The fourth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2016.


Barbara-Ian (Owlbear, 2015) is a procedurally-generated dungeon crawler where your character can take no damage. Okay, so obviously your character can take damage, but that damage leads to DEATH. I didn’t know this was Barbara-Ian‘s conceit until I died instantly when some dungeon ne’er-do-well touched me. And it made me smile.

It has some humour about it and the joyfully greasy physics help with that; as you tromp about, it’s just too easy to smash things to bits and hurl the debris everywhere. Normally in these sorts of games, you’re collecting things and cleaning the environment. Not so here! Barbara-Ian makes a goddamn mess of the place. It also reminds me of Super Crate Box (Vlambeer, 2010) because it seems I couldn’t escape a level without picking up a new weapon from a treasure chest, so even if you were very comfortable indeed with your mighty axe you’re going to be forced into The Tome of Laser Vision at some point.

I played quite a few times and was entertained. I expect it gets nerve-wracking if you’ve made a lot of progress but that’s just how the permadeath cookie crumbles. I never got that far. Perhaps you will.

Barbara-Ian is currently in early access.

Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!


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3 thoughts on “Dabbling with… Barbara-Ian

  1. I got booted off this by the dev because of people queuing for it, which is great really. I get so annoyed by people hogging games and the devs not ushering them on. Overcooked in the RPS room, I’m looking at you…

    To be fair, he probably booted me off because I was absolutely terrible at it. Like, I often died at the first enemy. Warren ran rings round me. I just couldn’t get the timing down on swinging your sword.

  2. Ha ha chucked off! Sorry mate but you’re a bit pants let this kiddie have a go yeah

    The sword did feel a bit loose but I think a part of that was being too scared to let the evil denizens get close enough. The damage point is inside the sword somewhere. I much preferred my swingy axe. I think I got to the third or fourth level. Just sayin’.

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