If you like humour-filled RPGs with larger-than-life characters, Born of Bred will likely make you smile.
Inspired by the likes of Paper Mario, Born of Bread is a wacky 2.5D RPG adventure. It finds players in control of Loaf, a flour golem that is indeed born of bread. Though unfortunately for him, his creation happens to coincide with the appearance of a group of nefarious demons at the castle in which his baker/father is employed. Cue an adventure in which young Loaf must initially prove that Papa Baker had nothing to do with the demonic attack. Then things shift to foiling the troublesome group’s plans.
Thankfully Loaf doesn’t have to go through the ordeal alone. He’ll encounter a number of unique individuals on his journey, some of which will be happy to accompany him. Of course, each have their own personality and special skills, and so you’ll need to think long and hard about who you want by Loaf’s side as you explore and get into scrapes.
Loaf will also pretty much always be accompanied by Dub, a small dragon who’s always happy to save your game should you be near a router. Not being much of a fighter, Dub will also stream your battles to an audience, enabling a range of benefits.
As fun as the setup of Born of Bread is, however, in practice it doesn’t quite make the most of its potential. The story entertains to a degree but it’s not exactly gripping, and some of the humour is hit and miss. More troublesome, however, is the combat, which is surprisingly more complex than it needs to be.
Make contact with an enemy in a field, or manage to hit them with your giant spoon, and turn-based combat commences. For the most part everything is as you’d expect, with you able to perform actions such as attack, defend, flee or use a special skill with each character in any given round. What complicates matters here, however, is the fact that so many attacks require a resource called WP. In fact, depending on how you develop your companions, you can end up where they can’t perform any attacks at all if your WP is depleted.
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There’s another resource, too, which is even more scarce: RP. Again, this powers some of your attacks, so if you run out it’s not ideal. Ultimately, you end up feeling like you’re trying to manage these resources too much to truly have fun. Either that, or you’ll stop using attacks and skills that use WP and RP for the most part to just focus on those that are free instead. This is more viable than you’d expect, as those resource-consuming attacks don’t always do that much more damage.
Another thing to note here is that you’re tasked with timing button presses in various ways to successfully land attacks and cast skills. You might have to stop the meter when it’s in a green section, for example, or twiddle a thumbstick to fill up a gauge. The trouble is, it’s easy to mess these up unless you’re fully aware of what you’re supposed to be doing, wasting a turn. When it comes to defense, you can also negate much of the incoming damage from an attack by pressing a button just at the right time, and the window is generously large.
Throw in numerous attack types and a large number of elements to be aware of and you have a combat system that would be bothersome if it wasn’t for the fact that most encounters are a breeze. Still, those who do put in the time and effort to learn its ins and outs will certainly feel the benefit, and perhaps might eke a bit more enjoyment out of the game.
For most, though, Born of Bread will be at its best when it’s letting players explore its colourful environments and talk to their amusing denizens. It’s fun using your limited platforming skills to seek out the lizards required to gain skill points and hunt down treasure chests for the goodies inside. Loaf is also quite a charming protagonist, and there are some enjoyable conversations to be had. While Born of Bread has its issues, they’re never so off-putting that it feels like a chore to play.
It’s a shame that the combat of Born of Bread only feels half-baked, as it brings down what is otherwise a relatively entertaining adventure. Though while it might prove to be too irksome for some players, those who can at least tolerate it will find that the positives of the game outweigh the negatives on the whole, resulting in an RPG with plenty of charm and some genuinely funny moments.