Tales of the Shire is a cozy village sim where you can’t run, but you can skip

A march of big-budget Tolkien fantasy hit the game still. Ignoring Gollum misfortunesanother game, Sweet talesBagginses offers a gentler, lower-cost way to play in lembas bread and Gandalf’s universe.

Somewhere between the end of The Hobbit, but before it all begins in The Lord of the Rings, The Tales of Smurfs finds you settling underwater, helping your fellow villagers achieve their quests and dreams. Includes fishing, growing vegetables and cooking up a storm to improve your relationships and unlock new recipes and possibly other activities.

The game’s simple but effective house decoration system allows you to move a book or an entire table (and everything on it). In fact, all Sweet tales intended as a gentle introduction to casual gardening game mechanics with cooking and general friendly neighborhood activities. A cute bluebird system helps you navigate the comfortable yet crowded village. (If it’s not a village, it’s a hamlet, right?). And when you run – you don’t run run awayyou skip it.

If anything, a little too familiar You can fish, farm, and cook some food, and these activities offer rewards that can be found elsewhere in the village, such as countless farming and village life figures. The main goal is to help turn Bywater into a kind village by helping your neighbors with their various projects and challenges. During a short demo, I was tasked with creating a new menu for a local hotel. I had to carefully select my ingredients and spices to hit the right flavor profile of the dishes that follow the story of Bilbo Baggins’ adventures in stealing treasure from a dragon. But Sweet tales doesn’t reinvent the genre.

Tolkien references are present but not overwhelming – this is another lovely country village that needs a bit of help – everyone has big hairy feet. The development team told me that their writing team included a “Tolkien expert” to make sure the sidekicks, stories, and characters still fit the author’s vision. I think this generally means maximum whimsy. Expect plenty of food-based cool and laid-back activities on the riverbanks.

Sweet talesSweet tales


Even the connection mechanism between your customizable character and the rest of the village relies on cooking dinner to build bonds and deepen relationships. Hosting an average dinner unlocks more guests and – just as importantly – more powerful recipes to hunt and feed other villagers. Cooking itself is a relatively short mini-game where you mix up basic ingredients to incorporate your guests’ favorite flavors. Some fish, for example, may have a salty or hot flavor profile, which increases your chances of making new friends. A little chart guides your cooking as you aim for the best consistency and texture for your culinary creations.

According to the team behind it, Sweet tales deliberately slow paced. It aims to be forgiving and doesn’t punish the player if they break a task or fail to complete it. Time passes slowly, giving the player enough time to walk (or pass) to other parts of the village. My demo was a relaxing, predictable ride around the Shire, but it could have been an enticing new game for them. Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley fans, all with Tolkien’s cultural appeal.

Sweet tales It will be released later this year for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.

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