Ever since I first set my foot into Sims: Medieval, I have wanted more medieval-fantasy oriented simulators/management games to fill that very specific niche. There is a variety of castle-building simulators out there or even kingdom managers but I always wished for something closer to the earth.
Enter Crossroads Inn, an ambitious real-time management/simulator set in a fantasy world of Delcrys. As comes from the game’s name, your job would be to set up your own tavern – and while the premise might sound fun, you will find that keeping a busy inn running requires almost constant work. This is our Crossroads Inn Review!
The story of the campaign starts innocently enough, with your character inheriting an old tavern from an uncle with him overlooking fumbling attempts to prepare it for an important wedding. That means ordering products, decorating, hiring and paying servants, overseeing cleaning, cooking and so much more – and that is just the beginning. Who knows, if you choose the right options, you might end up claiming the throne!
As you continue to expand your establishment, the visitors’ expectations for your Inn will change accordingly. If in the very beginning of the game you could sate your guests with just a few mugs of cheap wine, soon enough there will be a demand for food, games, rooms to spend the night in and much more. If you do not manage to respond to those growing expectations, the fame of your inn will suffer, leading to fewer visitors and even less money.
Your workers grow alongside your business, becoming more efficient at what they do. You might want to set up priorities for your employees, like having a group of people who are all over taking orders, while another couple of workers are always cleaning, etc.
Depending on what your inn has to offer in terms of decorations and menu, you will entice entirely different crowds to check out your establishment. This is important because different social groups offer you different bonuses in terms of rumors – for example, political or military, that can be used in a variety of ways. The most widespread one is to haggle on the prices of products and delivery.
The campaign provides a good pace for the discovery of new gameplay elements linked to your progress in quests. Just as you thought you had figured it all out, your next mission will require building a new room and filling it with freshly learned decorations or, for example, unlocking the garden that allows you to grow your own ingredients instead of having to buy them. Unlocking Private rooms to station a local bard has been a game-changer, with the music bringing more coin that seemed possible for my (at that point) tiny inn.
You can also unlock some passive bonuses like the ability to use captured rats for meat. As long as the customers don’t know where the mystery meat came from, right? Other passives include an increased number of resources that can be delivered in one go, reducing the time it takes caravans to reach your inn and much more.
Unlike other management/sims games, like the aforementioned Sims: Medieval or Dungeons series, Crossroads Inn never enters a “lull” phase where you can slow down and take it from there. You will always have to be on top of the things, checking that you have enough ingredients, that rooms are clean and the staff is paid and so much more. Sometimes I would close the inn to visitors for a short time to catch my breath and catch up on everything, as it would get too stressful to try to navigate stubborn workers to the problems they keep ignoring.
I faced many technical issues during my time in Crossroads Inn. The worst I have encountered was one of the main quests not counting as complete and no longer allowing me to try for it again, leading to me having to load a save set about 4 hours prior and losing quite a bit of progress.
There is also an issue of workers colliding with each other and getting stuck by a door, claiming beds/tables and continuing to work thus preventing patrons from using them (the only way I have found to fix it so far is to fire a worker that is doing that). Colliding with objects like a doorframe or stairs and thus not being able to interact with them. The funniest bug I have seen happened when I sold one of the doors leading to my inn’s kitchen (there were others) to change the shape of the room a bit. All of my workers were absolutely determined to use only the no longer existing door to exit the kitchen and no other. It kept going on until I reverted everything back and put a door in the old place.
Note: the Steam key was provided for free for the purposes of this review.