April 17, 2015 3:50 AM | Luca Colosso
Bard's Gold is an arcade platformer with several RPG and roguelike elements. The retro feel created by developers Erdem and Jennifer Sen suits the gameplay very well, and even if there's a lot more that needs to be added I can see myself playing this for hours already. The alpha build available has been recently released for all the targeted platforms, which translated into an almost immediate success of the Steam Greenlight campaign that was ongoing since the early days of February.
The storyline isn't extraordinarily complex, but in the end of the day having an elaborate excuse to kill everything for some useless imaginary points wasn't so needed until two decades ago. Bard's Gold follows that philosophy, basically, and it leaves the player on his own pretty soon. The only goal is to retrieve the titular family treasure in the depths of the game's dungeon to be clear, though everything including the basic game mechanics must be figured out as you go.
You have just three minutes to complete a level, which means that on top of killing as many creatures as you can you must also locate a golden key that is needed to open the passage to the next area. Said passage, however, will be on the opposite side of the map, thus keeping in mind the layout of every single level is a nice trick that I suggest you to use. As a matter of fact, nothing here is procedurally generated, and assuming that just because of this design choice the replay value decreases is completely wrong. It took me a hour to go past the fifth level, really, so complaining about the fact that nothing ever changes isn't something that you'll hear that often.
The score system isn't as "useless" as in your average arcade game, too, and while it is certainly about reaching higher and higher ceilings it's also used to empower the base stats of the character that are maintained through the runs. We're talking about the gems that every monster and pot drops here, and throughout every game session you'll have to decide whether spending them in the in-game shops for easy upgrades or keeping them until death occurs so that you can buy more reliable (but pretty low) stats boosts in the afterworld.
In addition to all of that, boss fights as well as multiple secret areas (which their research is emphasized greatly) are being worked on. Some are already in place, but their number is bound to increase consistently as the development goes on.
Windows, Mac, and Linux alpha builds can be downloaded on IndieDB.