competition facing it, Butterfly Soup, a game about queer Asian women who play baseball, still shot right into my top five games of the year so far.

Developed by the creator of Pom Gets Wi-Fi, Butterfly Soup is a visual novel that follows a group of high school friends living in California. The gang stumbles upon and joins a newly-formed baseball club, which is suspiciously only composed of women. Hijinks ensue. I enjoyed it while on vacation last week, and didn’t feel guilty at all about briefly playing a video game instead of exploring the entirely new country I was visiting.

The thing that Butterfly Soup gets so right is the writing. It is hilarious. Not in a “type haha when you haven’t physically emoted for hours” funny but “fuck, I literally just spat on my computer” funny. I can’t look at screenshots of the game without giggling. More alarmingly, I find myself repeating lines from the game in that annoying way people do when they really like a thing. I have become an awful stereotype of fandom and I don’t give a shit. The game is fantastic. I’m albret einstong.


More than the humor, Butterfly Soup feels real. The characters are all people I knew and hung out with in high school, back in San Francisco. I identified a little bit with each of the characters, whether the game was exploring the suffocating ways gender norms push us into uncomfortable boxes or shining a light on the intense expectations that immigrants place on their first-generation children. Butterfly Soup didn’t just make me laugh, it made me feel understood, visible, seen. Somehow, the game manages to weave seamlessly between achingly heartfelt and shamelessly meme-y, which is to say, Butterfly Soup is a perfect reflection of internet culture.

Also, Butterfly Soup features what may be my favorite character of the year:

Illustration for article titled In A Year Of Great Games, A Small One Called iButterfly Soup/i Stands Outem/em

I love Akarsha because she is a garbage can and knows it.

My only complaint, if you could even call it that, is vague sadness that this didn’t exist back when I was still wrestling with my own sexuality as a teen. Alas. I’m so happy stuff like this exists now.


Butterfly Soup is available for download free on itchio, but you can buy a bonus art PDF to support the developer for $5.

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Between what I’ve seen of this and Night in the Woods, visual novels have suddenly become absolute powerhouses in nailing real, authentic characterization and dialogue this year