A second dive into Crossroads Inn after an experience that was utterly destroyed by bugs a year ago. Has it improved?
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Release date: 23 October, 2019
Crossroads Inn was one of the bigger disappointments for me last year. You can see the review here. It had plenty of pieces that should’ve fit together nicely to create a tavern tycoon experience that differentiated itself from its peers and made a mark on the genre. Unfortunately, it was riddled with game-breaking bugs that ruined it to the point of being unplayable. With a heavy heart, I set it down and vowed to one day return to see if it could live up to its potential. That day has come.
With an assorted case of Sam Adams at my side, I set the mood and dove into the innkeeping experience. It’s been vastly improved over the last year, though it’d be dishonest to say that it’s a clean experience. As the primary features of Crossroads Inn were detailed in the previous review and little has changed in the overall scope of the title, I’ll spend most of this one referring to new content and how the experience has been improved.
The DLCs that were on offer previously have been rolled into the base game for the Anniversary Edition. This was one of the better moves that has been made due to both content being released for a bug-ridden title and for each of these featuring only minor changes to the game overall. Five of these exist, all of which are solid additions to what was on offer, but none of which feeling like anything less than a rip-off if they were being charged for.
Pests & Puppies adds pets, pests, and related furnishings. I think that few of us would complain about having a dog (or cat, if you’re one of those) hanging around the tavern, but there’s little that they provide in material value other than atmosphere. Pests, on the other hand, are just more of an extra issue to keep your employees hands from becoming idle.
The Pit offers interesting enough features. You can kick your tavern up a notch with some shady activity including cage fights to keep your patrons entertained. These fights bring about a way to fulfill a new related want for some of your guests and can draw in more paying customers to your establishment.
Hooves & Wagons adds, you guessed it, horses and wagons for your guests to ride/roll up in. This doesn’t affect you much other than requiring you to throw up some related furnishings (trough and stable) to accommodate them. How this was somehow seen as a DLC at one point absolutely blows my mind, but it’s included in the anniversary edition so I won’t rant about that any further as that particular issue is not longer relevant.
Bath & Beauty is a mixed bag. It offers new health and hygiene-related furnishings to decorate your establishment with, so if you’re a decorator this is probably a nice little batch of extras for you to personalize your tavern with. If you’re not, there’s not a whole lot here that’s going to catch your eye as it’s similar to what was already on offer but with some altered attributes.
Perhaps the most useful DLC, Crops & Harvest builds upon the resource end of the simulation. With a boost to the number of goods that you can produce right on your land, it offers some serious benefits for reducing your expenses in acquiring what you need to drain your visitors of their wealth. For me to consider it worthy of being a DLC, it would’ve needed more, but I can’t find fault with any of it without thinking of reasons outside of the gameplay itself.
Each of these DLCs is shockingly short in content when compared to similar ones offered in just about any other title that I’ve played. However, I will say that all of them packaged together nicely with the base game makes it so that the difference that they make can be felt as a whole. None of them are going to rock your world, but I do like the overall direction that the title is going.
Yes, You Can Actually Play It Now
First and foremost, comparing Crossroads Inn in December of 2020 to Crossroad Inn in November of 2019 is like night and day. Sure, there have only been minor content additions but the overall capability of the title to function in a way that allows me to enjoy it is vastly improved. During the hours that I played, I didn’t run into a single game-breaking bug which is great as they tarnished the experience last time around. That’s not to say that there weren’t plenty of issues that I ran into that need to be cleaned up before this title reaches its potential.
The UI and tooltips could certainly use some improvement. I ran across a few typos while playing as well as certain elements that didn’t have a pop-up when others around them did. On more than one occasion, I ran across technology that I unlocked that seemed to have no actual impact. Whether tech in general is broken, or if it was simply the technologies with blatantly obvious benefits that weren’t manifesting, I’m unsure of, but it was clear to me that some were a waste of a fame point.
Crossroads Inn was a complete disaster the last time that I played it. The elements that might have been fun were there, I’ll admit that I did even find some entertainment with it, but the bugs made it so that I couldn’t recommend the experience. At this point, I can say that most of my time with it was enjoyable. It’s still a rough-around-the-edges experience that may feel too Early Access for many, though I can say that it seems like it’s on the right track. With some new content on the horizon and hopefully plenty of bug-fixing, Crossroads Inn still has potential to be a classic when it’s perfected. For now, it’s still hit-or-miss.