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This free Steam game is fantasy Overcooked, and it’s chaotic co-op fun

Bronzebeard’s Tavern is a silly co-op cooking and restaurant management sim set in a fantasy world, and it’s out now as a free Steam game.

Bronzebeard's Tavern - A dwarf with a long, orange beard stands by a large cooking cauldron.

Finding a fun free Steam game is always a joy, but it’s even better when it offers co-op. The holiday season is a perfect time to cozy up and play games with your friends, but convincing everyone in your gaming group that they should buy another silly multiplayer game can sometimes prove tough. Fortunately, this new co-op cooking game and management sim isn’t just a lot of fun with your friends – it’s also a free game, making it the easiest sell of all.

Bronzebeard’s Tavern is a restaurant management game for up to four players, with support for both local and online multiplayer. It sees your crew of dwarves running the eponymous establishment, having to stay on top of your customers’ wants and needs while also making sure you have enough stock and supplies to keep the tavern running. Built by indie developer The Mermaid Menz, it’s out now and available as a free Steam game.

Blending together the chaos of the best co-op games like Overcooked, Plate Up, and Moving Out with a fantasy setting reminiscent of Deep Rock Galactic and Orcs Must Die, Bronzebeard’s Tavern is delightfully fast-paced and branches out a little further beyond the kitchen area that you might be familiar with in the likes of Overcooked.

The cooking process, at least early on, is typically straightforward – grill up some grubs into a tasty snack, or blend some together and mix with to make a delicious drink, for example. The complexity, then, comes from all the elements of managing the wider restaurant. You’ll have to order stock, place it in your kitchens for use, and head down into the basement to ensure your furnaces are stocked up with enough coal to keep the lights on and the ovens hot.

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This is a restaurant sim, not just a cooking game, however. As customers come in you’ll need to find them a seat, take their order, and place the ticket up on a rack to keep track of. Helpfully, orders are shown in the corner of the screen, and you can hold a button to pull them up at any time for a closer look. Once their meal is ready, you’ll need to take it to them and collect your payment.

The layout of the tavern means you might be tempted to take some shortcuts over the counters during those more busy moments – and you certainly can, but your dwarves, not especially renowned for their jumping prowess, will have to do so carefully and with the help of nearby furniture, making it a risky move if you’re not well-practiced.

Bronzebeard’s Tavern is out now on Steam as a free game. I’ve already had quite a bit of fun in my short time with it, and I’ll certainly be getting a group together to play some more. Being free means it’s an easy recommendation to anyone looking for something new, too – even if you try it and decide it’s not for you, there’s really no downside.

After even more of the best co-op games to play over the holidays? We’ve got you covered, and we’ve rounded up the most essential free PC games for you as well.

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