After a couple of years in development, Tavern Tycoon - Dragon's Hangover finally left Early Access, with a very active community and a large number of updates that have significantly improved the game. Developed by one single person, Tavern Tycoon shows its passion, inspired by the classics, with a modern approach. But is it enough?
Have you ever wanted to rule or your own medieval tavern? Well, wait no more, Tavern Tycoon - Dragon's Hangover is here! Open your establishment, grow a reputation among the kingdom clients, and aim to please the king. More importantly, make sure you have a sustainable profit, and manage your team to build the most desirable tavern in the area!
Presented and inspired by many classic tycoon games, player goals consist of building a tavern based on the given parameter. It’s not possible to define the overall space, so it all comes down to the main building foundations, and all the other rooms must come together within the confined space. Building kitchens, guest rooms, bars, restrooms, a gym, and plenty other rooms for all the guests is just part of the fun. Although sometimes I personally felt the wish to buy more terrain or an extra hall annex. I did however have the ability to have several floors in my tavern. However, it's possible to buy extra main locations with your profits. Perfect for all those extra activities, like a cozy spa!
(Rubber ducks in the Spa? I think I may have drank a little too much of that Lvl5 Mead...)
Main campaign challenges you with 10 different levels, with divergent goals and objectives, that are bound to the reputation and final earnings within a time limit of one in-game year. Each level has a different design and structure, and each receives distinct sets of clients. If a large amount of knights are to arrive, it’s convenient to create a gym, or in case wizards decide to visit, an arcane study room is always a good idea. This adds an extra management goal, as it’s impossible to build every set of rooms available, and one should focus on the desired activities!
Furniture placement, such as a reception table, a chess board, dining tables, plants, and many more will please your clients, which automatically adds to your reputation. Characters interact really well with the environment, being really cool to watch their little actions. It’s possible to zoom in and out, and entirely pause the game to further analyze the whole scene.
As part of being a manager, hiring your crew is extremely important. Hire a clerk for the reception, bartenders to keep the drinks floating, handymen for all sorts of jobs, including repairing broken furniture, and of course, the maidens to cook and serve the food. Each crew member has its own skill and potential attribute. Since each of them can level up, their attributes can rise or go lower, depending on how one treats them. It’s nice that each one of them have a description on why you should hire them. Doesn’t matter much after a few levels, but it’s a cool touch.
Their stats do matter though, and having a crew with a large potential can easily learn new recipes, improve the quality of the mead, or simply work more efficiently. Again, it all goes to your tavern reputation, so it’s important! Sometimes a strong investment can be a little too much, and there’s no shame in asking for a loan, as long as you pay or it’s game over!
During your hard management, there will be inspections to evaluate the tavern hygiene, food and drink quality, as well as overall appearance and service quality. Each object, for as small as it may be, such as a plant, contributes heavily for the overall rating score, and a high score justifies your decisions of increasing the prices on pretty much every service you’re running on your tavern. The system is well balanced, and works really well.
Every NPC, or if you prefer, those little clients running around and sometimes having a bar fight are more than just simple AI walking around. Each one has a certain amount of money you can check, and since each client will have a preferred activity, you can somewhat see what’s more reliable for your business.
With several design changes along the years, Tavern Tycoon - Dragon's Hangover still looks really good. It’s developed with Unity, so we know what we get in terms of graphical options, and thankfully, there’s quite a deal with optimal settings to go with. The overall look is simple, but works charmingly with its surroundings, and the same can be said for the interface, that though minimal, it does not disappoint! I personally think the tavern feels slightly empty without any surroundings outside the main building, but considering how harsh Unity can be, the less geometry it has to load, the better.
Tavern Tycoon - Dragon's Hangover has 5 different difficulty modes, ranging from Very Easy, all the way to Tycoon Difficulty, which is the hardest. The already mentioned campaign is an option, but there’s also the Free Mode, where you set the difficulty, and pretty much every other parameter, such as starting gold, expected clients, and many other settings. Ultimately, the Free Mode ends up having the long term goal missing from the main campaign, which is by far one of my favorite things. Also, randomizing the events and expectations can be quite interesting and fun.
Create and generate profit, analyze your clients' preferences, deliver and improve your cuisine, trade offers, accept new job proposals, put together the best crew with tremendous potential, and rule over the kingdom with the best possible tavern. A simple but quick addictive tycoon, that is highly recommended for beginners and pros alike, with a very accurate system and a sympathetic learning curve.
A very entertaining Tavern Tycoon, with large support from the single developer responsible for the game, with the already established promised of continually supporting the game, in future updates and possible upgrades.