E3 2021 Mini-Preview: Book your stay with Bear and Breakfast
Updated: Jun 21, 2021
As part of our E3 coverage, we'll be providing a few mini-previews for games that we were compelled to check out further after they caught our attention at one of the events. Many of these games have free demos, so check them out yourselves and let us know what you think!
A brown bear, a poorwill and a Karelian hound walk into a forest... And, well, I'm sure you know how this one ends.
They open a bed and breakfast!
In Bear and Breakfast, you play Hank the brown bear, venturing out with your closest friends, Will and Anni. A charming and well-paced narration invites you to the game as your trio spots something unfamiliar and unexpected amid the treetops. White smoke — human-made.
When the narration ends, you take over to play as Hank. Using WASD controls and the new menus and inventory that have appeared, you set off to investigate.
To my dismay, Will and Anni aren't a part of the journey in the demo, although the game's devs have suggested that they'll play a larger role by launch. They showed a ton of personality in the demo's opening moments and it was a shame they didn't have more to say. For now, they wait at the edge of the forest for a few days, rain or shine, while you have your adventure.
When entering the forest to sniff out the source of the smoke, my heart went pitter-patter at the dense presence of herbs, fruits and vegetables, mushrooms, and even litter. Did I know what I could possibly need them for? No. Did my grabby little paws pick up everything I could find along my path and stuff it all into my huge, non-existent bear pockets? You bet.
Through a little B&E (bearing and entering), I encountered an unknown human, Barbara, inside her cabin. She shared an intro to the area: Pinefall, once a tourist trap and now in disarray, needed restoring. And Hank, apparently, was the bear for the job.
A fun note here: Because Hank is in fact a bear, he can't properly communicate with Barbara, turning your dialogue choices into fun little descriptors of the noises he makes, pictured below. Barbara may just be translating those noises into the things she wants to hear, but their partnership works all the same.
This laid-back management game's main mechanic is looting. From natural resources to scrap furniture across multiple cabins, you pick up and dismantle items for building resources to aid your B+B scheme, creating beautiful and comfortable rooms to satisfy your customers' varying tastes.
This is where my initial hoarding paid off — in Pinefall, trash is cash! A sour little raccoon named Took who haunts the southwest edge of the forest has a dumpster full of goodies to beautify your cabin, all for the low, low trade-in price of some garbage. What a deal!
But be careful what you take — the demo doesn't yet include an option to trash, sell or drop unwanted items from your inventory.
Another key system comes later, when you introduce the "breakfast" to your B+B. Cooking requires learning recipes within your inventory, then following a card game mechanic to carry out the process. You'll visit a second shopkeeper in the forest for ingredients and pay in real money that you earn from your guests.
In the welcoming atmosphere of Bear and Breakfast — something akin to cross-breeding Gravity Falls with Don't Starve — you're bound to be satisfied with the look of your cabin by the end of the demo. My accidentally wonky proportions (we'll just market the bedroom near the stairs as our value room, okay?) didn't hinder my enjoyment of the game or make me feel bad about my interior design skills. Because even if it's a little off, it's darn cute — all thanks to an adorable art style and a great selection of furniture.
Like its loot-packed environments, the Bear and Breakfast demo is generous. My playthrough lasted about 3 hours to master the basics and build each room type visitors required.
With a detailed tutorial and a tracked to-do list, it's easy to jump in and try everything out. The controls aren't perfect yet — there are occasionally strange dialogue breaks with Barbara and some overly complicated steps to exiting a menu.
But the promise of deeper mysteries and less-than-friendly creatures waiting for players in the forest makes now the perfect time to get acclimated with Pinefall. This indie release from Gummy Cat and published by Armor Games Studio is going to be more than meets the eye.
In short, do: Give the Bear and Breakfast demo a shot. Don't: Be like me and completely miss the fact that you can put clothes on Hank, the handsome boy.