Bear and Breakfast Review (PS5) – Beyond The Bear Necessities

I have had my eye on Bear and Breakfast since it was shown off in 2020 at the Nintendo Indie Showcase when it was originally announced for Switch and Steam. Now, just over a year later, Bear and Breakfast finally lands on PlayStation, just in time to renovate a wholesome B&B for Christmas. 

Ready, Teddy, GO!

I am going to dive straight into first impressions, and my first hours with Bear and Breakfast were surprising. Usually, when you dive into any management or sim game, you just get thrown right in there with a shell of whatever you’re making. This has happened countless times where you take over X person’s shop/garage/house/farm but, diving right into day one. Here, however, you start in a derelict home.

To my pleasant surprise, Bear and Breakfast takes time to introduce a whole backstory and hub worlds to explore before really getting stuck in with your new Bear BnB adventure. Hank has been sent off with his siblings to run errands for Mum until he stumbles upon a derelict building and a mechanical shark. The shark essentially tells him that he can earn money and get humans to come and visit by creating run-of-the-mill B’n’Bs. 

Within the hub worlds, Hank will need to collect the items he requires to not only repair the structure that becomes his new business venture but also to collect materials to build rooms and furnishings, making their stay as comfortable as possible. 

The script for Bear and Breakfast is one of the best I have encountered this year. It’s witty, modern and damn right funny. It was something that immediately caught my attention, keeping me even more interested in the story. A hurdle that a lot of sim management games face, as most players want to just dive into the ‘simming’ of it all. 

Gathering the Hunny

Bear and Breakfast eases you in at first, which can feel a bit slow. However, with all the eventual things to do, the game goes at a pretty good pace. The mechanical shark, Fin, leads you through different tasks, and tutorials will pop up explaining the mechanics. Along the way, you’ll meet different characters who may require you to run different errands and you’ll be rewarded with having shops open up to buy decorative gifts for your business or ways to fast travel. 

The shark then will ease you in with different tasks to do with your B’n’B. At first, your tasks are pretty simple and will really just allow you to find your bearings with building and decorating. You can adjust your rooms to whichever size you want, as long as you have the funds, making the customisation feel deep and rewarding. Humans will pay in human money, but to decorate you’ll have to pay in trash, which is essentially currency gold for animals. 

Different locations will lead your management endeavour to different wants and needs, adding extra elements to your business. Customers will start off pretty cheap and cheerful, only really requiring a roof over their heads. Each customer will, as a baseline, have a comfort and decoration score. The rooms you create will also accumulate a score of the same categories.

The better the quality of items that you create and gather blueprints for, the more decorated items you can utilise, resulting in a higher score for your room. You will need to match or exceed guests’ requested scores to earn good reviews, helping your business with more customers. Eventually, you will embark into customers requesting things such as hygiene ratings, cooking ratings and temperature balances all as scores to juggle. 

Each location adds a new enticing score or new room to build to think about with your customers, and each location’s B’n’B is matched to their location. In the winter you have a lovely snowy cabin, in the forest you have camping, and on the A roads, you have your run-of-the-mill motel/diner to decorate. 

Players may not completely love the non-free will of the game but I actually really liked this, it becomes very task-focused, similar to that of Two-Point Hospital and other similar games. Fast travel can be accessed almost immediately and continue in the locations as long as you can gather the right materials to fix the bus stop.  

Koalaty Control

I only ran into one bug thus far, and that was during the much-overcomplicated cooking mechanics of the game. I think it would have honestly been less time to cook my own mashed potatoes. You have to match cards, and then match ingredients whilst also navigating using both the D-pad and the left analogue stick, and if you make one wrong move everything resets. In my opinion, this could use an adjustment for console players.

It feels like something that would work very easily for the PC version but the transference onto console is lacklustre. I then sadly ran into a bug where every time I inputted the ingredient, it reset the whole thing and then I couldn’t exit it. 

Equally, whilst cooking, you can’t literally split your stack of cards by hand unless you do it before you enter the cooking phase. Resulting in you needing to remember (or magically guess) how much of each item you may need. Or you may accidentally be making 40 mushroom soups when you only need two.

Occasionally the game can run into a lull. Once your cabin is up and running, you can upgrade your business by completing further tasks. This will yield more money but customers will end up having much higher ratings to match rooms – meaning you’ll have to grind a little to add more quality goods in your rooms. However, if the tasks are ‘Have 6+ guests at X cabin’ and everyone stays two days at a time, it can get quite monotonous just roaming around collecting things when you may have an egregious amount of that material already. 

You are able to sleep and fast forward at night, which is something I could recommend, just so you don’t find yourself trapped in the throws of wandering around doing nothing – making it so you can keep yourself busy during the day. You will need to travel independently to each B’n’B to ensure you have a continuous influx of guests. This can be offset if you hire staff, which is unlocked much later in the game, but worth it to keep the economy going. You will have to pay the concierge, making sure to match them to your guests perfectly. Otherwise, you can get lower reviews despite it being a useful tool once you have multiple B’n’Bs up and running. 

The art is a lovely and enjoyable 2D hand-drawn style and that comes across as very charming as I was playing. The soundtrack is subtle, and one of the tracks fully reminds me of a viral TikTok sound from last year where you could input an iridescent sky with a spaceship outside of your window. It is reminiscent of lo-fi style music and It does add to the cosy element of the entire game. 

Overall, I have found my time so far with Bear and Breakfast extremely enjoyable thus far. I have loved the script, the art style is wonderful and the whole game brings a unique charm to the management sim genre. I am pleased it has made its release to console, as I think it sticks out as a must-play among the plethora of games of a similar genre that have been released this year. 

Bear and Breakfast is an incredibly delightful sim management game. With an engaging story, a wonderful hand-drawn art style and multiple mechanics at play all at once, you’re never overwhelmed but rather in the honey for a great time. There’s no Bear minimum in any aspect for Bear and Breakfast as it’s an easy recommendation for those who love the management genre or are looking for a cosy, witty and enjoyable time – just don’t ask me to cook you anything.

Bear and Breakfast is available December 12th 2023 for PlayStation 5 (review platform). It is out now on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

Developers: Gummy Cat
Publisher: Armor Games

Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.

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