Bread & Fred | Feature Image

Publisher(s): Apogee Entertainment
Platform(s): PC, Nintendo Switch, TBA
Release Date(s): PC (Out Now), Nintendo Switch (May 23, 2024)


Bread & Fred | Logo

Bread & Fred is deceptively simple: two people, each controlling a penguin, have to work together to climb higher and higher in the snowy mountain environment until you reach the top and finish the game. Oh, and you’re tied to each other by a rope. However, Bread & Fred is anything but simple in practice. During my hands-on demo during PAX East 2024 with one of the developers as my co-penguin, I found a brutally difficult — yet incredibly fun — game that required us to count in unison to time jumps, swings, and wall grabs.

The pixel art is beautiful, and I loved how the colors popped off of the screen. The controls were also incredibly fair, and every time we fell down, it was absolutely deserved. The gameplay though? Brutal. A lot of the jumps and rope swings have almost no room for error, and everything has to be perfectly timed in order to climb further upwards. If you and your partner do not have excellent communication and a willingness to plot the next several jumps ahead of time, then you won’t get far in Bread & Fred. This game is incredibly challenging in gameplay execution versus mechanics, and I think that really works to show off Bread & Fred’s strengths to force people to cooperate to succeed. As you climb higher and higher, the terrain can get more and more difficult with environmental hazards, such as the blowing wind, that can derail even the most calculated of jumps.

As a side note, I did not try the single player mode — Bread & Fred is clearly meant to be a co-op experience.

Bread & Fred | Exploring
Bread & Fred is a hard, but rewarding, co-op experience as you work together to climb a mountain. (Images courtesy of Apogee Entertainment.)

Bread & Fred | Swinging in a map

During my PAX East 2024 Bread & Fred demo, I also was able to try out the new race content. In this, you and your partner penguins are competing against a polar bear in a closed map environment to see who can get to the end first. During the race I tried out, it felt like it was more complicated than the gameplay environment I was previously in, and it was less forgiving with how far you ‘drop’ if you miss a jump. The polar bear also repeatedly fell, surprisingly, and so it did not make me feel like the race was over the moment I or my partner miscued a jump or swing from platform to platform. Ultimately, I think it is a nice little add-on to Bread & Fred.

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New content for Bread & Fred includes competitive races on new maps!
They are harder than they look. (Images courtesy of Apogee Entertainment.)

So, I’ll be honest: I loved Bread & Fred and the new race content, but it definitely isn’t for those who cannot communicate with their partner penguin well. It took me and one of the developers (who made the game!) time to connect well enough to get our penguins partway up the mountain and to try to (but fail at) crushing the polar bear during the race. Bread & Fred’s already out now, so definitely give it a try!

What do you think of difficult co-op games? Have you tried out Bread & Fred?

Let us know in the comments below!

Quentin H.
I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it.