Think Animal Crossing, but in reverse. Bear and Breakfast puts you in the paws of a big brown bear named Hank, who is trying his best to build a bed and breakfast empire. His neighbors help him with building tips, garbage furniture, and blueprints to host appealing getaways for human guests. If you enjoy cozy games, this new indie is definitely worth a look.
My short time with the game was spent obsessively fitting furniture and decorations into rooms like Tetris blocks to raise their “Comfort” and “Decoration” scores. Its satisfying progression pushed me past the faults — but it’d be even better if the experience was more streamlined.
Hank left on a bearrand to pick up groceries for his mother, and now he’s like the Raccoon Tycoon. He and his friends meet a robot shark in the woods, who tells him they will pay him for booking vacation getaways to humans. Hank enlists the help of his local builder, spruces up a shed into a “hotel” with bedrooms — and the rest is history.
Here’s how the game works: Build a room, furnish it, and then book it. Each room needs to meet the minimum standards for whatever kind of room that is — like a bed for a bedroom and a toilet, shower, and sink for a bathroom. Then, you book the rooms to guests that match their Comfort and Decoration score. For example, a guest who requests a bedroom with a 23-point Comfort score will definitely be disappointed in one with only a seven-point Comfort score.
How do you raise these mysterious scores? You need to craft or buy furniture and stuff them into the rooms. Furniture always comes with a Decoration score and sometimes a Comfort score. You can raise the “levels” of your rooms with higher-level furniture, too. The blueprints for these higher-level items can only be unlocked by progressing through the story and completing quests.
My favorite parts of the game were the room-building and upgrading furniture. I fiddled with the furniture to raise scores, even if it made it impossible for me to squeeze into the rooms. I enjoyed replacing the furniture I first created with spiffier-looking ones, even if I bought them from the local dump from a raccoon.
You don’t need to entertain guests with customer service, which was a plus. That way, you could collect materials for crafting or find the next objective. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds.
I wish the game were more streamlined because the “next step” can be a trip to find. I got stuck on where to cross in the swampy forest, how to build a bathroom without the blueprints, and who to talk to to get the diner up and running. Yellow arrows direct you to the next objective if you have a quest active. However, if you don’t have the quest unlocked yet, it becomes a guessing game of what to do next.
Also, the maps could use some work. I’d rather press a warp point on the map and go straight there instead of walking between bus stops to “fast travel.” Hank is just so dang slow. I know, he’s a bear, and he’s just trying his best. But these maps could also use a zoom button or something so that I’m not spending more time than I need to panning about the entire map.
Overall, Bear and Breakfast should appeal to cozy game enthusiasts who enjoy busybody progression. It’s got cute graphics, solid gameplay, and plenty of humor. I smiled at the funny faces and “bear noises” that often popped up in the dialogues. I also noticed how the guests didn’t react with surprised faces anymore once Hank got a pair of pants. Real classy guys, real classy. Also, if you like Animal Crossing, it’s also got the capitalism!
Bear and Breakfast just launched for PC. It’s also currently in development for the Nintendo Switch.