Epic Tavern is a tavern management simulator with rich high-fantasy RPG storytelling game currently available via Steam Early Access. In Epic Tavern, players take on the role of Tavern-master and oversee a legendary pub where renowned heroes from across the World of Beor converge as they prepare to embark on adventures. A tasty brew of role-playing, roster management, and social simulation elements, Epic Tavern enables players to customize their establishment and dispatch its heroic patrons on quests.During these journeys, Tavern-masters will guide their parties as they encounter difficult forks in the road. It’s up to players to help their heroes overcome the lasting effects of their dangerous adventures, guide their progress as they level up, and divvy up the spoils of their quests. How Tavern-masters befriend their heroes, manage their teams, and maintain their establishment will reverberate out to the world beyond the inn’s doors, attracting new patrons and powerful enemies, in addition to unlocking lucrative and exciting new adventures.
Story And Narrative
The game boasts a very witty and in-depth narrative. Even in moments of failure, the witty statements are humorous enough to bring a smile on a player’s face. Each patron who visits the tavern has a unique story and players can know further about them by developing their friendship, which can be achieved by interacting with them and serving them food. Moreover Rich Bisso,co-founder, HyperKinetic Studios says that “Epic Tavern‘s dynamic systems ensure no two players’ stories will be the same”. Patrons have unique stats which affect the quests and consequently different parties of patrons will not go through the same story while going for a quest.
Graphics and Performance
The game features old school graphics. The character models and animations are pretty simple. The UI looks a bit clustered at first, but doesn’t look bad and one gets used to it while getting deeper into the game. One thing that is surely lacking is the graphical representations of encounters faced in a quest. Although, the catchy statements shown during a quest compensates for it, still, some graphical representations would have had improved the gameplay experience.
We tested the game on a HP 15-Aac047tu laptop having the following specifications
- 4GB DDR3 RAM
- INTEL HD GRAPHICS 5500
The game ran decently on the medium settings, not to forget a few hiccups along the way. Since it’s an Early Access game, bugs can’t be ruled out. The game got stuck in an infinite loop in the loading screen quite a few times, while sometimes the game got stuck amidst a quest and refused to progress further. Restarting the game seemed to be the only solution.
Gameplay Mechanics & Sound
At the very start of the game, the player enters a tavern where four people, the Ravinger Four are having a conversation on how to save the world from a horde of Netherkin. You send them on a quest to save the world, and their fate is decided by a roll of dice. The game might feel a bit mind-boggling at first since it sends the player on a quest to save the world at the very beginning, without a tutorial. During the quest, it shows the type of encounters the adventures will face, that is, Mind, Combat, Social, Survival and Travel, but, but the outcome of all of them is decided by a roll of dice. The players have no control over the outcome of the quest after they send the adventurers on a quest, but the whole journey is made enticing with a series of whimsical statements defining the outcome of an encounter.
After the very first quest, the players are allotted a tavern. Patrons visit the tavern, and introduce themselves. Each patron has a unique introduction about himself. He tells you whether he wants food and drinks, or, a room to stay. The players can hear their stories and can unlock additional quests by interacting with them. The patrons can be hired and sent on a quest. Each and every action helps a player gain tavern experience and in turn consumes action points, and consequently the number of actions which can be done each day is limited. More Tavern experience attracts more patrons, which in turn opens up more quests and gives the player an opportunity to hire a variety of adventurers. The developers have planned much more for the management aspect of the game, including tavern upgrades and many other features which are yet to come. In the current state, the management aspect of the game is pretty shallow and gets repetitive soon, but, the future updates (which can be seen in the in-game menus) look promising.
The RPG elements in the game fascinated me the most. Each and every patron has unique skills which further govern the outcome of the encounters in the quest. They have any two of the four skills, mind, combat, skill or social. The players make a party by hiring 2 patrons (which further increases up to four by gaining tavern experience) and send them on a quest. Quests demand specific skill sets to increase the probability of being successful. After the party is sent out on a quest, everything depends upon a roll of dice (which are affected by the skills, health and even mental condition of the adventurers). There are no visual representations of the encounters though, and they are represented by only a series of risible texts. The adventurers return with gold, and can unlock tavern upgrades if they are victorious, but get demoralized if they fail. The RPG elements of the game are very well-developed. The adventurers can get injured or even die amidst encounters in a quest. Each encounter affects a patron. If a patron gets demoralized or injured, it adversely affects the outcome of their future encounters. The in-game menus depict there is more to come, with the introduction of blacksmiths to craft weapons, infirmary to heal adventurers, a bathhouse to regain stamina and a temple to lift curses. Players will also be able to create multiple profiles so that they can maintain multiple taverns at once. All these will be implemented in future updates. The developers have indeed better plans for the near future for the game and it will further boost the RPG elements of the game.
The sound is pretty minimal throughout the game. The sound changes to a rather adventurous tone while on a quest, but doesn’t change while having different encounters. Overall the sound design is pretty mediocre and isn’t praiseworthy.
HyperKinetic’s Epic Tavern is a potentially great game. At this moment though, the game gets a bit repetitive after some time and it is probably not a right time to pick the game. Future plans look promising indeed and aim to enhance the overall experience. For people who are fond of this genre and do not mind a few hiccups accustomed to an early access game, it is worth a buy. It is indeed one of those titles to look forward to in the near future.