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).


  1. Doogie2K says:

    “Barbara-Ian”: Bad pun or oldest Doctor Who ship?

  2. April March says:

    That pun was so awful I only figured it out ten seconds into the trailer.

  3. DailyFrankPeter says:

    The song they’re taking a piss out of is from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, and it’s actually a very intelligent pun (unlike, well, the title).

    • DailyFrankPeter says:

      (Oh darn, didn’t mean to paste a whole stonking big video player, just a link.)

    • Niko says:

      Also known as the Original Team Fortress Introduction Trailer music.

  4. crinkles esq. says:

    The title had me rather confused, thinking it was a play on the Beach Boys song Barbara Ann, and then since my brain was in Beach Boys mode thinking “1HP” was referring to horsepower, and thus surmising that the game was a roguelike where you drive an 1880’s electric buggy through hell.

    I quite like the visual aesthetic, but I’m not sure I’d have much fun with a 1HP experience.

  5. Spacewalk says:

    Bar Bar, Bar Barbara-Ian.

  6. welverin says:

    You wouldn’t question the danger of a Gelatinous Cube if you had suffered a TPK at the, umm, pseudopods of one of them!

  7. guygodbois00 says:

    “There are some puns that not even I will go near.” Nah, you are just sayin’ that.

  8. 9of9 says:

    I still don’t get the pun and it’s killing me. At first I thought it was just referring to the game being a local coop kind of thing… you know, Barbara-LAN, but then I just realised it’s the sans-serif typefaces at fault. Now I’m just lost. What?

    Especially since there doesn’t seem to be any multiplayer in sight at all. False advertising I tell you, false advertising!

    • Milos says:

      That’s an i not an l, so it’s barbara-ian as in barbarian. Yeah…

      • April March says:

        There’s still time to add a second barbarian named Ian.