PC, Nintendo Switch
July 28, 2022
Armor Games Studios
Bear and Breakfast is a laid-back management adventure game developed by Gummy Cat and published by Armor Games Studios. In it, you play as Hank, a young loveable bear swept up in a deal where you set up your very own B&B resorts in the middle of the woods.
At the very start of the game, you wake up in your home in the Thicket, a particularly lush part of the woods. When your mother sends you and your friends Will and Anni – a pigeon and a fox – out to do an errand, you bump into Fin, a shark who makes you an unusual offer: repair the bedrooms in a local shed to their former glory in order to attract human tourists back to the area. In return, Fin promises you great wealth and success, although be warned: his promises seem to come with many caveats and a rather shady business deal. Luckily, you’re not on your own: aided by Will and Anni, as well as a particularly helpful weasel named Tony, you’re able to repair multiple buildings in the first area of the game. Needless to say, the work doesn’t stop there. Without wanting to spoil anything, you’ll be repairing multiple B&B resorts across the game’s world map, and you’ll meet some helpful characters along the way.
One of the first things that immediately stands out is the vibrant art in Bear and Breakfast. Hand-drawn and colourful, the game’s world is rendered beautifully, and comes with quirky character designs to match. You play as Hank, an adorable bear with a sense of adventure. Other characters include possums, peacocks, rats, humans, and crocodiles, and each in-game character comes with a unique backstory. On top of this, every detail, from the world map to in-game menus, looks stunning and makes Bear and Breakfast’s story all the more immersive.
Practically, Bear and Breakfast will mainly see you repairing buildings, scavenging materials, and managing hotel bookings. Bear and Breakfast’s world comes in the shape of a map divided into different zones. Each zone contains a dilapidated building and a broken-down bus stop, both of which you can restore to their former glory. Repairing a building will allow you to add another resort to your B&B empire, while repairing a bus stop allows you to unlock fast-travel points in each zone and travel between them easily. This becomes increasingly useful as you progress through the game to keep an eye on the stats of your different resorts, check on guests’ requests, and rent out rooms.
Resources are scattered throughout the world: you can find planks of wood just lying around, for example, and collecting trash that humans leave behind yields different kinds of crafting materials too. More complex materials can be bought from shopkeeper characters you meet along the way. While initially, you’ll only be able to move between a handful of zones on the map, you’ll unlock more zones as you restore buildings, meet characters, discover shops, and progress through the game’s main story. Cutscenes with characters will often help you unlock new areas on the map. In this sense, the game does well at introducing its crafting and managing systems gradually, easing players into the setup.
“…an utter joy to play and a great fit for both seasoned strategy fans and newbies alike.”
Similarly, when it comes to managing guests’ needs, these concepts are introduced step-by-step. Depending on how many bedrooms you’ve set up in a resort, you’ll get a set number of guest requests for a room. Guests usually come with three stats that represent their needs: comfort, decoration, and hygiene. Comfort pertains to the room’s core setup – how well-lit it is, how comfortable the bed is, etc – while decoration is mostly focussed on how aesthetically pleasing your room is to a guest. Hygiene, on the other hand, depends on how comfortable and accessible the bathroom is in relation to a bedroom. On top of this, some resorts feature ‘special rooms’, which are spaces with a unique purpose like a bar or a campfire. Resorts featuring these kinds of spaces will also attract guests who are after specific rooms before committing to a booking. In addition to this, you also have the option of renovating landmarks and other buildings within a zone, like a kiosk or a diner. Doing this means you can attract more guests to an area which, in turn, leads to more requests for rooms from potential guests.
While on paper these mechanics sound quite complex, Bear and Breakfast introduces them seamlessly alongside the story. Gathering resources never feels like a chore, and in this way the gameplay often feels similar to titles like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing. Unlike more layered management titles where you’re thrown into a sea of complex stats and menus straight away, Bear and Breakfast presents its core mechanics in a streamlined and highly digestible manner, making it an utter joy to play and a great fit for both seasoned strategy fans and newbies alike.
Even though primarily Bear and Breakfast very much feels like a management game – you’ll spend most of your time caring for your guests and sprucing up rooms and buildings – the game’s backstory is surprisingly captivating. Each character comes with a unique tone of voice and snappy dialogue. Expect some genuine laugh-out-loud moments and some story twists that play on themes like family and caring for the environment.
The only minor drawback was that traversing the map can be slow at times, particularly before you’ve unlocked more than a handful of travel points. However, considering how enjoyable and charming the broader game is, this is but a minor inconvenience. Bear and Breakfast dishes up a charming world that’ll draw you in, one bed and breakfast at a time.
- Beautiful art and visuals
- Funny dialogue and quirky characters
- Management mechanics are gradually introduced
- Engaging strategy mechanics that can be enjoyed by seasoned strategy fans and newbies alike
- Traversing the map can be slow before enough fast-travel points have been unlocked
Bear and Breakfast offers up a delightful world, engaging strategy mechanics, and a heart-warming story. While it may not be an overly complex game compared to classic strategy titles in the genre, it’s an incredibly relaxing and wholesome gameplay experience. If that’s your jam, Bear and Breakfast shouldn’t be missed.