Bard (n): a poet, traditionally one reciting epics and associated with a particular oral tradition. Barbarian (n): (in ancient times) a member of a people not belonging to one of the great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Christian).
Ever wondered what happens when you mash bard and barbarian together? That’s right, you get a, uhm, Bardbarian, a guitar-wielding military leader. Obviously.
Bardbarian is a strange one, described on the App Store as a “unique hybrid of: arcade, rpg, strategy/tower defense and a shoot-em-up”.
Essentially you’ve got a tower on the left hand side, and you’re tasked with defending it by fending off an approaching army of douche bags from the right. Think Plants vs. Zombies and you’re somewhere in the right vicinity.
The difference in Bardbarian is that you’re free to run around with your units rather than having to place them strategically around the playing area.
Specifically, you can take three unit types into each Bardbarian battle, and you have a fixed number of units (upgradeable) that can be active at any one time.
Unit types include the archer, good with ranged attacks, the wizard, who only shoots horizontally (oo-er), and the healer; she pretty much does what’s promised on the tin.
Bardbarian is actually very enjoyable, but the problem is that it’s pitched almost as a freemium game, despite the 69p entry fee.
See, there are all sorts of upgradeable Bardbarian attributes, falling under the categories Units, Hero and Town.
Some of them are quite interesting, such as the Town Pet, who runs around picking up gold so you can focus on fighting. There’s also the Town Drunk, whose vomit slows enemy units.
But once you’ve mastered the art of dodging enemy projectiles and standing still to let your currency build up, you’ll realise there’s actually very little involved in the way of skill.
Unless you’ve upgraded your units and/or the tower and/or countless other things, you’ll ultimately find yourself overwhelmed by the approaching enemy, and the fun stops when either the Bardbarian is killed or the tower is destroyed.
Unfortunately, there’s no getting past the grind element, and as such you can thoroughly expect to remain stuck in the first half of the game for a good four or five hours, making marginal progress in each outing.
Of course, you can buy packs of gold to speed things along, but – personally – I resented the fact that I simply couldn’t be good at it.
- Interesting mix of genres
- Multiple unit types
- Some of the upgrades are quite amusing
- The freemium/69p thing
- Little involved in the way of skill
- Quite samey
Summary: Bardbarian is an interesting take on the tower defense thing, but expect progress to be incredibly slow if you’re not willing to pay up.
Price: 69p @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.