Crossroads Inn: A Fantasy Tavern Sim Review (Switch)

Crossroads Inn Review: No room at this inn

crossroads inn

I’m going to be honest with you — as a game developer myself, I find it miraculous that games even get made in the first place. As gamers, it’s really easy for us to take it for granted that games exist because we have so many of them available to us at any given moment. Hell, at this point I just buy games and toss them into my backlog with my eyes closed and don’t even pretend to promise I’ll ever get to them in this lifetime. But on the development side, I can tell you that for every game that does exist, there are countless more that almost did, but for whatever reason… don’t. Maybe the developers ran out of money, or maybe scope creep happened and the original game turned into something else entirely. Listen, a lot can happen.

I say all this because it’s abundantly clear something happened behind the scenes with Crossroads Inn; nothing else explains how we got the game we received.

Crossroads Inn

Developed and self-published by Klabater (We. The Revolution, Best Month Ever!), Crossroads Inn is a fantasy tavern management simulator complete with loads of lewd activity. Previously released on Steam back in 2019, Crossroads Inn’s overall score of “Mixed” is definitely higher than its most recent score of “Mostly Negative,” although the reason why it’s suddenly taken a turn for the worse is hard to understand (I’ll say more on that later). With its recent arrival on the Switch, it’d be optimistic to think that the game’s litany of issues had been ironed out… but have they?

In this reviewer’s opinion: sadly, no.

I’d like to get something out of the way up front: I actually bought this game on Steam back when it released in 2019 because it’s right up my alley. I’ve always wanted a game focused on running a medieval tavern that wasn’t completely top-down view and had more realism to the graphics, so Crossroads Inn legitimately called my name. After playing it for about an hour… well, no, that’s not really true. After fumbling with it for about an hour — trying desperately to figure out how the hell the UI worked — I initiated a return. To this day, I have only returned 3 games on Steam (If I buy it and don’t like it, I usually sit with the consequences of my impulsive actions out of principle); Crossroads Inn was frustrating enough that I would have felt absolutely robbed to keep the game at full price.

Crossroads Inn

So why did I try this again on Switch 3 years later?

Honestly, I had totally forgotten about the experience. Crossroads Inn had been so utterly forgettable that it had been wiped completely clean from my memory. Not even the opening sequence — cinematic, by the way — jogged my memory. It was only after booting into the tutorial that I suddenly received flashbacks of the surprisingly simpler PC version and went “oh no.” Oh no indeed.

The trouble with Crossroads Inn starts immediately. As a city builder fan (with a shipped colony sim under my belt), I’m no stranger to complex UI and a ton of menus, but Crossroads Inn somehow makes this unnecessarily difficult right from the get-go. It was already aggravating to figure out exactly how to place tables and chairs in the PC version, but reading this all on a small screen with a super sensitive mouse on the Switch makes the game a pointless exercise in frustration.

Crossroads Inn

After watching a few YouTube videos to figure out how to get past the tutorial, I started to feel like Crossroads Inn did genuinely have a little bit of charm; unfortunately, that was short-lived, as more UI issues unfolded (why is there no search/filtering function??) and several bugs, the worst one being where the game crashed and took me back to the Switch home screen. With all the work I had put into the game to only move the needle a teensy, tiny centimeter forward, I felt like that was a sign from the universe to just end the torture there.

With its confusing UI and a buggy experience, I’d normally rate the game lower — especially at its current price — but I recognize that not everyone thinks the same and that the UI may not be such an issue to others. I say this because I felt similarly about Banished, a beloved city-builder that I also struggled with (albeit nowhere near as much). If you can wrap your head around Banished, you might feel differently about the UI in Crossroads Inn, although I’m willing to bet you’d agree with me about questionable pathfinding, weird task-queueing, and crashing.

I don’t know what happened with Crossroads Inn. I don’t know why, in the 3 years that have passed since the original release on PC, Crossroads Inn is still a confusing, buggy mess. I don’t know who thought Crossroads Inn was ready for the extremely small Switch screen in its current state. I typically pride myself in being a reviewer that can see the positive in any game and find the audience a title was made for, but when it comes to Crossroads Inn, I find I’m at a loss. If you must get this game, try it out on PC first to get a better feel for the controls and UI; if you only have a Switch, I can’t in good conscience recommend this game to you.

Final Verdict: 2/5

Available on: PC, XBox One, XBox Series X|S, Switch (reviewed); Publisher: Klabater; Developer: Klabater; Players: 1; Released: September 29, 2022; MSRP: $19.99

Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of Crossroads Inn provided by the publisher.

Heather Johnson Yu
Born at a very young age; self-made thousandaire. Recommended by 4 out of 5 people that recommend things. Covered in cat hair. Probably the best sleeper in the world. Still haven't completed the civil war quest in Skyrim but I'm kind of okay with that. Too rad to be sad.

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