Recommended To: Established fans of the genre; Those intrigued by the genre; Novelty seekers; Casual gamers
Bardbarian is quite the fun game. It blends elements of tower defense, RPG, action-strategy, and bullet-dodging to form a short-and-sweet little game. Personally, the game felt a lot like the “Protect the Queen” games I used to play on StarCraft custom maps. There are no truly innovative mechanics to the game, but the way the pieces come together do manage to form a game that has a strong charm of novelty.
The game is short. It took me just under 5 hours to earn all achievements. That’s OK though, because it was a fun 5 hours and I didn’t really need any more. If you find yourself wanting more you can compete on the leaderboards.
Also, the game is casual. Even on the “insane” difficulty, the game becomes simple once you’ve bought enough upgrades. As someone who enjoys casual games, I really felt the balance of difficulty in this game was very enjoyable. You have to pay attention and play, but you won’t ever find yourself frustrated. Having said that, people who like very difficult games may find themselves left wanting by Bardbarian.
The gameplay itself is extremely simple. You’ll have it all figured out in the first minute and it won’t change much after that. There are new units and upgrades which you unlock that spice things up as you progress. But I will admit, the content is rather limited.
The graphics are "cartoonish" and simple, but they fit the atmosphere. The music is not bad by any means, but I felt it could have been a little more epic and various considering the game has strong musical undertones. The controls are fluid and intuitive. The game is stable; I experienced no glitches or crashing.
In summary, I would say Bardbarian is very fun and worth playing. It’s simple enough that almost anyone should be able to enjoy the gameplay. If you are itching for something fresh and a little different you can probably get some fun out of this game.
130 of 173 people (75%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
6.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 10, 2014
Bardbarian "is a mixture of Tower Defense, RPG & RTS with some 'Shmup and Snake elements". I have no clue where the RTS element is.
It's essentially a game about defending your town crystal from incoming waves of enemies. How do you defend it? You summon party members with different abilities, and you run around dodging bullets and buffing your party (you do not control your attacks, that's all done automatically).
When I saw this game, I thought it looked interesting enough to give it a go. The reviews were surprisingly positive, so... why not?
I'll just say that I was extremely disappointed with this game, and the reviews are unbelievable. I honestly don't know why people think this is a good game of PC! Here's a more lengthy analysis.
First off, presentation. The graphics look a bit average to me, but they're fine. What you see is what you get (from the screenshots). One problem with it, is that it's highly repetitive, even visually, since you have only one map for the campaign. And it doesn't really change its look. Other modes have different maps, but nothing beautiful or interesting. They're fine. That's all I can say about it.
The music was actually not bad. It's almost neo-classical metal, instrumental only. Unfortunately, there's only one song on the campaign. The song loops the entire time, which can (and does) get repetitive after listening to it hours on end. The song loops pretty seemlessly, so that's good (from what I could tell). It was just background music, didn't really add to the experience. There were no volume sliders either. Only music/sound-effects on/off. Very limited overall. A bit more effort and it could have been much more enjoyable, but playing the same track over and over and over... not good.
The interface was fine. The mouse support works fine on the menus. I played the game with a Gamepad and it worked well as well, so good job on that. Unfortunately, the concept of an Options Meny seems to be very foreign to the developer. There's barely anything, which is really annoying. But hey, at least it had rebindable keys! It's.. again, fine. Nothing noteworthy here, it's missing a bunch of options, but it didn't really prove to be a problem, in my experience.
So, how's gameplay? Well, it's a grindfest. Almost a waiting game... As I said, you don't actually attack. So, your whole job is to summon party members, and run around the map, getting close enough for your party to attack. You can also boost the party with +Attack, +Speed, +Defense, or a special Stun ability. If your party member dies, you'll have to summon them again, at a cost. If you Bard dies, or your Crystal is destroyed, you lose. Simple enough.
To summon units and use buffs, you'll need to gather "Notes". You gain a few over time, and you get some more from enemy drops, sometimes. And that's pretty much it, as gameplay. Enemy variety was pretty good. They'll shoot at you, with some of them being faster, some firing multiple shots, in multiple directions, etc. It felt inspired by The Binding of Isaac (in a good way). That's not to say that the enemy variety is even remotely closer. Not at all. There are about 10 different enemies, and some of them are fairly similar.
So, all you have to do is literally run around, for the most part. And it gets very old, very fast. It's clearly designed as an iOS game... And a lazy one. It does have some bullet hell elements. And those could have saved the game! But, there's a huge problem with that. As I mentioned, you have units. These run around you. Which means that your hitbox is huge, and very inconsistent. You simply can't do those awesome dodges you would in a bullet hell. There's no way. There's an upgrade on the shop for the party to stick closer together, but it barely helps... Everytime you move, they'll stay a bit behind, which would be fine, but it provides nothing of worth! It simply inutilizes most of the dodging. Which means that you'll always play safe, run around, not feeling like a badass. That's all the gameplay is. Running around. The Boss fights were significantly better, but still not very good. A few simple patterns, but they at least felt more refreshing.
The second part of this game, is the upgrading system. The game is structured with 4 times of the day, each with 5 levels (a Boss Fight in the 5th). Once you beat a Boss, you can't start from that point after you die, or you can go back to the beginning. This could have been fine, but it isn't. The upgrades are absolutely necessary. It's literally impossible to make any progress without upgrading everything. And that's usually how games go, but this is different. Your progress is 95% affected by your upgrades. There's no skill involved. It's a question of either having enough damage, or not having it. Even if you're a good player, you'll simply be overun by enemies that will rush you crystal. Once you die, there you go upgrade some more, and then beat it easily. And that's the whole game. The upgrades aren't at all interesting. They're just that, upgrades. More damage, more health, more speed, more money, more notes, etc. This makes for a very, very stale game. You're always doing the same thing! Running around, collecting gold so that you can buy more upgrades, until you reach the end. There are no deep mechanics to learn or master, no strategy, no anything.
The only glimpse of strategy, is choosing your units. You'll unlock different units throughout the game, with different abilities. There's a huge problem with it, though. First off, some of them are pretty much useless. They're not helpful at all, so there's no point in even existing. The other problem, is unit upgrades. You can upgrade them too (see it as levels, basically. higher level=better version of the unit, simply that). BUT, if you want to test a unit, and see if they're any good, you'll have to upgrade them to the same level that your other units are. Otherwise, you can't compare them very well, can you? But, to upgrade them, you'll waste gold, that you only want to use in a unit that you know will be useful. And this is where the system falls apart.
To try the unit, you'll have to waste gold already, otherwise, there's no point, as they'll be incredibly underpowered. This makes it a waste of gold (which equals to a waste of time, as your play time is simply to collect enough gold to make progress!). It's broken and pointless. This leads to a very limited cast of characters. I stuck around with most of the initial ones because of it. And I've done fine. Different characters could interact differently, but when the gameplay is literally just running around, it makes almost no difference! You don't play with the characters, they play themselves.
To its credit, there are 2 other game modes. One is just survival, in which you get a random unit spawn that you must collect, and sometimes food (healing). There are bosses, from time to time, and the enemies will try to kill you (no crystal this time). The other one is an infinite runner mode, you a few stationary enemies (pretty much towers), and randomly spawned obstacles. Both of these modes unlock 2 cross-over characters, so you are encouraged to try them out. The achievements were... meh. Barely anything to encourage you different (and interesting) character combinations, which is a really big miss. They're mostly for beating each Boss, unlocking characters, upgrades, etc. Nothing interesting. And that's unfortunate.
Conclusion This game is literally a waste of time. You'll collect gold to buy upgrades and progress in the game. You'll not learn how to master the mechanics the more you play. You won't feel any kind of rewarding sensation whenever you beat a Boss.
The game has potential, but ends up feeling like a lazy iOS game. You'll be entertained for 1-2 hours. Not more.
I have always enjoyed a good tower defense game but to be honest the genre has felt very stale as of late. Most tower defense games are mixtures of previous tower defense games we have all played before. In this game however you are moving around the "towers" (that are actually people) in a group while dodging projectiles. It makes for good fun and most importantly it's priced right. I support devs that price their games accordingly. Bardbarian trys something new and for that I give this game a reccomendation. http://youtu.be/JFRQjoFO7Hc
Yeah this game is pretty rad. I picked it up in a bundle and really recommend it, even at full price RRP it's pretty worth it. As far as tower defence games go, its way up there on the list and deservedly so. Great music, funny gameplay and decent upgrade system with loads of unlocks. Well worth a blast if it's in your library. Controller recommended.
Bardbarian is a tower defence game with a unique twist, the towers are attached to the main character and you steer them around the battlefield to take out the creeps.
There are elements from many games here, the lane approach of Plants vs. Zombies, the grind and slowly improve of many IAP games and even playing guitar riffs like in Brutal Legend to buff your group. The cartoon graphics are beautiful and the various towers look great.
You troops come in many familiar variants, from glass cannon ninjas to de-buffing Shaman to front line tanks and healers. There are even some familiar faces from the Indie world that make an appearance! There is a decent amount of strategy in the choice but you can only bring 3 types of towers at a time, I can't help but think if this limit was relaxed it would have provided a more interesting game. It is increased to 4 after you complete the game once but still...
You can be constantly on the move, attack from angles with high damage low health units to attacking front on with the tank taking the damage while shooing down lanes or even some variation thereof. I used a front line of ninjas with shamans and an engineer to provide support. Looking around there does seem to be a nice variation of viable builds, a definite plus!
The grind is the biggest issue here and shows the games IAP roots. Taking out IAP and just making the game paid for the PC market does not a great game make, it seems as though the grind is the primary game mechanism at times, not fun. There is only one map in the main game and even though every 5 levels out of the the total of 20 the time of day changes and you get a unique boss, there is no discernible difference apart from slightly different creeps. There are a couple of other modes, survival where creeps come from all angles and and escape mode where you navigate a maze of creeps and obstacles to see how far you go.
There are a few cosmetic bugs, but nothing major and I'm sure they will get patched at some point.
If steam reviews had a “meh” category this game would fall into it. It's too grindy for a paid game and doesn't really offer enough value for it's price. Pick it up in a bundle or on sale and wile away a few hours or don't!
First off, very fun game. At first I thought this would be an easy game but obviously as levels progress hordes of mobes get tougher but as you kill you collect gold which you may use to upgrade your hero, your minions and few other things. You unlock new units the further you survive. This is a great Tower defense/RTS game, dont think i played another like it but soon as I saw trailer I bought it.This is a well done game thats pretty challenging. I'll be playing this for a while.
Game Genre: 2D Mixed Strategy-Tower Def with RPG elements. This game may look like one of those cheap internet / app games but it is very enjoyable to play.
Gameplay: Your goal is to defend the town by killing the enemies round after round, but what makes it good is the RPG aspect. You have 20 rounds, 4 bosses & more than 15 units & hero/town upgrades that would help you sucessfully survive each round.
If you're not getting bored from random games very fast and have an open mind for this type of game, you will find it fun to play therefore, I recommend it.
Overall Score: 8/10
*Game Tips* -- Units -- I used Archer & Mage at lower rounds and few Wizards + 2 Tank & 1 Shaman at higher rounds, it works well. (Necromancer at mid rounds is also recommended). -- Hero Skills -- 'Golden Axe' first, Damage,Speed,Party upgrade(more units) & Note Regeneration+Distance between units. -- Town Upgrades -- 'Friends', Pet skill is a must, Magic castle (for magic units XP Level) & 'Town Drunk' is also nice.
Bardbarian is one of these games I went into "just to try", and find myself returning to now quite regularly. It has quite an original concept, being a tower defense with more than a twist. There is a central point to defend, and there are enemies coming in to attack, ever more, ever more strong. So far, so good. But. The towers to defend your stronghold are not static, but are attached as party-members to the Bard you can steer around the battlefield, destroying enemies "on the fly" as it were. You do not attack yourself, but one can enhance the attacks of your party-members by playing short guitar-riffs, played free by collecting notes. Extra attack, speed, defence and a short freeze of the enemies come in handy as the waves of enemies get stronger. As usual, units and your Bard himself can be upgraded, for this one needs the coins the enemies drop in abundance. In order to succeed, fast reactions and speedy thinking are necesarry. I found it difficult at first to keep an overview of the battlefield, as several issues need attention: where are the enemies coming in at thier strongest, which buffs are needed, did any of my units die so I have to summon a new one, is my stronghold still going strong, .... But after a while I got used to it and enjoyed running all over the place, with my little but brave party. Playing it with an Xbox 360-controller certainly helps and feels most natural.
Enemies get quite strong before halfway in the game, and so sustaining the 20 waves is no easy task. Every 5 levels there is a boss, but for the most part enemies do not change that much during the game. Still, with an extra "free run" mode (try to get as far as you can dodging the enemies) and with a "survival mode", one can come back to this game again and again. As can be expected nowadays, there are Steam trading cards and some inviting achievements, which really help to appreciate the game to the full. No classic, but still very enjoyable. Don't hesitate to buy this, especially when it's on sale or in a bundle.
Gameplay: 20/30 Graphics: 12/20 Sound: 9/10 (the combination of the sound-track and the guitar riffs works admirably well) Longelivety: 14/20 (thanks to the extra modes, and to an extra difficulty level) Technical & stability: 9/10 Personal rating: 7/10
22 of 26 people (85%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 2, 2015
Great and very addictive simple indie game with few RPG elements. Honestly one of the best indies i ever played. Got it from bundle, but i need to admit that £5.59 is not much for such production. Anyway I'm a bit sad, because Bardbarian lacks of replayability, which is really needed in this genre in my opinion. Didn't really like the survival mode, but who cares when the main features are fantastic.
So if you didn't get it yet, i can strongly recommend Bardbarian to all RPG/tower defence fans, especially if you are bored and willing to have some fun.
18 of 20 people (90%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 9, 2016
Supposedly the protagonist Brad got tired of the grind for XP and decided to retire to be a bard, but this game is still nothing but grind.
Brad doesn’t directly attack enemies, but instead plays music to summon members of his party that are selected before the game starts. Half of the game is spending coins to upgrade all kinds of passives for the town, units and Brad himself, but the single upgrade paths are all standard. The player gets some sense of strategy by picking which units to include in their party, which is kind of like selecting what towers to build in a TD game, except being mobile takes away figuring out the puzzle of a good maze or what tower combinations are most efficient for an area. The other part of the game is spent as Brad running around while his party auto attacks enemies. After a while the game kind of feels like it plays itself for the most part. It never seemed like I got better at fighting the same handful of enemies over and over again while listening to the same melody, in the same environment.
I bought in for the promise of more content, mainly co-op, and for the crossover characters. The crossover novelty was cool, but wore off, and the promised content has yet to come. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more with co-op, but overall it was a lukewarm experience.
Bardbarian is functional and can be fun for a while, but it’s not really that engaging.