About This Game
Hijacked to a to strange world. Forced to fight for your life. Discover the secrets of the Arbitrators and find your way back home!
Barbearian is a fast-paced hack’n’slash with massive battles in a colorful, hand-drawn world.
- 100+ levels full of action and adventure
- Collect loot, purchase upgrades and experiment with numerous weapons
- Rescue prisoners and build your own army
- Encounter colossal boss monsters and take them down
- Plenty of challenge, not for the easily discouraged!
- OS: Windows 7 or newer
- Processor: 1.8+ Ghz, dual-core processor
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: OpenGL 2.1+
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 300 MB available space
Bright colors, screen shaking hits, blasting upbeat soundtrack, and repeating the same moves over and over again. That’s a hack and slash game in a nutshell, and that’s really all you need to describe this game. Despite not really having much to do with its namesake, Barbearian delivers everything you’d expect from a hack and slash game except one common aspect of the genre – it’s not an easy game.
Abbreviated Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhIYDmfVsqk
We all remember Nintendo games and how insanely difficult they were at times. I still have nightmares about the first Ninja Turtle game and that damn dam level. While that design seemingly went to the wayside, it has started working its way back into the modern game world via games like Dark Souls and is featured prominently in Cuphead with only two difficulty settings where only one allows progression. Barbearian joins in on this resurrected trend and, while having pretty great options for difficulty, sets you up from the start to get your♥♥♥♥♥kicked with the default levels. While in general this isn’t a problem in the game, I do find that a lot of times my deaths are from things that seem beyond my control like getting bounced around by some enemies or not seeing what is hitting me in the chaos. That’s a frustration that encouraged me, halfway through, to turn down some of the difficulty so I could better enjoy the game.
It’s not uncommon for a hack and slash game to feel a bit repetitive. Games usually overcome this by adding new and stronger abilities to the player’s move list while stacking diverse enemies up that make your go-to combo less effective. Barbearian does offer a growing variety of enemies as you move forward, some venturing into unique and devastating territory while others just frolic in the land of annoyance. For instance, one captain will teleport around making him nearly impossible to hit consistently and at the same time will absolutely wreck your minions. The time I spend fighting him feels like a waste as it’s mostly me trying to guess where he’ll pop up and getting as many hits as possible before he disappears again. When you do get your chance to swing you’re relegated to your two types of attack – a single endless chain of axe swings and and a fairly powerful and rewarding charge that is wonderful for hammering back the large swarms of enemies. Those are the only two attacks you have and they get old quickly. You do get randomly dropped limited-use weapons that can make or break how well you can do in a level, and part of the game’s progression system has you spending currency to unlock them, but the fact that they’re so random and limited makes it hard to say they’re part of the move set.
Even the random buffs that you can receive are relatively limited and do little to change up the feel of the game. Most make you quite a bit more powerful, especially the one that gives you a huge movement and attack speed bonus, and even the less notable ones used properly can give you a pretty significant edge over your enemies. Yet the biggest wall between you and success is just how few places you can heal in each level. Every level has one well that you can pay some of your picked-up currency food stuff to heal completely. The levels come in little packs of three that allow you to travel to the next after finishing off all of the captains in each one. So, at best, you have three heals you can partake of assuming you want to spend the resources. However, you’re also required to find these wells if you want to use them on levels that can be very maze-like, and I often found myself or my minions accidentally killing the last captain and forcing me into the next level when I really wanted to find that heal. I’d much rather be able to at least get small heals in the process than to rely on the circumstances around this healing system.
I’m not sure what the process was in designing how you navigate the ‘overworld’ to get to each set of levels and bosses, but it’s overwhelmingly confusing and needlessly so from my perspective. You have to walk around several different maps taking you to different zones by smacking a red button on the ground. Buttons unlock as you progress, so it’s often necessary to figure out where exactly the next button even popped up to keep playing. The entire system is hard to explain because it’s hard for me even now to wrap my head around navigating it. Yet somehow, in all of that mess, they made the boss fights all occur from the same ‘button’ node thing. That seems odd to me considering how much empty space exists just to separate all of the different zones. Regardless, boss fights themselves aren’t anything exceptionally unique, though at times they seem exceedingly difficult. They have phases that make them do more attacks and require new tactics, but all of them boil down to just spawning loads of regular enemies rather than making the boss itself be the whole experience. It’s not the most egregious thing, but I do think that making bosses tougher with their own attacks and phasing alone would be more enjoyable than just ramping up enemy spawns.
Having a bear skin on your head isn’t a good reason to call something “Barbearian,” the theme doesn’t grow in the narrative – which is a strange one in itself. But that’s not really important. At its heart, Barbearian is a fun and simple game that is easy to pick up, but will totally kick your♥♥♥♥♥if you try to just ‘Diablo’ your way through it. Sometimes you have to use tactical choices and make use of picked up weapons effectively to succeed and other times you just have to use cheesy strategies because it’s your only option. Either way, you’re probably going to rage quit from dying on the third section of a level you think you’re about to beat. The fast-paced soundtrack will have you feeling like you should keep playing though, even when you’re smashing your face against a boss. If you can find Barbearian for a fair price, maybe half of the base price or even $5, it’s a good pickup to scratch that hack and slash itch.
If you’d like to see more of my reviews, check out my curator page here: http://store.steampowered.com/curator/28346672-Endyo-Gaming/ and https://www.thegamemessiah.com
It is very fun while staying challenging in its simplicity.
The art work is amazing. I like it! I’ve experienced no bugs, gliches or lag! On the Release day too! Very cool!
It runs very smooth and seamless. (Windows 10 64Bit gtx 1080ti)
I’ve only just gotten out of the 5 training levels and into the main game.
I still have a lot more to explore and think about.
You can go in Axe blazing and the next minute have to be very careful and think.
The bosses in the game demand your respect and will crush you if you don’t have a strategy.
The only thing I didn’t like right away was how the enemys will always follow you no matter what.
I didn’t mind this at all but when you have to kill the last boss right away…well.. you only have about 5~10 seconds to get anything you might of missed.
As a level completionist this did suck. But I do understand the game they are aiming for.
Fast paced, get in, get out. Level fast. go go go go go. move move move. I understand and I like it.
I happend across this game about a month ago and I knew it had potential. I put in on my WishList and was excited as the release got closer.
I am so glad i bought this game. This is a game I want to support so we can see even better stuff in the future.
My hats off to the Developers and Creators of this game! I can’t wait to play more and see where the story goes!
I enjoyed this game enough to complete it but there’s definitely something special missing. Still, I really savored hacking my way through the hoards of enemies. Gaining followers is fun but I wish I could direct them more. The theme was really what kept me playing. Barbearian is so bright, colorful, and it’s weird but not too weird that it’s a turn off. I had fun.
Fun, exciting, eventually mass-scale bash-em-up and zero-micromanaging RTS as you build up your melee and ranged attacks melee army into an AI-controlled swarm of mass destruction — and you lead them into the battle as the axe-wielding Barbearian. 🙂 Vast replayability due to the way that campaign maps are different each time you play one, and you’ll see that on both subsequent tries of a failed campaign map-set, or when you just replay it for more money or for fun.
A great little game that imho deseerves a much larger audience but is probably hamstrung by its intentionally goofball game name and by the fact that its most refreshing aspect — it’s not a clone of something else, it’s more like a hybrid of many genres — also probably makes it a tough sell and difficult to market. While it’s billed as ‘hack’n’slash,’ to me it plays more like an awesome "brawler," and you’ll feel extremely powerful as you send your Barbearian into increasingly massive groupes of emies, bashing away with your axe and making charging rush attacks that send dozens of enemies flying.
When you get special weapon pickups like the boomstick grenade, you may — if you’re old enough to remember Myth — get a Myth Dwarf grenadier feeling as you watch the explosion send enemy monsters flying in tiny pieces. 🙂 A variety of 12-second use powerup drops and tokens keep things fresh and changing, and you gather up various colorful ‘food’ items and crystals to gain money to spend on upgrades and more minions and special weapons.
The 12-second powerups are color coded: Blue-indestructibility; Pink-an auto-melee attack ‘ball’ spins around you annihilating everything immediately around you as you move; and Green-much faster movement and melee attacking.
Eventually you can also unleash a Rage mode that briefly turns your Barbearian and your minion army into an angry red tornado of rage. 🙂
While you don’t control your ever-growing minion army directly, you’ll find surprisingly deep tactics in deciding whether to rush ahead of them, or le them do their thing first. I tend to go tackle the tougher enemies and aura-generating enemy crystals first while my dozens of minions do their thing. You can upgrade minions to Knight or Archer. You’ll spend a lot of time summing replacements on the battlefield.
The game promises 100+ levels so I have a ways to go. The way most of the campaign works is you work through a series of 5 campaign mission sets (my term) — each set is usually 3 separate maps strung together. These all seem to randomize in layout and enemy monster mixes, so they’re very replayable. You can usually rescue up to 3 minions on each set, by bashing open a pod that imprisons each. Doing so is helpful to you, though it isn’t necessary to completing the mission set.
Great, crunchy sound effects and good music (NOTE: I just remembered I turned down the music so I could focus more on game sounds). 🙂 Terrific animations that manage to be both brutal and cute at the same time.
I play the with an XBox 360-style controller and it works flawlessly and you can change the button settings. It requires very few buttons to play. While kb/m is supported, I feel like it’s very much a game that feels best on controller at the moment.
I think the game would be perfect on the Nintendo Switch, but we’ll see if the dev duo can afford to do a project like that. Probably it would be an excellent doubleheader with the just-released Bad North. 🙂
The game puts you in control of a human barbarian wearing a bearskin. Some powerful force has sucked you out of your presumably violent life and dropped you into a weird sort of pan-dimensional game show with the aim of evaluating the species. With little explanation you’re forced to hack your way through thousands of enemies across (apparently) over 100 levels, unlocking various minions, weapons, and power ups along the way.
After you complete the first training level you’re dropped into a sort of lobby area, where you meet a weird pelican/penguin-looking professor with a worrying sense of humour. He acts as a sort of guide and score keeper, explaining some of the finer points of the game and also providing interesting and amusing statistics on your gameplay.
I’ll go my own way here and jump to something that should probably be in the verdict: this game is wonderfully well made, particularly when you consider it’s from a solo developer on a custom-made game engine. Anyway, on with the rest of the review.
The game is played from a three-quarter top-down view, with 2D sprites and objects inhabiting the three-dimensional play area. Sprites mostly look really good, with some colourful characters showing plenty of personality. Animations are great, and special effects look excellent. There’s a really nice feel to the combat physics, too, with powerful weapons and attacks often throwing enemies around impressively. It really adds to the appeal of the game. Water deserves mention, too; it doesn’t play a part in the gameplay, but it looks really nice.
The UI is easy to use and understand. There are all the usual options — including full controller support and remappable controls for keyboard as well — but of note is the Accessibility menu. This not only allows you to increase zoom, font size, etc, but it also lets you alter the game’s difficulty in a few different ways, as well as turn on autofire on the attack and respawn buttons. This last feature is a blessing: my right thumb and wrist were really starting to suffer after the first few hours of controller play. Then I found this. Ahhh, bliss!
Music is all electronic synth-type sounds and reminds me of nothing more than music from the old days of the Amiga. It’s well produced, though potentially a little loud compared to the sound effects with the default volume settings (easily adjusted), and though it’s not hack-and-slash like in the least, it does somehow fit the game well. I think maybe it’s just a little bit frantic, matching the game’s action. Sound effects sound good and do the job well.
As I mentioned, the game engine was custom-built by the developer and it apparently runs pretty well on a potato. I’ve been playing in full HD with all the bells and whistles on my GTX1070 with no slowdown during combat at all, even with my 40-odd current minions and hundreds of enemies on screen. I have seen some brief pauses when my character first appears on a level, but they’re only a minor distraction. The game runs very, very well.
Though it’s simple, it’s also very challenging, and gradually offers more choices as you play and unlock things. Parts of it actually become quite tactical, especially the boss fights, as you try to find the right time to spawn minions and decide whether to leave them to fight the enemy plebs while you take on the high-value targets, or vice versa. Each approach has benefits and drawbacks, and sometimes you simply don’t have a choice, with hundreds of enemies swarming and shooting you from all sides!
Unlocks are achieved through spending of fruit loot, which you pick up as you play from smashed objects and fallen enemies. As different areas are revealed, new shops become available, unlocking special weapon pickups, minion upgrades, and other benefits such as increased maximum health or spirit energy (for respawning minions). Progression is fairly tightly controlled, but that’s definitely not a bad thing. You can only move on to new areas once you’ve defeated the boss of earlier areas, and this also limits which weapons are unlocked and how powerful you can be before progressing.
I believe most of the intermediate (non-boss) levels are at least partially procedurally generated. Many of them look similar, but I’ve noticed when attempting a level for a second or third try, it is never quite the same. Perhaps it’s only the enemy distribution or layout that changes. Whatever the case, it’s welcome variation, and stops the game from becoming stagnant when you die. Adding to the variation is the Master Class area, where you can attempt to complete challenges for the special weapons once you’ve unlocked them. These are pretty cool, as the game prevents you from attacking, charging, or using minions, leaving you with only movement and repeating challenge-weapon pickups.
Dying is a fact of life in the game; it will happen, and happen often! But don’t fret; when you die you lose a portion of your collected loot and are dropped back into the lobby area outside the level on which you died, so you can try again straight away if you like. You also get to meet the weird fellow in the Tube Room; I think he’s my favourite!
There are a few minor issues that mar the otherwise excellent gameplay. First, collectibles disappear, and rather quickly at that. I find this really annoying; I’d much rather be able to focus on the hacking and slashing and leave the picking up for when I’m taking a breather, but the short lifetimes on all of the collectible objects, including loot, makes this impossible. Second, it’s very easy to accidentally hit the health wells that are dotted around, inadvertently spending your hard-earned loot on a full heal that you may not need. And third, there’s no way to ‘lock’ a weapon so that you don’t lose it by picking up another one; I have my favourite weapon and want to be able to lock it in when I find it. These are only very minor issues, though; the game is certainly very playable regardless.
+ It’s great fun!
+ Levels and unlocks galore
+ Good sense of humour
– Disappearing collectibles
– Accidental health well trigger
– No locking of weapons
I confess I haven’t yet finished Barbearian. I’ve played my main save for a handful of hours, unlocked 35% of the achievements, and apparently completed a touch under 50%. I’m still enjoying it thoroughly and have no qualms whatsoever about recommending it. If you have a hack-and-slash itch then scratch it with Barbearian. It’s really, really good.
What a fantastic game!
While it is somewhat on the shorter side, having 100% in just 8 hours, it is a very fun time to be had with this game.
I was honored to be able to play this game already when it was in beta.
I’m a huge fan of Gimblll’s Trigonarium, and had high expectations for this game as well. I was not disappointed. The game runs incredibly smoothly, and the difficulty level is just perfect. It’s one of those "just one more round" kind of games. In the beta there were some UX/player guidance issues, but they have been ironed out.
I’m tempted to buy this one for iPad as well to be able to play on go.