If you like action RPGs and crass, lewd humor, then oh boy, do I have the game for you. The Bard’s Tale is a real gem of a game, not because it’s super polished or masterfully designed, but because it’s totally unique, and totally hilarious. This game was originally on consoles back in 2004, but its legacy reaches much farther than that. It’s actually based on a series of RPGs from the eighties that went by the same name. The games may be completely different in terms of graphics and gameplay, but they share the same, rude, snarky heart.
Our “Hero” of this tale is simply known as The Bard, and he’s a real piece of work. Even the narrator hates his guts, and he’s not afraid to let the player know. Sure, he gets caught up in a big quest to save the world and such, but not without demanding a few awards. A bag of silver here, a night with a buxom bar maid there, you get the picture. The very first quest sets the satirical tone of the game perfectly, as you have to clear a rat out of a cellar, except that the rat is twice your size and breathes fire.
The gameplay is well done enough. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. You have an attack and defend button, but your defense must be well timed. You can’t just hold the button down forever. As you hack your way through the ridiculous enemies of the world, you’ll also be doing a lot of summoning with your trusty lute. That is the bard’s main strategic option, and what makes him unique. He can summon all manner of creatures and companions to fight along his side.
Visually, the game is still solid, even if it does show off its age. The soundtrack is great, especially thanks to ”The Beer Song.” Voice acting is top notch, not only from the narrator, but from the Bard himself. Oh, did I forget to mention? The Bard is voiced by Cary Elwes, of Robin Hood: Men in Tights and The Princess Bride fame. The game is packed with features, from OpenFeint to totally optional in-app purchases to help you along. You can download it for six dollars, which may seem pricey for an Android game, but it gets even better. Not only do you get the new game, but you’ll eventually get access to all the eighties titles as well, whenever they’re released, as a free bonus. The Bard’s Tale is still laugh out loud funny, and definitely worth a look.