You play as Brad the barbarian, who is awoken to the sounds of his town under siege. Today is different though; Brad has grown tired of fighting all the time. The usual grind for XP has grown dull, and he has decided to pursue his dreams of making music instead of shedding blood.
User reviews: Very Positive (560 reviews)
Release Date: Apr 1, 2014

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"There're some hiccups with the touchscreen controls but it works mostly great. You might need a decent device to play it."

About This Game


Thanks to Young Horses, Slick Ent Inc, and Team Meat for allowing us to do these amazing crossover exclusives for our Steam launch.

What is Bardbarian?
Bardbarian is a game! A game we've been lovingly working on for far too long and are ready to unleash on Steam with (hopefully) some love from the Greenlight Community.

What genre is the game?
It is a mixture of Tower Defense, RPG & RTS with some 'Shmup and Snake elements.

What's the Story?
You play as Brad the barbarian, who is awoken to the sounds of his town under siege. Today is different though; Brad has grown tired of fighting all the time. The usual grind for XP has grown dull, and he has decided to pursue his dreams of making music instead of shedding blood. Fashioning a lute out of an old axe, he steps out to save his town in the most bizarre of ways.

What's Gameplay like?
Move Brad around the battlefield and dodge incoming enemy attacks and projectiles. Brad is constantly playing his axe-lute and generating notes, standing still will cause him to "jam" and generate notes even faster. These notes act as your in-game resource; you can spend them to perform solos to summon units to follow and fight for you, as well as solos to boost their performance.

Navigate your party through the hordes of enemies, dodging and attacking, preventing them from destroying your town's prized decorative crystal. Survive waves to progress, collect loot, and unlock new units. Upon death you are able to visit the town shop in order to upgrade Brad, the town and your followers, in hopes to make it further next time.

Features!
  • Beautiful, hand-drawn artwork from start to finish
  • An awesome Rock/Metal original soundtrack by Maximum Satan
  • Bizarre genre-bending hybrid gameplay
  • 12 unique units to unlock
  • Customize your party loadout; Over 200 possible combinations
  • Collect loot from your fallen enemies and upgrade Brad, the town, and your units
  • A difficulty curve that will punish you for making mistakes, and you will
  • Over 8 enemy types to make you regret everything
  • 4 Epic boss battles to crush your spirits
  • Endless and Survival modes with leaderboards for when you're feeling competitive
  • Easter eggs and references galore, can you spot them all?
  • There's a dinosaur boss
  • There's also a Ratcoon, look at those sad little eyes

Steam/Greenlight Exclusive Features
  • Full controller support + KB+M
  • Revamped UI
  • Camera Control
  • Steam Cloud Saves
  • Rebalanced for Desktop
  • 3 Exclusive Indie Crossover Units
  • Steam Achievements/Leaderboards

Future Feature WishList
  • Steam Workshop Integration / Build & Customize your own campaigns & Units
  • More Levels
  • More Enemies
  • More Units
  • Sandbox mode
  • Looking into Local Co-Op

System Requirements

PC
Mac
    Minimum:
    • OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise (including 64 bit editions) with Service Pack 2, Windows 7, or Windows 8 Classic
    • Processor: 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom™ 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbook class devices
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, v10.8, or v10.9
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
    • Memory: 1024 MB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
53 of 61 people (87%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 10
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14 of 14 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.6 hrs on record
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

Overall: 71/100
Posted: August 16
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12 of 12 people (100%) found this review helpful
16.1 hrs on record
everything about this game is perfect for it
great music
lovely artwork
nice multiple gameplay modes
easy controls
a refreshing take on tower defense genre

some might complain about the grind but I think that is only there to keep it challenging and interesting to replay it
Posted: August 11
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
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.
Posted: July 10
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Funny graphics and characters, unique gameplay, addictive and simple.

I love to see how sometimes a simple and cheap game like Bardbarian can beat many expensive and complex games. I guess the point is on creating something completely new and easy to understand rather than making your own version of a thousand-times-versioned and explored genre/topic. Doing this last thing will require a lot of work and money to get a good, newfangled and attractive game, while I'm sure Bardbarian had a short budget and less (but not little) work and it still got an amazing output off that.

Posted: April 29
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