Despite recent reports of the game’s catastrophic demise, a “janky” demo of post-cyberpocalyptic goof-em-up Barkley 2 has been released to Kickstarter backers after six and a half years of waiting. Whether anything else comes of the project now that most of Tales Of Game’s has absconded is up to the fates to decide, but the reality is that people are playing Barkley 2 right now. Below, a couple hours of this bizarre, frequently very funny action RPG streamed early today by “mdct” on Twitch. Check it out, or the Joke’s on you.
The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa is set four thousand years after the original (and free) Tales of Game’s Studios Presents Chef Boyardee’s Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa, and requires little knowledge of the original, because its protagonist has obligatory amnesia. He doesn’t know his name, but knows that b-ball flows through his veins. Or motor oil. Or corn syrup, depending on what you pick in character creation.
The current version is unsurprisingly buggy, unbalanced and pretty rough as a game. As a joke delivery system, it works great though. From the overblown Ultima-inspired character creation system (My racial enemies are YouTube Let’s Players and Garfield) to the in-game fake internet (including Chat Roulette), there’s a lot to see and enjoy. There’s even a bit more due to be released. While not integrated into the game (but it’s easy to see where it’s meant to go), the Bball Tactics mini-game is due to be released soon to backers, and then hopefully the general public.
While I don’t expect much more to come out of the Barkley 2 Kickstarter than this half-functional and unfinished build of the game, I’m glad that something playable was released. It’s as dense with weird humour as I was hoping, with jokes ranging from smirk-worthy to laugh-out-loud funny. Despite the game being at least 85% dead according to the one remaining member of Tales Of Game’s, that’s still a lot better than 100% dead. Given the sheer density of gags, it’s no surprise that the game slipped into development hell. Here’s hoping it can at least rise to purgatory.
You can read a bit more about the current state of Barkley 2, and some of the ideas scrapped from the game on its Kickstarter updates page here. The Janky Demo is currently available to backers only, although I don’t expect it’ll be long before it’s distributed far and wide. If you have no idea what’s going on, try the original, free Barkley: Shut Up And Jam Gaiden that started it all. You won’t be any the wiser afterwards, but it’s good for a chuckle.