Tiny Barbarian DX is a hack ‘n slash inspired by Gunstar Heroes and other 16-bit gems with a ton of platforming. Anyone who grew up with games like Ristan will be at home with the game’s fantasy setting, although there’s a far faster pace here than in that game. If you love fantasy settings with slashing, but prefer a more Mega Man-style pace, then this is going to be more to your liking. Tiny Barbarian DX has been available for quite some time in some form — but only with earlier episodes. The $10 asking price gets you all of the episodes, with two available now.
The game’s development has an interesting story – with StarQuail Games originally making a game engine for an Xbox 360 Indie game that wasn’t really meant for fast action – so they had to rebuild a lot of things and optimize things for this style of gameplay. Nicalis is cleaning up the code a bit for episode three, and making sure things flow better than ever. Tiny Barbarian DX already has some of the most lush pixel art you’ll see – with tons of parallax scrolling and color used throughout the worlds. Outdoor areas really shine with bright skies, while indoor areas look foreboding. There are some shoot ’em up sections thrown in to keep things interesting and ensure you never get bored. Despite the fairly small size of our hero, he conveys a lot of emotion through celebratory posing – with a surprisingly lush set of animations for it and slashing as well.
The amazing thing is that while animation is lush, it doesn’t hurt the game at all and never gets so complex that it’s hard to time your attacks.Completionists will want to find all of the hidden coins – so those who want to play the game and just enjoy it can do so, while those wanting a more thorough experience can gain more points with coins and also find extra health pickups too. Controls are smooth and you can adjust your jumps in mid-air and even execute a little backflip to make sure you land where you need to.
So many retraux games are about evoking memories of days gone by without creating new ones, but Tiny Barbarian DX is out to give you new, lasting memories. A terrifying boulder chase is one highlight that gets your blood pumping and the level of smoothness in the control is something that wasn’t often seen in the 8 and 16-bit days. By being playable now, Tiny Barbarian DX eliminates a lot of the risk that comes from wondering a game is worth its asking price. It’s easy to research and see if it’s to your liking and with two episodes available it’s already a solid value. Episode three is about 75% complete, with no exact timetable for release. Fortunately, you can buy the game now and enjoy it when it does come out. The complete experience doesn’t have a release date — but Nicalis is aiming to get it all out by the end of this year.