Sometimes, the best place for an overnight stay isn’t the area’s 5-star hotel with room service and a fancy ballroom. Rather, it’s the bed and breakfast that’s run by a teenage bear and his friends. At least, that’s what you’re aiming for in Bear and Breakfast, a management-adventure game where you venture into the woods…as well as the business world.
Bear and Breakfast caught my eye during 2021’s Nintendo Indie World Direct. With its cozy outdoorsy aesthetic and un-bear-ably adorable protagonist, I couldn’t help but fall prey to it and was highly anticipating its release. Having finally sunken my claws into it (for multiple hours at a stretch, I should add), the main question is: how did I find my stay? Much like any hotel review, I’ll start off with the pros and then go into the cons.
After a very eerie dream explaining the basic controls, you wake up from your slumber to the sound of your Mom yelling from the other room. 10/10 in terms of realism. You play as Hank, a bear who’s a bit slow on the uptake, but endearingly so. I would very much like a hug from Hank. Accompanied by his two friends, Anni, a hyperactive mutt, and Will, a perpetually annoyed bird.
When the three friends go out to run an errand for Hank’s mother, their curiosities lead them to a wrong turn. Eventually, they end up at the truck of Pawn Voyage, a corporate group with their mascot being none other than the shark. After talking to the poor soul stuck in the inflatable shark suit, Hank and Co. end up getting swindled into opening a bed and breakfast for the humans to come back to the woods, because what better way to make some money?
After gathering a number of materials, as well as getting some additional help from a beaver running a one-man construction company, you open your first bed and breakfast in an abandoned shack. You start off with the bare minimum; a rustic bed in one room and a reception desk at the entrance from the crafting recipes you’ve just learned, and just like that, you’re open for business.
It’s a wacky premise and is honestly, amidst all the games about taking down the evil corporation, getting scammed by one feels like a breath of fresh air. What definitely contributes to that feeling is Bear and Breakfast’s witty dialogue. It has that slight edginess that reminds me of Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show and the sort of sarcastic back and forth they were known for. There are all sorts of whimsical characters too, like a witch-alligator in a hut and her tadpole apprentice, both contrasting characters, but an amusing duo nonetheless.
Bear and Breakfast’s art style as well is very reminiscent of cartoons from that time, with its hand-drawn 2D style. What really caught my attention was how polished the animations were. Hank’s walk-cycle, in particular, brings me a lot of joy. It’s clear a lot of care has been put into making the game look good, and that’s evident in not just the assets and backgrounds, but also the loading screens and even the trailer for the game.
An equal amount of care has been put into the sound design, as there are a ton of soundtracks the game cycles through as your day goes by and as you go through each area, and they all make for a pleasant listening experience. Seeing as you’re mainly operating your business in the woods, there are a ton of ambient noises to remind you of that very fact. There are also little touches where the music from a shop will sound muffled as you head out farther from it, and how the audio sounds a little distorted when you open up the menu.
Now, what about the actual bed and breakfast part of the game? I have to say, once I got into the swing of things, I really enjoyed expanding my small shack to an empire of bed and breakfasts, but in certain aspects, the game can end up falling flat. To start with, let’s talk about the game’s build mode.
The game has several different areas spread out across its map, with each area having its own property to fix up. Once you fix up the property, you’ll also repair the crafting table next to it which allows you to craft items, build rooms inside the property, and decorate each room. Each room has its minimum requirements; how many tiles it needs and which furniture is necessary. Your rooms will also be scored on categories like comfort, decoration, hygiene, and so on. For example, having a bathroom with a certain parameter of the room might raise its hygiene by 10 points. These things will end up determining the level of your room and the overall prestige of your resort.
Because you need to layout your rooms according to all these features in mind, it can be quite the task to draw out each room and squeeze everything together in one building such that they all fit. What’s more is that Fin, the aforementioned inflatable shark, will assign you quests for each property. It happened so that one of the quests he assigned was to fit 5 rooms in one property such that they were all level two. But I’d already filled out my resort with 3 bedrooms, albeit my rooms were too big.
Editing the rooms you’ve already built isn’t that easy of a task, and at the very most you can expand or decrease their size if you’ve got the space. You can’t move the entire room around or shuffle them either. After finally being frustrated for far too long, I ended up having to redo all the rooms in my resort entirely. It doesn’t result in a loss of money or time for you, so long as no one’s staying in those rooms at the time being, but it does mean meticulously placing back all your items into your inventory and then replacing them once you’ve created the room again.
Sometimes there will be days in the game where all you’ll have to do is manage your guestbooks, and you won’t need to cook or forage for items. The solution would be to just sleep and speed up time, but for some reason, in Bear and Breakfast you can only sleep during the night, and it’s only when the moon in the little indicator is exactly in the center. Since there wasn’t really any other way to pass time, I’d just run the game in the background for a bit and fiddle with my phone for a bit, but I really wish I could just go to sleep whenever I wanted to.
There are also little things such as picking up a single object from a stack of items. While the feature is very much there in the game (shift + click for those wondering) instruction on how to do so is missing. The ability to zoom in and out of an area map is another feature that I wish was there, rather than just being able to do so in the overworld.
Bear and Breakfast Review | Final Thoughts
There are many things Bear and Breakfast gets right. The game is as cozy and soft as its protagonist, there's a lot of fun in micromanaging your resorts, and the dialogue is pawfully hilarious. But there are also the “bear” necessities that it needs to improve upon. They’re minor things for sure, but it’s the equivalent of your hotel having no free drinking water for what was otherwise, all things considered, a pleasant stay.
TechRaptor reviewed Bear and Breakfast on PC with a code provided by the publisher. The game is also on Nintendo Switch.
- Cozy art style and soundtrack
- Laidback management game
- Witty dialogue
- Build mode can be a hassle
- Can only speed up time during the night
- Lack of QoL features