The Bonfire 2: Uncharted Stories begins with a dramatic cinematic to start the story off. Once you and your shipmates land on the shores, you are prompted to build a bonfire and your journey begins from there.
Having a background in survivor simulators is very helpful in this game. There are a handful of tutorials that go over the bare basics, but a majority of the progress in the game is made through trial and error. I found myself restarting a few times to make better placements and more importantly, smarter decisions.
Wolves, spiders, marauders and more come out randomly each night to either pillage your supplies or lay waste to your budding settlement. Day lasts just as long as night here, and that means time management is absolutely critical.
On my first playthrough I found myself feeling frustrated about the advancement of enemy strength versus what I was capable of leveling my townsfolk up to. By the time I figured out to put the bonfire closer to the forest and the perfect guard rotation the enemies were just too strong to fight with the few people I had.
Starting over felt a little better, and I progressed much faster the second time. I placed my bonfire closer to the trees so villagers could run there when enemies came to take our supplies. I made the executive decision to let the wolves and spiders take our supplies versus potentially losing a bonfire guard who just isn’t strong enough. This seemed to make things a lot easier and I found the game more enjoyable from there.
The enemies progress quickly; however progression of your town goes almost painstakingly slow. With the day and night cycles being equal time, it can take days for your villagers to build the buildings you need to survive just a little easier as the enemies get stronger. Daytime management didn’t need a lot of user input. Once nighttime started to fall, it felt tedious to set guards back to the bonfire (as I did not have enough people to have it guarded all the time) and reequip them with spears and (later) armor.
There is a severe lack of basic UI pieces to The Bonfire 2. Traits have no mouseover, so you might be not be sure of what they do. Upgrades don’t show the detail of what is improved. Couple this with characters getting stuck multiple times, I felt really lost and a bit frustrated.
Bonfire 2: Uncharted Stories felt like a great game to have on in the background while I took care of other things. At night, when you were attacked, the game paused to tell you what was going on so you could easily just set up guards if you needed to or just ignore it if it was some wolf thieves coming to take menial supplies.
Once I started over a few times and figured out what my best course of action was, I felt that I had a more solid handle on the game and was able to enjoy it as a cute, but pretty beefy idle game. You progressed through days and upgraded your buildings, built new parts of your settlement and expanded to other territories for trade. Be prepared to sink quite a few hours into this game to get to that point, however. By the time I had things figured out I was about 3.5 hours into the game and 24 days into my second playthrough.
Bonfire 2: Uncharted Shores is available on Steam for PC and MacOS.