In a world where many of us, during our leisure hours, lean towards realistic graphics rather than a peculiar art style, titles like Born of Bread might easily slip under the radar. Drawing inspiration from Mario Paper, Born of Bread is characterized by its cheesy moments, filled with puns and dad jokes, accompanied by a unique art style featuring charismatic characters made of paper cutouts, all set in a world of adventures promising lengthy text narratives.
The story unfolds as a group of supposed natural explorers stumbles upon an intriguing group of ruins during their adventures, inadvertently reviving a group of malevolent characters from a long-forgotten kingdom. Their mission: collect all the Sunstones to resurrect their master. This raises a serious problem for the world. If the group effectively manages to collect all the Sunstones, it will destroy the kingdom as its inhabitants know. Curiously, on the same day, the Queen requests her faithful cook to prepare a special recipe, resulting in the accidental creation of Loaf, the bread boy and unexpected hero. Still not recovered from the moment that he found out that he is a father, the cook is wrongly identified as the culprit behind the resurrection of evil spirits, after the attack on the queen’s castle. Loaf is thus in charge of cleaning up his father’s image and trying to stop this group’s plans that threaten to destroy the world.
As Loaf embarks on his adventure, he gathers a group of friends, united either by similar goals or the desire for adventure, forming a charming but loosely-knit group dynamic. There is undoubtedly a lot to read between the lines of text, in some cases even too much. Set in a vibrant world, although at times empty of content, the exploration of this 2.5D environment adds an interesting dimension to the game.
Combat takes the form of a simple turn-based experience. Some attacks require the use of the mana bar, others require the specific bar for the special attack, and even attacks that don’t consume any of the latter. Regardless of the skill chosen, there will always be a need to play a type of mini-game, which will consist of clicking the corresponding button at the right time, following the correct key combination, or even aiming correctly until the timer runs out. On a defensive level, it is also possible to click the defense button at the right time, to either avoid the enemy attack or suffer less damage. It’s a somewhat interesting point, which will change depending on the enemy you’re facing.
At certain times it is common to resort to special attacks, even if the reason is to see something different in the character’s attack, causing the mana bar to reach 0. To fight this issue, is introduced the audience mechanic. The fight will be broadcast live to an audience. If the entertainment bar reaches green, you will recover mana points. Honestly, it’s a mechanic that initially seemed interesting but turned into something that I paid barely any attention to at all. Perhaps due to the lack of need to use special skills, due to the low difficulty level. The lack of a slider to help adjust this situation was one of the turns off of this title, which unfortunately makes combat moments superficial, without great strategies associated with combos or anything similar.
Each character has a range of different attacks, which are unlocked with experience points. This is where the need for exploration comes in, as to obtain experience points the player have to necessary collect a type of salamander and exchange them for points, in specific shrines for this purpose. On the other hand, after winning each combat, a percentage of experience points is awarded, where upon reaching 100, the option to level up, in specific Loaf, will be presented, along with progression in points such as inventory space or buffs. Loaf will also have a backpack that allows him to transport his attack items. These items can be found scattered across the map, or purchased in specific stores and chosen by the player in an attempt to adapt to different types of enemies.
Unfortunately, the controls were one of the negative points that made my experience in the world of Born of Bread annoying. The menus are clunky, sometimes the buttons get stuck, and even though there is no support for the PS5 controller when playing on PC, it is possible to do so. Despite all the problems associated with this choice. I faced problems opening doors and a bug where I couldn’t open the menu at all.
Visually Born of Bread is an enriching experience, told through superficial lines of text between charismatic characters and combat that is too simple for its own good. Certainly, the problems presented can be changed in future patches, but the feeling that it should have remained in the “oven” a little longer is present.