Tiny Barbarian DX Review - Big Things Come In Small Packages
Quick Glance - Tiny Barbarian DX
- Platform – Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC / Mac
- Players – 1 – 2; Local Multiplayer
- Achievements - Yes
- Steam Trading Cards - Yes
- Controller Support - Yes, Full
- Retail Price - $29.99
High Level Premise: Pixel art Tiny Barbarian must get revenge.
Graphics/Style: Minimalistic, tiny 2-D pixel art. Ancient themes akin to Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, other retro games are present.
Music/Soundtrack: Catchy retro chiptunes to keep you in the nostalgic mood.
Story: You are a Tiny Barbarian who was surrounded and captured by a horde of cultists and left for dead. You must get your revenge and cleanse the world of this evil.
Replay-ability: The couch co-op is a nice feature, too bad there is no Internet play! The Horde mode keeps it fresh as well, allowing you to fight countless armies until you are exhausted.
Time Commitment: Each "room" takes anywhere from 5-15 minutes to complete, a single level was taking me about 30 minutes to finish. The nice part is it will automatically save between levels, and with the hibernation mode Nintendo Switch, I found myself stopping pretty much anywhere and coming back later to pick up where I left off.
Value: At first glance, you will think that $29.99 is a bit steep for an indie game. However, make no mistake, do not judge a Tiny Barbarian by the size of his pixel sprite. This game is LONG. It's four episodes with several levels and boss battles within each. I would estimate for the average player that each episode would take at least 2-3 hours to complete, and that's not including trying to find all of the hidden secrets. To compare to another solid indie game, Tiny Barbarian DX is on par to the total length of Shovel Knight, maybe longer.
Favorite Element(s): Sure there is sword play, but nothing beats a flying elbow drop landed spectacularly on a monster. Also, the episode maps are shown between most levels, these resemble the style of Ghosts 'n Goblins. Also all of the cool physical "feelies" that come with the physical copy of the Nintendo Switch version.
Tiny Barbarian DX isn't new to the scene, but makes it debut on Nintendo Switch this month. Using tiny sprites in a minimalistic 2-D world, Tiny Barbarian must get revenge on a cultist army that left him for dead. Split across four episodes with multiple levels contained in each, Tiny Barbarian must navigate through dungeons, explore ancient evil palaces guarded by wizards, and scale huge mountains. This game is highly influenced from classic action games like Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, and Ghosts 'n Goblins. However, unlike that last title I just mentioned, this game does not seem to be severely punishing as it gives you more than just a couple of hits before you perish.
Here is the one thing I can say about this game that a lot of indie games get wrong. When you get hit, or ultimately die, it's your fault. The controls are very tight on Tiny Barbarian DX and there are no ridiculous unexpected insta-death issues, unlike in some other games (I'm looking at you Mega Man 10.) Obviously because the controls are so solid, it adds extra enjoyment to the game. It feels satisfying when you complete an area, because you know you put the hard work into guiding Tiny Barbarian skillfully through the numerous obstacles.
Nicalis is known for being the indie publisher with "flair", and Tiny Barbarian DX on the Nintendo Switch is no exception. Like some other Nicalis Nintendo Switch releases such as The Binding of Isaac Rebirth+, the first prints of Tiny Barbarian DX come with some extra physical rewards placed inside the game case. This is perfect for a Nintendo Switch title, as there is a lot of room inside the case. A retro instruction manual, key chain, and a Tiny loincloth-errr.. microfiber pouch are all included at no extra cost. This benefits both the buyer and Nicalis by including bonuses for obtaining the game at launch without preordering.
Overall, Tiny Barbarian DX is a solid little game in an awesome physical release. Nicalis has once again shown everyone else how a physical release should be done for an indie game. Make sure you grab this one while it is still around, before the quantities get so tiny, they disappear!