App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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You know a game has got something special when you just can't put it down. Barbaric: The Golden Hero's Monster Strike-style combat and stylish look hooked me to the point that I couldn't stop playing until there was no more of it to play. It's not the most difficult game out there, but it's a tremendously fun and stylish loot-based dungeon-crawler that fits mobile pretty perfectly.
The dungeon-crawling action of Barbaric is akin to Monster Strike and even Angry Birds. In the game, you control your barbarian hero by tapping and dragging back on the screen and then release to send him careening into flocks of enemies. Once you've lost a certain amount of speed, the game will start moving in slow motion until you line up your next shot.
The enemies in Barbaric won't just take your punishment lying down though. Each enemy has a set of attacks that you need to account for so you don't lose from taking too many hits. This creates a balance of angling shots to maximize the punishment you dish out while minimizing the amount you take.
Loot em' up
In every level of Barbaric, your goal is to kill every enemy on a given map. If you do this, you'll get rewarded with chests that can give you new gear like a new loincloth or shiny sword. Each of these items posses particular stats that can help your hero in subsequent levels.
In addition to loot, you'll also earn gold between levels, which you can use to spend to upgrade your hero's base stats or abilities that you can apply to shots like pierce, which is lets you travel through enemies to deal damage instead of bouncing off of them.
The gold standard
Barbaric stands out because it's a game that pays a lot of attention to details. It's flinging-style action is straightforward, but the fact that it has a slo-mo element makes it really stylish. It's loot isn't the most visually creative, but the items themselves have unique properties that keep the upgrade path from feeling completely linear. Even the enemies in Barbaric–which really don't need to be particularly unique–are differentiated by type and possess their own attacks that always keep you on your toes.
As if that weren't enough, all of this comes delivered in a free-to-play package that is more than reasonable. The only real gating mechanic in the game is an energy system that only depletes if you fail a mission, and there are options to purchase additional chests of loot if you want. In my time playing through the entirety of Barbaric, I never ran out of energy and I never felt the need to buy a crate of loot, which is a rare thing to say of a free-to-play game.
The bottom line
By the time I finished with Barbaric, my only real complaint is that there wasn't more of it. It's got great mechanics and a fun upgrade system, both of which are tuned into a tight little mobile package. There's really no reason not to pick this one up.