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Barbara-Ian! A 1HP Action Dungeoneering Experience

BarbaraIan screenshot

BarbaraIan! What is best in life?

Crush your enemies. See them driven toward you. Hear the lamentation of the player.

There are some puns that not even I will go near. “Barbara-Ian” [official site] is henceforth to be counted among that number. Name aside, though, this glass-cannon dungeoneering experience looks like it could be a giggle if it makes it out of Greenlight.

We’ve been experiencing a glut of dungeon-crawlers of late, and in many ways Barbara-Ian is ticking a lot of the same boxes we’ve seen ticked so many times before. Procedurally generated dungeon environment? Check. Retro visual style? Check. Gelatinous cubes somehow proving threatening? Check.

Familiar foundations aside, quite a few of the ideas that developers Owlbear have stuffed into Barbara-Ian sound pretty cool. The “one hitpoint” concept outlined in that second video means that death is only ever a single mistake away, with quick restarts (a la Super Meat Boy and Gunpoint) intended to minimise frustration and get you right back into the action.

I’m also rather fond of Barbara-Ian’s visual style, which has seized the look of early 90s polygons and run with it, bellowing all the way. I like the idea of a focus on pure action, too, with skill systems and inventory management following the health bar into the barbara-bin. This all seems terribly appropriate for a game starring a mighty-thewed female barbarian whose most notable characteristic is her boundless rage.

Even the utterly ridiculous song in the first trailer up above has grown on me (admittedly, largely because of the guy who cracks up right at the end of the video).

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Who am I?

Shaun Green

Contributor

Writes music, book and film reviews at www.nostalgiaforinfinity.com. Writes about videogames at www.arcadianrhythms.com. Plays guitar in www.wrecktheplacefantastic.co.uk. Occasionally sleeps.

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