Born Of Bread

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Genre: Role-Playing
Publisher: Dear Villagers
Developer: WildArts
Release Date: Dec. 5, 2023


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Switch/PS5/XSX/PC Preview - 'Born of Bread'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Oct. 20, 2023 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Born Of Bread is a home-cooked retro throwback to classic cartoony RPGs full of fun characters and charming stories for children and adults alike.

Born of Bread follows the adventures of the newborn and adorable Loaf. Loaf's father is a baker who followed a recipe and accidentally brought what was supposed to be dinner to life. After Loaf was baked into the world, a mysterious group of ne'er-do-wells attacked the royal castle in search of a magic artifact. Before long, Loaf's father was blamed for the attack, and Loaf is forced to set out and find the real culprits so he can free his dad from the royal dungeon.

Born of Bread is a 3D world populated by 2D cutout characters, and it's also looking to be absurdly charming and cute. The world is bright and colorful, and it has a lot of vivid detail. The various 2D characters are adorable in their different ways, and the game puts a lot of effort into giving them distinct personalities. The characters seem to respond to being hit in combat, whether it's cowering a bit after a big hit or Loaf sporting a black eye if he's low on health.

The combat system in Born of Bread is clearly inspired by Paper Mario, but it has its own take on the idea. As in those games, you have a party consisting of Loaf and a partner character, with each partner character having different skills and attributes. Combat is turn-based, with your characters and enemies all getting a turn to attack one another. Like in Paper Mario, the overall numbers in the game are pretty low. Three damage is a heck of a lot, and health looks like it will remain in the double digits throughout the game. There are even timed hits and defenses, but in the case of attacks, they're more like playing a mini-QTE.

Loaf is a customizable character who can equip different items and accessories to change his available attacks. Early on, he finds a scythe that can be equipped to give a useful high-damage attack, but other items can provide a variety of different attributes, including multi-hit attacks, different elemental attributes, and more. Your partner characters don't have this level of customization but do have special skill trees in which you can invest skill points to learn new abilities.

Aside from the default basic attack, all attacks take WP, which is a shared MP-like resource used by both party members. WP is somewhat limited, so you can't spam your best attack every turn, but there are ways to regenerate WP in battle. One is to defend; a defending character who properly times a defense will replenish some WP. If you use this before a big multi-hit attack, you can regain a chunk of WP. Another method is by pleasing your fans. Your battles are being livestreamed for an audience (with an optional chat that responds to your actions), and doing well in battle pleases them and earns bonus WP. Sometimes they'll even throw out requests for even more of a bonus. Loaf also has some special abilities that use RP, a resource that's tougher to replenish but allows him to do powerful things, like temporarily toast himself for increased defense.

The combat system feels very similar to Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door — in a good way. Based on what we saw in the preview build, the combat is simple and speedy but has a lot of customization. I've mentioned QTEs, but thankfully, they are very swift and more akin to what you would see in the Mario RPGs, not the lengthy mechanics that other indie titles use. There seems to be a lot of flexibility in combat options, and I genuinely look forward to seeing what the final version will be like.

Overall, Born of Bread feels like a game that saw Paper Mario and took the right inspirations from it. It maintains the same cute-but-accessible gameplay design and seems to have a similar tone and sense of humor. It wears its inspiration on its sleeve, but it doesn't feel like a mindless copy, focusing instead of capturing the feel that made the older Paper Marios stand out. I left the preview build eager to play more, and I can't wait to play the full version when it hits later in 2023.

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