Bear & Breakfast is a quaint management simulation game where players run an expanding set of bed and breakfasts in various locales while learning the story of the area and its inhabitants. A perfect fit in the incredibly popular cozy video game genreBear & Breakfast excels in its ambiance, management aspects, and characters. However, while the game tries its best - and sometimes succeeds - to tell an engaging story, some elements fall a bit flat narratively.


Players begin Bear & Breakfast as Hank, a simple, well-meaning bear who lives with his mother and two best friends in a cozy forest cabin. After setting off on an errand, Hank quickly gets sidetracked and before he knows it has become the proprietor of the game's first bed and breakfast, which is run out of a renovated shed. Thus begins the player's business ventures, which are weaved in through the game's main storyline. As Hank explores new areas and meets new characters, he will open more properties and attract an increasing amount of humans to the area.

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Elements of material gathering and crafting are a large part of Bear & Breakfast - bears are scavengers, and Hank is no different. While crafting is incredibly efficient and well designed, allowing for things like crafting multiple items and automatically separating craftable items by room category, gathering can become a bit repetitive. Unlike many games that require material gathering, Hank does not utilize any tools. This means there's no activities like tree chopping for players to participate in. Some players may enjoy how this mechanic is designed, as no rigorous labor eliminates the need for things like annoying energy meters, while others may find the way gathering is designed to be unengaging.

A resort in Bear & Breakfast.

Bear & Breakfast combines several different styles of environment into one cohesive natural world. As the story goes on, players will encounter and restore ruined structures amidst the nature, not just fixing up new resort buildings but attractions in the area as well that will help raise the number of guest requests. As players work through each area, the way Hank restores life and beauty to each section is truly a sight to behold and gives a good sense of accomplishment. Each area is distinct, and players can eventually open five different styles of bed and breakfast, from a ski resort in the snowy mountains to a motel on the side of a highway - which is humorously called the A24 - in the desert. The game's music and ambient sounds are the icing on the cake, excellently conveying both the cozy and creepy elements of the environment.

Players will begin by building simple bedrooms in their first property, and Bear & Breakfast utilizes similar mechanics to games like Two Point Hospital for how players will design each resort room. Comfort and decoration points are determined for each room by the levels of furniture and decor they contain, and each potential guest will have an expected level of each they expect for their stay. Matching or exceeding guest expectations will result in higher reviews and pay, while the opposite is true for an underwhelming stay. The review system is solid in terms of its mechanics, although the actual text left by each guest could use some variation - every review left with the same star level will have the same comments from each guest, which detracts a bit from the quaint resort running experience. As players progress, guests for more complex resorts will have a wider set of expectations for things like food, temperature, and available amenities alongside comfort and decoration which adds a fun incremental challenge to the game.

Bear & Breakfast card cooking system.

The "breakfast" part of Bear & Breakfast comes in a bit later to the title, with an intriguing cooking mechanic where recipes are made using a system of cards being introduced a few properties in. While this system may not be everyone's cup of tea, having the card system as opposed to minigame-style cooking that proliferates many simulation games is a welcome change that helps to keep the relaxed nature of the title. Cooking is one of the many services players can eventually hire an employee for in Bear & Breakfast as they befriend characters and complete prerequisite quests for them. This is a nice way to add a homey version of automation to the game that feels consistent with the game's universe, while eliminating annoying day-to-day tasks from player's schedules as they expand.

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The roster of characters in Bear & Breakfast is full of charming people and animals, although some sadly get barely any screen time in the game. For example, Hank's best friends and mother rarely appear after the beginning of the title unless the player specifically travels home to see them. That being said, the game's adorable animal characters - as well as the occasional human - are all wonderfully designed and have hilarious dialogue with Hank. Even when Hank is communicating with humans who can't understand him, his conversational contributions of things like "confused bear noises" never get old.

Dialogue with bear noises in Bear & Breakfast.

Similarly to how these characters are presented, Bear & Breakfast has an ambitiously strange story that unfortunately sometimes falls short in terms of its pacing and how it reveals things to the player. While the backstory of characters is almost always fleshed out neatly, the same can't be said for the mysterious history of the woods, where huge reveals sometimes come all at once and miss the impact they're meant to have because of their timing. Playing through the story also involves some of the waiting elements similar to games like Animal Crossing that may annoy some players. Sometimes quests will need to be completed that involve a prerequisite number of people completing their stay at a resort, meaning several full days will need to pass by wherein players will need to kill time with other activities that are sometimes hard to come by.

Despite this handful of shortcomings, Bear & Breakfast offers exactly the experience most players will be looking for with the title: the ability to play as a cute bear managing quaint bed and breakfast establishments in the woods. Players can continue to complete challenges for their resorts outside of direct story progression to earn rewards like clothes for Hank that add hours of additional gameplay to the title, and can spend as much time as they like making their resorts the perfect experience for guests. Bear & Breakfast is an incredibly cozy game that manages to capture the best strategic elements from the management simulation game genre while still staying true to its intended tone.

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Bear & Breakfast is available for PC via Steam, and is set to release for the Nintendo Switch in the near future. Screen Rant was provided with a PC download code for the purpose of this review.