If you’ve ever worked a bar job before, then you’ll know just how stressful and unrewarding it can be. For those of you who haven’t but are curious about how life behind the bar might be (but don’t want to have to interact with real people, urgh) then Movie Games’ latest title, Brewpub Simulator, may just be for you!
The story is, as one would expect for a simulator game, very bare bones. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; you recently inherited an *insert name of business here* from a deceased relative, and it’s up to you to restore it to its former glory. The business, in this instance, is a brewpub. Who would’ve guessed? There is some relatively amusing dialogue if you’re a fan of crass humour, with the main protagonist occasionally spouting lines that would make most people shuffle away from him as he sits alone in the corner of a pub.
Brewpub Simulator is a fairly bland-looking title. Sure, you can spruce up your microbrewery and customise it (quite extensively) to your liking, but character models, environments, and the like are your typical low/medium quality textures found in most simulator games. It runs well, though — which can’t be said for a lot of titles in the genre — and apart from the occasional screen tearing or objects disappearing into the void, there were thankfully no major issues I came across.
The audio, just like the graphics, is also mostly simulator standard; as in, the music is as generic as it can get, and sound effects did nothing to get me that much-needed serotonin boost upon levelling up or completing a task. However, the voice acting goes in the opposite direction and is surprisingly well done! As mentioned earlier, the main character will be hilarious or insufferable depending on the player, but at least the actor who voices him puts in a good effort!
So you’ve inherited a bar but don’t know an IPA from a stout like all your “cool” friends do. Where to start? Well, first you’ll need to clean the place up a bit, as it’s not given to you in the most pristine condition. This introduces one such portion of the gameplay mechanics: cleaning. You’ll mop up spills, clear debris, and collect rubbish each day to ensure the bar doesn’t end up looking like your only customers will be sewer rats. Like most sim games that feature these mechanics, they’re simple but engaging enough to be enjoyable for a time. That is until you seemingly have to spend the majority of your pub's opening hours cleaning up after people so grubby that they’re likely to have been banned from a Wetherspoons or two.
But fear not, as you won’t be spending the entire game cleaning up after drunkards. You’ll also be there to serve up the delicious golden nectars that are available! It doesn’t take long for the place to fill up, so there are no moments of downtime as you rush around to fulfil each order. There’s not too much to explain regarding this: grab a glass, pour out the requested alcohol, and take the cash. I did like that each customer had different wants and needs (such as preferring a cleaner table, the snobs) and you do have the option to ask people to leave, which always got a laugh out of me as I shoved rowdy customers out after they’d sunk one too many.
Finally, there comes the most engaging portion of gameplay: brewing your own beers! This is perhaps the best part of the game, and it was always enjoyable to see what heinous concoctions I could produce (a lime green pint? No, thank you). Much like titles such as Cooking Simulator, this mechanic allows you to add in the exact amount of certain ingredients and go through each step of the brewing process to craft your very own beers. If you don’t have the time, or funds, to create something from scratch, however, you are able to purchase pre-made beers that will always sell fairly well to net you a tidy profit. Missions are also linked to the crafting process, as you’ll get the occasional request to brew up a specific drink, following recipes to ensure a positive outcome.
So, all in all, I enjoyed Brewpub Simulator far more than I had originally anticipated. On the one hand, I’m not one for selecting the most aromatic IPAs when out drinking, but I do love a good simulator game! And that’s exactly what this is, a good simulator game. It’s nothing incredible, and I wouldn’t call it a must-play, but I still found it an enjoyable (if not as relaxing as others in the genre) title that provided enough entertainment for a good chunk of time.
Brewpub Simulator (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Although it's not as enjoyable as knocking back a few pints with your mates, Brewpub Simulator certainly has a fun gameplay loop that will keep you on your toes whilst also letting you create some wildly unconventional beers.