Born of Bread

Review: Born of Bread

I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only ever played one Paper Mario game. Oh, and it was just a few months ago.

Long story short, I don’t think I was into RPGs when it was released, but I’m happy to report I loved the original Paper Mario. It still holds up from the writing, the look and feel, and the epic Super Mario adventure!

But that’s not the only excellent light RPG I’ve been playing and enjoying in 2023. Born of Bread takes a lot of inspiration from the paper-crafted series while also cooking up its path of fun and personality.

Developers WildArts Studio has created a wacky premise backed up by an engaging and entertaining group of characters that use a turn-based battle system that strikes the perfect balance throughout its runtime.

Born of Bread Is Fresh Out of the Oven

The hilarious and rather goofball setup and personality of Born of Bread are among its standout features.

Comedy can be challenging to pull off in games. But this is one of those comedy success stories with the correct writing team and a game that looks out of a storybook.

You play as Loaf. But you begin as dough… you are born…of… bread! Soon after you’ve popped out of the oven, an ominous group of enemies are unleashed after some goofy but well-mannered scientists are poking around the wrong dig site. After the baker (your creator and “father”) is taken, you will become a hero and grow your group of well-doers and rescuers!

The story goes beyond that once you complete the first few hours of the game, but it’s best not to spoil the fun.

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Now It’s Your Turn

Born of Bread is a 2.5D adventure game with some light RPG mechanics (level upgrades, a backpack of items, food for health and boosts, etc.) and a turn-based combat system.

While much of this is familiar to any RPG fan, it does take a unique approach to how your particular points (or mana in other similar games) are used and replenished.

Let’s say you’re teeing up a strong and honestly hilarious-looking attack on your giant bee enemy; that’ll cost you 3 SP. If you want to replenish that used SP, set up a Block turn and try to time your action to take less damage and gain a few points back into your SP bar.

At first, I felt like this decision slowed down the pace of the earlier battles, but over time it added a new depth to my turns with Loaf and the gang. It’s still not my favourite addition or change to the genre, but it is its take, and I appreciate that.

As for the rest of the turn-based fighting, it’s nothing all that new. But this isn’t a bad thing. I think Born of Bread’s welcoming nature works to its benefit. And while there is still some timing-based mechanics for attacks and blocks (see Super Mario RPG and Sea of Stars), none of them feel all that difficult until you get to boss/end-of-chapter battles.

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As I’ve already mentioned, familiarity is all over this game. But one aspect feels so goofy and meta that it almost breaks my brain. Before I explain what it is, I will say I did enjoy it, not necessarily because of the mechanic it uses, but because it’s just a perfect example of the developers having a blast with this title!

So you have a companion named Dub, a little purple dragon who live streams your fights and pulls up a “live chat” while you strike and block your way through the game. What’s hilarious is that the comments you’ll see are nods to how fast-moving YouTube and Twitch chats operate daily.

Emojis, chants, comments about lag, it’s all there. But a “request” occasionally pops up on the bottom of your screen. Fulfill this, and you’ll receive some bonus XP or even have one of your resources refilled. They don’t make or break the game, but they were a fun, out-of-the-blue addition.

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Cooling Off With Exploration

Exploration in Born of Bread was hit-and-miss for me. You must do a decent amount of light platforming and exploration between creature battles and boss fights. Some of it is fun and inventive, incorporating slapstick humour. But for the most part, it felt a little too simple and sometimes just made some of the dungeon dives and chapters longer than they needed to be.

Don’t get me wrong, the characters you talk to and sometimes help out are unforgettable! The writing alone kept me interested and entertained. Even the tasks they need help with are often hilarious and absurd; right up my alley!

Born of Bread is not a long game; it took me about 15 hours to complete, but some of these areas could have been slightly trimmed down. The game still does a great job rewarding you with your exploration, though, so while sometimes I felt like I just wanted to move on to the next chapter, I received a series of items or upgrades that made a difference in my playthrough.

Born of Bread’s Unique Look and Feel

The developers at WildArts Studio have done a fantastic job creating a weird and exciting world. No matter what angle your paper-like characters are travelling in, they and their environments look and sound great!

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The character designs reminded me of one of my favourite games of the last couple of years, Drink Box Studios’ Nobody Saves The WorldIt’s cartoony, exaggerated, expressive, colourful, and just joyful.

Whether you’re dungeon diving or in the great outdoors, Born of Bread looks great and pops with personality. Backed by a fun-loving soundtrack, it’s an incredible 12+ hours for your eyes and ears.

Verdict

Sure Born of Bread may not be the most complex RPG out there. But many would argue that neither are games from which it draws inspiration. Come in expecting Final Fantasy; come into this game looking for a light-hearted and joyful playthrough of one of the goofiest stories in years.

During my playthrough, the premise, writing, character dynamics, and presentation kept me more interested than the combat mechanics. They worked well, and I still had fun with them, but it all felt a lot more entertaining because of the package it was wrapped in.

Born of Bread is also a great game to play in the chilly winter months. It made me feel warm and friendly, like a fresh loaf of bread!

Recommended

[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: PC

Born of Bread
Review: Born of Bread
Summary
Born of Bread may not be the deepest RPG out there, but it makes up for it in its hilarious premise, writing, and overall presentation.
Liked
Really fun and goofy story and characters
Looks and sounds great
Simple, but fun battle mechanics
Didn't Like
Exploration sometimes felt drawn out
Combat can feel too simple at times