Game Review: “Tiny Barbarian DX” Brings Old School Fun

What it is:

A 2D side-scrolling hack & slash platformer with a retro feel and throwback style from Nicalis.

The game is out October 10 on Switch for $29.99.



One of the first games I remember playing on the original NES was Ghosts and Goblins, about a knight fighting monsters in graveyards and Medieval towns.  For reasons unknown, Tiny Barbarian DX reminds me a little of that game.

Maybe it’s the sheer machismo that the lead character exudes…like Conan the Barbarian meets He-Man.  Not only does he execute his foes with the swift and focused strikes of hard steel, but he flexes and elbow drops to dispatch them, as well.

The result is a captivating and fun-to-play throwback title with modern sensibilities.


Pre-title screen, the titular barbarian stands atop a hill and is quickly overrun by monstrous figures…goblins, perhaps?  Fight all you want, you will eventually be overrun.  It’s okay.

Post-title, our hero is bound and tied to a tall tree, where he’s to become prey to the vultures of the air.  With nothing at his disposal but his teeth and sheer brute strength, the warrior overcomes a vulture, eats it regain his waning strength, and breaks free of his bondage where he goes on a rampage throughout the land, slaughtering all in sight.



The controls are a little more in-depth than you first realize, with a wide-array of attacks, wall cling and platform climbing abilities, etc.

Throughout the adventure, you are required to climb various vines, both vertical and horizontal, but you don’t cling to them automatically.  You have to push “up” on the joystick, and that simple act proves to be quite challenging at times.


The game isn’t necessarily pretty by modern standards, though it does do 8-bit well.  I’m sure the more well-informed could talk about the more technical aspects of layer and shadow, but to the modern gamer, it looks like an old-school game, which is clearly the intent.


Why you should play it:

The game is just pure fun.  There’s a purity and joy to the gameplay, pets that you can ride, enemies that you slaughter, and enough retro feel to make you feel like a kid again.

That being said, the $30 price tag feels super steep for a game that should (by my estimation) come in closer to $10-15 like Shovel Knight.



Let us know what you think of Tiny Barbarian DX in the comments section below!

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