Tales of the Shire is a LOTR village builder

Forget epic battles and dark lords. Tales of the Shire offers a whimsical escape into the heart of Tolkien’s world, with a focus on cozy living and hobbit-friendly activities.

Read: Ajax Smart Security System Review: Aware and armed alarm

Step into the idyllic countryside between The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Here, in Bywater, your tasks are far more delightful than slaying orcs. Fishing, tending crops, and whipping up delicious meals are your primary ways to bond with fellow hobbits and unlock new recipes.

Tales of the Shire embraces the joy of customization. Whether it’s meticulously placing a single book or effortlessly rearranging an entire table, the game fosters a sense of ownership over your hobbit hole.

Fishing, farming, cooking – it might sound like familiar territory for fans of life sims. But here, these activities are infused with Tolkien’s charm. Adorable bluebirds guide you through the charming hamlet, and even running is replaced by a delightful hobbit skip.

While the core mechanics might feel a touch derivative, the presentation is undeniably delightful. Tales of the Shire avoids reinventing the wheel, instead focusing on perfecting a comforting formula.

Sure, the Shire needs your help, but the threats are more likely to be a grumpy badger in your vegetable patch than a looming Balrog. Tolkien references are sprinkled throughout without being overwhelming – think friendly hobbits with big hairy feet living in a quaint countryside village. “Tolkien experts” on the dev team ensure everything from side quests to characters seamlessly fit into the author’s whimsical world. Expect leisurely picnics by the river and a heavy focus on food-based bonding.

Food is the cornerstone of hobbit culture, and it translates beautifully into gameplay. To deepen relationships with your neighbours, you’ll whip up delicious meals. Hosting a legendary feast unlocks new quests and, more importantly, even more potent recipes to further enhance your social standing.

The cooking itself is a streamlined minigame where you experiment with base ingredients to cater to your guests’ preferences. Specific fish types might have a salty or spicy profile, influencing the success of your culinary creations. A helpful graph assists you in creating dishes with the perfect consistency and texture.

The developers emphasize the slow-paced, forgiving nature of Tales of the Shire. There’s no penalty for failing a task, and time itself seems to move at a leisurely pace, allowing you to truly savor the simple joys of hobbit life.

My demo offered a relaxing, predictable glimpse into the Shire, but for fans of Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley seeking a Tolkien twist, Tales of the Shire promises a charming and stress-free escape. The game is set to launch later this year for PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S.