tiny barbarian

tiny barbarian, based on a conan story, shows us that heroic fiction like conan the barbarian translates well to the framework of contemporary run-jump-bash games, reminds us that games can be short stories instead of epics, and includes a self-consciously antagonistic romance, which is something i like. an obnoxiously hard boss fight tries its best to ruin the experience, though.

15 thoughts on “tiny barbarian”

  1. This rules, also reminds me of the old Conan: Hall of Volta game.

    Makes me want to work on my Tower of the Elephant idea a bit…

  2. I haven’t read the story, so I can’t relate the game to that, but I do have to say that the game presents a nice story of its own, and does a very good job of it. Haven’t beaten those ice giants, though.

  3. I found that the trick with the boss fight is to wear both giants down evenly, and then kill one immediately after killing the other. Still took some luck.

    I like that the inclusion of the timer makes me wonder if I could have got a happier ending by completing the game faster.

  4. Malefact: I did the same. The latter part of the boss fight is ridiculous. I can survive, but it’s so hard to get blows in without getting hurt.

    Honestly though, I felt the giants fit the feel of the game. I have to say the difficulty overall didn’t make much sense, what with all of the enemies you killed staying dead if you die. This is offset somewhat by the zombies resurrecting, but it still kind of lets you cheese the game. I also thought the sword swing mechanic didn’t really work. It worked better in Arveosine because everything isn’t so tiny and jumpy.

    It’s really well made, though, and I feel like it captures the spirit of the source material well.

    The little hearts were also nice, especially since they make it the barbarian a little more innocent.

  5. yeah, the hearts give the barbarian a sense of naivety that i think is important to gaining the player’s sympathy.

    i like that enemies (mostly) stay dead; dying in the game is time-expensive, not resource-expensive, and the game tracks your time as a measure of how well you’ve played.

    which is why it’s jarring when you wham into the bosses against whom you make no progress when you die. i remember people making the same complaint about star guard, but the wizard’s pattern is much easier to learn reliably than the giants’. especially because it changes in the middle of the fight and it’s such a long slog to get to the second part to begin with.

  6. Interesting little piece… Being completely unaware of the source material I built my own interpretation of the character dynamics and was quite surprised to learn the ‘true’ meaning. I initially assumed that my barbarian was (as fishboy explained) naive and innocent and that the maiden’s attacks were an attempt to repel him. It was only later that I discovered she was taunting him.

    The final battle then had me believe that she had been deceiving the barbarian and led him into a trap. I had no interpretation of the ending because I couldn’t even defeat one of the terrible twins.

    I really liked the length of this game and I agree that it definitely suited the short story format. I’d love to see more short story games like this, with character dynamics adapted to game mechanics and level scenarios.

  7. The end fight wasn’t bad so much as having to run back to them after you died. Slowly. While dodging projectiles. Again and again.

  8. Did everyone use joy2key? The boss fight seemed appropriately difficult, but I imagine playing this with a keyboard would push that fight into obnoxious territory.

    Sean, beat the ice giants.
    The ending is nice. :3

  9. I gave up on the boss not because it’s pattern was “omg impossible” but because the hitbox of its bullets was larger than the bullet’s sprite.

  10. I don’t use joy2key, so unfortunately the boss fight is pretty obnoxious for me. I’m going to keep working at it, though.

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