Tavern Keeper is Quite Different from Game Dev Tycoon But that Isn’t a Bad Thing
Tavern Keeper is a fun medieval tavern management sim from the creators of the addictive Game Dev Tycoon.
One of my favorite PC games of all time is Game Dev Tycoon from Greenheart Games. It may be relativity simple, but its addictive nature has kept me hooked for over 300 hours across both PC and the game’s Android release. In fact, a review of Game Dev Tycoon is part of what got me hired at DualShockers. That is why I was very excited when Greenheart Games approached me to check out their new game Tavern Keeper at E3 2019. In a show filled with interesting and boisterous games, it was nice to find a quiet room in the upper levels of the Los Angeles Convention Center and check out a new game from a developer that I love.
Don’t get me wrong, Tavern Keeper is a lot different than Game Dev Tycoon, aiming for the building and management simulation formula seen in titles like Two Point Hospital rather than the more simplistic nature of their previous game. What resulted is a game with a lot of charm and elbow grease put into it. The effort behind Tavern Keeper really showed in the early build I saw of the game, so I can’t wait to see what the next title from Greenheart Games has in store for me upon its launch.
Like the aforementioned simulation games, Tavern Keeper is level based, having players increase the star rating of increasingly prestigious taverns. Players will start in the swamps where most customers don’t care about anything but getting a beer, but as players progress through the game the clientèle will become more demanding and players will have to juggle things like temperature, noise, cleanliness, quality of service, and more. At the same time, each member of staff has their own unique stats, advantages, and disadvantages that players will have to keep in mind when managing them.
While Game Dev Tycoon locked players into one company that got progressed in size over the course of the game, Tavern Keeper is poised to have much more variety in not only location but clientèle and objectives. Tavern Keeper will be a bit more narrative based than your typical sim, with each new tavern housing its own missions. For example, the main quest of the first tavern in the swamp is getting certified to legally sell alcohol. Most of the gameplay in my demo took place in the Halflington Tavern, a mid-game location. As such, this tavern was quite busy as I had to watch developer Patrick Klug juggle many of the aforementioned elements.
While none of the gameplay mechanics are groundbreaking for the genre, Tavern Keeper is putting a unique medieval skin on everything and the narrated objectives with stories attached to them will surely keep me engaged. The world is filled with halflings, orcs, and the like, so from a visual standpoint you can tell the developers got creative with what a fantasy world allows you to do. While some players may brush off the low-poly art style at first, a lot of work has been put into the game’s animations. Most interactions are much more intricately crafted than one would expect, even at this point in development. While players will have to manage their mission objectives, those who want to sit back and watch their employees and guests proceed throughout their days will be satisfied by Tavern Keeper as well.
Ultimately, Tavern Keeper is a major change of pace from Game Dev Tycoon, but that is by no means a negative. It is a lot more focused on micromanaging, and adds a robust tavern creator and several perimeters for players to consistently keep in mind in order to keep things interesting. One thing that did become clear when watch Greenheart Games play Tavern Keeper is that Greenheart Games hasn’t lost their luster when it comes to designing simulation games. With Tavern Keeper, they’ve honed in on the moment to moment intricacies with detailed animations and interesting story-based objectives. As I mentioned, I have sunk hundreds of hours into Game Dev Tycoon and I could see myself doing the exact same thing with Tavern Keeper.
Tavern Keeper is currently in development for PC.