http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/2012/07/tinybarbdx.jpg
I'm really quite sorry for the title. I couldn't resist.

From the playable title screen (I managed to stay alive for quite a while once or twice), the game starts you off right in the action. There are no tutorials to help you on your way, but you'll see things that you can only get to by using a skill that you can easily figure out. New mechanics come organically in this way, rather than popups telling you what to do. It's easy to figure out the skills, but not so easy to pull them off every time. The challenge in unashamedly high, but it never feels cheap. When you mess up, you can see what you did wrong, and correct it next time. It's the good kind of Nintendo-hard where you don't want to throw the controller down, you want to get back in and beat it!

I'll admit, I haven't been able to complete the game yet, but I keep getting further! There is no way to save as of this writing, so if you have to close it you'll have to start over again. So far this hasn't bothered me at all, because it's a joy to play.

The only downside is the keyboard controls, which for my hands don't feel natural no matter how I remap them. This game needs a gamepad, but the controller settings are in a bit of a pickle at the moment. The team is currently working on a new XInput system to make it work, but for now if your controller doesn't work you'll need to get XPadder or JoyToKey going or just stick to the keyboard. Those programs have never worked well for me, throwing in extra keypresses when I don't need or want them, so I've been sticking to the keyboard. I have a feeling the game will feel much more natural when we get to play it with a controller.

The graphics in Tiny Barbarian are great, just what you'd expect from a retro hack-n-slash from the NES/SNES era. The sprites are all done well, and the animations are smooth.

The music is chiptune heaven. Some of the best music in a retro-styled game I've heard in a while. It complements the settings well, and doesn't get in the way.

Overall, this is definitely well worth the price and will give you tons of fun. Pick it up at http://tinybarbarian.com/ and help it get on Steam at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=110272647


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