Bard's Gold

The sense of accomplishment in games is something developers aim to achieve for their players, among other things. Roguelike games are one of the strongest in this category due to their harsh environments and rewarding ‘re-playability’. Playing through Pixel Lantern’s & EastAsiaSoft’s Brad’s Gold was…an interesting experience. With its old school style thanks to the pixel art, and charming subtle tunes, this is one peculiar game.

This game allows you to play in three different modes; Normal, Retro and Roguelike. However, even though you get checkpoints in them (except Roguelike mode) they all are as tough and harsh as you could imagine.

You are a simple adventurer who throws daggers. Your goal is to enter over 100 randomly generated dungeons; fight enemies who have both predictable and unpredictable move sets, find the room’s key and escape via the door. Pretty simple right? Well it just so happens that like any other game of this genre, the beginning will be quite challenging.

One hit and you love 1 HP, starting with 4. Once you get knocked out 4 times you must start all over. Good thing that the game features a currency system with gems and gold inside breakable vases and hidden blocks – with these you can enter the shop (if there is one in your random room) and buy upgrades that will stay with you until you reset. On the other hand, you can save those coins and spend them on permanent upgrades after each level.

The permanent upgrades window isn’t very gentle either though, as you must have played a good portion of the game to earn enough to buy these upgrades and see which ones are hidden behind the frames, so you pretty much have to upgrade your Bard in not exactly a lineal mode, but kind of. It really depends on what you discover during your runs and what you unlock -as any other roguelike- the more, the better!

As for the story? This genre allows developers to put pretty much anything, any plot will be either funny, clever, or both. In Bard’s Gold it’s so subtle I barely know what is going on, why are you a Bard? Why do you throw daggers? Why are you venturing into a dungeon filled with monsters? Well it just so happens a goblin stole your saddle and it’s quite the family heirloom, containing drum roll the Bard’s Gold.

Bard’s Gold is still a very casual roguelike. It’s very appealing to have modes with checkpoints and still maintaining a challenging level. I’d recommend it to fans of the genre and the likes. This retro arcade platformer is on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and PS Vita.

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