Born of Bread review: Charming RPG is full of flavour

Born of Bread review: Charming RPG is full of flavour
Images via WildArts Studio Inc.

Written by 

Daniel Megarry

Published 

6th Dec 2023 14:41

The latest RPG to seek inspiration from the iconic Paper Mario games is Born of Bread, a whimsical adventure from developer WildArts Studio Inc. that features a bellyful of baking puns and a host of loveable characters.

With its paper-thin 2D characters and detailed 3D backgrounds, Born of Bread’s vibrant art style instantly got my attention when it was revealed last year. I was concerned it might be a case of style-over-substance, but I'm happy to report there’s more than just puff pastry to sink your teeth into here.

Unfortunately, there are also quite a few bugs in the game at launch that dampen the experience, making the whole thing feel a little underbaked.

GGRecon Verdict

Born of Bread is a lovely little RPG with gorgeous Paper Mario-inspired visuals and a great sense of humour that helps elevate its by-the-books gameplay. I had a lot of fun with it, but also quite a few frustrations with glitches and soft-locking, which is a shame as it’s a real gem outside of those problems.

A new hero rises

In Born of Bread, you play as Loaf, who’s a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster only much cuter and made out of dough. His fiery oven birth coincides with the reawakening of a group of dastardly villains from ancient times, who are hunting down the precious Sunstone to pull off their evil, evil plans. It’s up to Loaf to stop them by travelling across various regions to defeat these villains and collect the Sunstone fragments before they do.

A cutscene in Born of Bread
Click to enlarge

Loaf isn’t alone on his quest, as you’ll recruit extra members to your party along the way, like the martial arts expert (and human-goat hybrid) Yagi or the mystery-solving Chloe Coldstock. Each of these characters has a nice backstory and motive for helping Loaf, while their loveable personalities add to the game’s charm. More importantly, they’ve all got special powers to help you explore the world. Yagi can use meditation to make platforms appear, Chloe can light up dark passages, and the adorable Lint can dig through blocked paths.

When you’re not exploring locations like the towering heights of Holy Highlands or the snowy mountains of Frosty Flats, you’ll be engaging in turn-based combat. Even if you’re an RPG newbie, it’s very easy to learn, with the usual options for attacking, defending, using items, or launching specials. You can boost an attack's power by completing a quick mini-game like pressing A at the right time or entering a series of buttons in the right order, which makes combat feel a little less stale.

A battle scene in Born of Bread
Click to enlarge

While the battles are mostly cookie-cutter RPG fare, one nice touch I loved is that each fight is ‘live-streamed’ on a fictional service called the Battle Broadcast. As you fight, NPCs will tune in and leave comments of encouragement, troll you, or share faux spam links - just like you’d see on Twitch. Your biggest fans will even share special requests with bonuses available if you fulfil them. This was one of my favourite things about Born of Bread, as it’s the perfect vehicle for its meta, self-aware humour to shine.

Outside of these features, Born of Bread doesn't do too much to deviate from its clear inspirations. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when the game is presented so well - just don't expect it to reinvent the metaphorical RPG wheel. This is a simple and sweet adventure that'll be enjoyable for gamers young and old.

Kneads a little work

I could praise the visuals and humour in Born of Bread all day long, but I do need to talk about the bugs I faced while playing the game - because there were quite a few, sadly.

The main issue was soft-locking. During one mission, I was tasked with destroying objects to find hidden research notes. However, after hitting a few objects with my ladle, the game would always freeze. The only way out of this was to restart the game - and because Born of Bread doesn’t have an autosave feature, this meant going right back to my last save point. This wasn’t an optional side mission, either. Completing it was necessary to move forward with the main story.

Party menu in Born of Bread
Click to enlarge

When entering houses in the game’s main hub, Royal Town, the screen would often violently shake making it quite uncomfortable to look at. On other occasions, the R and L buttons would stop registering, so I couldn’t scroll across through the menu to use items or edit my party. These aren't game-breaking bugs, but it's definitely something to be aware of if you're planning on buying the game.

I've been told that patches are on the way for Born of Bread, which will hopefully sort out these issues as they do cast a shadow over everything that's great about the game. I played the Nintendo Switch version, so I'm not sure if these bugs will affect other platforms - but either way, it feels like Born of Bread could've done with a little more time in the oven.

The Verdict

Born of Bread is a lovely little RPG with gorgeous Paper Mario-inspired visuals and a great sense of humour that helps elevate its by-the-books gameplay. I had a lot of fun with it, but also quite a few frustrations with glitches and soft-locking, which is a shame as it’s a real gem outside of those problems.

3.5/5

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. Review code provided by the publisher

Daniel is GGRecon’s Deputy Guides Editor. He graduated from university with a degree in Journalism & English Language before covering video games and LGBTQ+ culture at publications including Gay Times and Dexerto. His favourite games include Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, and anything Nintendo. You can reach him on [email protected].