One of the key strengths of the Nintendo Switch’s game library is its diversity and range of software releases made possible by the influx of high-quality indie games. A recent example of this is Tiny Barbarian DX – developed by StarQuail and published by Nicalis. Using nostalgia as a means of attraction, Tiny Barbarian DX is able to appeal to those searching for a retro-game experience – much like Shovel Knight. By making use of striking pixel art, quality music, and exciting play styles, Tiny Barbarian DX is an engaging indie release and one that fans of 2D action games will want to add to their Switch library.
One must applaud the effort put into Tiny Barbarian DX, as the game successfully delivers a game experience that feels genuine to the 2D action games of yore. In terms of look, feel, and level design, the development team has produced a game that feels as though it was taken from the glory days of the 2D action genre. This is no small feat to accomplish, but Tiny Barbarian DX does so in spades.
The first thing you will notice with Tiny Barbarian DX is its artistic and visual style. The pixel art is simple, yet beautifully animated with subtle motions that lend the characters a sense of personality and allow the environments to feel more lively. Moreover, this aesthetic style shines on both the Switch’s screen and on a TV display.
While the game’s visuals will capture your attention, it is the challenging and rewarding gameplay that will hook you. There is no mistaking it; you will die a lot while playing Tiny Barbarian DX and each defeat will only motivate you to better perform your next attempt. Appreciatively, the game is designed with failure in mind and grants the player unlimited lives and forgiving checkpoints. Half of the game’s challenge stems from the attack patterns of enemies; meanwhile, the other half will be found in the level design.
Journeying through the game’s environments is no simple task, as they will put your platforming skills to the test and, at times, push your patience. To aid in your adventure, the player has the option to permit ‘Auto-Grab’ – meaning the character will latch onto anything that can be climbed. Enabling this option makes traversing difficult platforming sections more tolerable. The platforming can be quite demanding; thus the ‘Auto-Grab’ option makes the game more accessible.
Tiny Barbarian DX does a phenomenal job of staying fresh and never having one gameplay style overstay its welcome. It achieves this by altering the means in which you play. While some stages are platforming focused, there are others that will have you mount wild beasts and race across an environment. This change in game style will keep you entertained and curious about what is to come. An additional highlight of Tiny Barbarian DX is the boss battles. Every boss encounter introduces a new means to combat the enemy. To solve the proper method to fight with a boss is a battle in and of itself, but that makes victory all the more rewarding.
Considering Tiny Barbarian DX is a blend of action and platforming, it is important to note that the controls are precise and simple to grasp. Performing combos and counters are fun and require little effort. In an effort to convey humor, the main character can flex his muscles to counter an enemy attack. Although the controls are easy to make use of, combat and platforming can still be challenging; but the mix of easy control and difficulty allow the game to deliver a unique experience that the player will enjoy.
Tiny Barbarian DX represents yet another successful indie addition to the Switch’s growing game library. It has the charm of an old-school game, but feels modern enough that gamers of all ages will be able to find entertainment within. It’s a thrilling experience that will test your skills throughout the entire journey. Once the lovely pixel art and charismatic soundtrack are factored in, you are left with a brilliant action-platformer that Switch owners will thoroughly enjoy.
(Editor’s Note: A Review Code for Tiny Barbarian DX was Provided by Nicalis for Purpose of this Review.)