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'Bear and Breakfast' is adorable fun, but struggles to get its bear-ings

Calling all farming simulation enthusiasts: "Bear and Breakfast" is a creative spiritual successor to other warm and fuzzy games. – Photo by @BearBreakfast / Twitter

Are you a fan of the popular game, "Stardew Valley?" Do you want to escape the stressful schedule that school brings? Have you ever wanted to run a hotel? If you said yes to any of these questions, it's time to check out "Bear and Breakfast" and decide if you want to indulge in this already-acclaimed game.

The review for this game will purposely be brief so as to not spoil the incredible storyline, but in summary, "Bear and Breakfast" starts with a typical cutscene in an attempt to explain how you, a bear, came to own and run a bed and breakfast in the middle of the woods.

The main character of the story, Hank, leaves his mother’s den and attempts to run an errand. He runs into a robotic shark who plants the idea in Hank's head to run his very own bed and breakfast, all in an attempt to draw more humans to the area.

Hank accepts and begins to forage for material, which requires help from a beaver named Tony. He helps you gather nails, planks of wood and stones so you can build furniture to open and run your bed and breakfast. Once the foundation of your business is set, you can invite paying customers to stay, who may leave reviews causing the bed and breakfast to either grow or lose money.

As the game continues, different non-playable characters send you on little quests like picking up trash to trade with them for cute decorations for your bed and breakfast.

These tasks help you continue to build and grow your business. I haven’t played too much of the game, but from what I have explored, it's a fun, cozy game littered with humorous dialogue and a wonderful cast of characters.

One element of praise many users have for the game is that its story is compelling and the mechanics of the game are kept fresh and exciting. Many management simulators tend to fall into the camp of endlessly mundane tasks with seemingly no end.

But in "Bear and Breakfast," I found the humor of the cast of animal friends to be fun, and when coupled with the cozy woodland setting, I was left anticipating each new task instead of dreading them. 

As someone who values unique and innovative art styles — think those of "Cuphead," "Sayonara Wild Hearts" and "Return of the Obra Dinn" — "Bear and Breakfast" has a charming art style and fluid animations. So far, I have not encountered any overtly obvious bugs, and it was clear that a lot of time was put into making this game as immersive as possible. 

A point of contention, though, is its sometimes unbearable (no pun intended) gameplay issues. The sheer amount of trash that you need to collect to get even a remotely good item at the beginning of the game is a bit frustrating. Even if you collect a lot of trash, it's difficult to sell a lot of it at once.

Additionally, the management aspect of the game, users say, doesn't even begin until the player ventures to the very last inn (which, from the description of the game, isn't advertised).

This is a smaller issue, but nighttime in the game gets very dark, and you can only skip the night once it becomes midnight. This can make the game a bit difficult to navigate when you cannot see where you are going or what you can collect.

While the game is full of praise from PC users, Nintendo Switch users have a different story. Many have described the game as frustrating, with some saying that the controls were better designed for those with mouses. The game appears to be more of a hassle for those who play on the Switch, with some users describing the normally fun elements of a management sim as a "chore." If you do decide to purchase this game, I would highly recommend that you do so on PC as your gaming experience will be exponentially better.

From what I have played so far, the game appears to be less of a management simulation and more story-focused. While games like "Stardew Valley" manage to strike a perfect balance between interesting lore and daily tasks like farming or making mayonnaise, "Bear and Breakfast" appears to establish a way for the player to get invested in the lovable cast of characters and storyline.

Overall, "Bear and Breakfast" is a solid 7 out of 10. It has the beginnings of a good, low-stress management simulation but hits a few roadblocks along the way. But it's clear that the developers put their heart and soul into making "Bear and Breakfast," and from what I have played, I am bear-y satisfied with how charming and cute the game turned out to be. 


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