Bearbarians - A blood-soaked action plaformer with more cuteness than a game of this genre should have
When the land in which you live – let’s call this land Bearbaria, just for argument’s and accuracy’s sake - is invaded and your village is all but destroyed by some evil bears simply looking to disrupt the status quo in the most violent way possible, there seems to be only one thing that is likely to happen next: a cuddly-yet-murderous bear hero will rise from the ashes of your burnt-down town in order to restore order and honour to your village and your land. Suppose that this is actually the plot of Bearbarians, a wonderfully cute yet outrageously violent action platformer from Jay Armstrong, and you may be highly intrigued as to what this game has to offer you. And so you should be, since this game has sword wielding, gun slinging action involving upgrades and a team of battle-happy bears, the likes of which are rarely seen in flash-based platform games.
Sword Wielding, Gun Slinging
Looking at the gameplay of this brilliantly-designed title, we have a classic action platformer on our hands that involves using the directional arrows to control our bear’s movement, the A key to wield your sword, the S key to shoot your gun, and the D key to use your shield in order to block attacks from your enemies. The format is much like an arena game since you re-spawn when killed without any other penalties. Battles are almost always occasions that simply require you to reach a certain number of points for you to succeed, with a point being earned for each kill. This quick-fire format means that the game is never low on action but is always high in violence, fun, and generally hectic gameplay, though in the most fun way possible.
Far from a boring affair that involves killing repeatedly with no variation, Bearbarians contains four different classes of bear that you can re-spawn as once you are killed. Scouts are light and fairly weak but very quick, Brutes are burly and strong but very slow, Medics are all-round fighters that can heal teammates, and Mages are able to use magic to attack the enemy, dealing higher quantities of critical hits. Each type of fighter therefore has particular advantages and disadvantages that are in turn affect by the weapons and items that they carry
This brings us on to perhaps the most fun set of variables in the game: the statistics. Specifically, I’m talking about each player’s stats in relation to the weapons and items he or she is carrying. In the shop you can purchase items and weapons with the money that you earn from each battle. These weapons and items have an effect on the stats of your player such as his health, speed, and critical attacks. Equipping certain weapons will increase your ranged attack whilst having a detrimental effect on your speed, for example, whilst the lost speed can be compensated for by equipping a gold crown, for example. More weapons and items are available for you as you level up, so progress in the game yields material rewards that in turn allow you to make more progress. Being able to select various team members and their weapons also makes things a lot more fun.
There is very little more to say about Bearbarians aside from the fact that it is an incredible little action platformer that is wildly distinctive and unbelievably stylish. The cartoon-ish design of the game mixes cute with violent almost seamlessly, and navigating through the menus and the general function of the entire thing is at the level of a professional console game. It can get a little repetitive after a while and it can feel quite chaotic at times, but this is the nature of such a game and I won’t pretend that it takes away from the fun in any significant way. This has to be one of the best action platformer titles I have ever played and is up there with other fantastic warrior games such as Knightmare Tower.