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.
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