Bear and Breakfast is the first game from developer Gummy Cat, an indie studio based out of Romania. The team is made up of five hard-working developers with the stated mission goal of “keeping each other honest while we make dumb video games.” Bear and Breakfast has been in development for the last few years before releasing on July 28.
There are a lot of these management-type simulators that allow players to take on some role in charge of other groups of people or animals. In Bear and Breakfast, the player is tasked with fixing up a variety of sheds and turning them into the best bed and breakfast place that this side of the forest has ever seen. Whether or not the main bear protagonist Hank can handle it will be shown in time.
The game starts out simple enough, telling the story of a young bear and his two friends as they embark farther into The Thicket than ever before. After hearing some form of a vehicle come to a screeching halt, the three friends found out it was a promotional company and its inflatable shark. This is a representative of the Pawn Voyage company, a unique travel company that will recommend people to stay anywhere.
Seeing this opportunity, Hank decides to single-handedly take on the effort of restoring these sheds and turning them into somewhat habitable hotels. As the story progresses, Hank learns more about the different needs of his guests and learns to accommodate them by creating new specialty rooms and attractions.
Most of the time this is a fun journey through the world, interacting with unique animals that have vibrant personalities. Everything from a mob-associated rat to a humble goat farmer can be found in Bear and Breakfast, and the cast of characters is really something special. Interacting with a new character is usually a fun experience, as the game will provide the player with a little snippet about them.
These little looks at the characters provide a little backstory and give them motives for why they act the way they do. One of the most memorable parts of the game is the little jokes that come from interacting with different characters, be they human or animal. The language barrier between Hank and some of his human friends is also plainly adorable, with the subtitles indicating what kind of bear noises he makes.
The story itself is mildly interesting, with Hank and his new friends working to bring the humans back to their neck of the woods. Not only will this benefit Hank by making him money, but all the other animals and humans seem to have a stake in bringing back the people as well. A surprising amount of these reasons from the animals is all the extra trash that people will leave around when they visit.
How far players progress in the story depends heavily on what they are able to accomplish and how quickly. This can leave multiple days without the player progressing through the levels because they are unable to find a specific ingredient or face a bug that they don’t know how to get around. More often than not, missions are frustrating to understand and complete.
For instance, one mission asks the player to learn how to cook a specific recipe, but it doesn’t tell the player where to find a specific ingredient. In fact, the place it does tell the player to look doesn’t have one of the ingredients needed to complete the mission. At this point, the player is left to wander the few zones they have unlocked to find the ingredient, only to find it was in a different part of the first area.
While it is possible to eventually work these issues out, it’s frustrating that the game makes these moments frustrating by not presenting the proper clues. There are multiple times when the mission marker will stay on the character you’re doing the quest for, as opposed to pointing you to the area or item you need for your quest.
This itself wouldn’t be an issue if getting from one place to the other didn’t feel like such a slog. Walking around in just one area feels like it takes forever, no matter how cute Hank’s walking animation is. Even with the fast travel system, getting around the world in Bear and Breakfast is what will take up most of the playtime, as players will constantly walk from one area to the next to collect resources.
This is probably the strongest negative about the game, as players are constantly wandering around looking for quest objectives and taking so long to do so. After hours of playing, it’s easy to get annoyed with how slow the game moves. Even getting guests in and out of your houses takes forever, leaving the player with idle time and no way to spend it for most of the early game.
The rooms in each shed can hold one guest for a specified period of time, usually a couple of days. During that time, the player has no choice but to sit around and wait for those people to leave so Hank can get his money. In the early parts of the game, this mechanic can keep the player from being able to further upgrade their building as the game doesn’t readily provide any other way to make money.
As the player progresses, they’ll unlock more properties and be able to rotate guests and earn money much faster. However, before that, the player is just kinda left to sit around and pass the time, as the game doesn’t provide any way to speed it up like other management simulators. Instead, the player can sleep at night when it gets late enough, but even that takes forever to reach.
The Final Word
Bed and Breakfast is an adorable game that manages to create a charming atmosphere through its main character Hank and all his friends. That being said, the world can be hard to enjoy when everything in the world feels like it’s moving at a snail’s pace. Gummy Cat managed to create a wonderful atmosphere for this game, it’s just too bad enjoying it takes so long.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website!