Category: Adventure Game
Seller: inXile Entertainment
Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or higher
File Size: 2.99 GB
Age Rating: 12+ (Infrequent/Mild Profanity, Crude Humor, and Violence)
Saucy. Spicy. Rather ribald. A quest for coin and cleavage, The Bard’s Tale is a twist on the traditional roleplaying quest game. Fight your way through rat-infested basements, wolf-infested forests, and onwards through three towers to rescue the princess…but should you?
Games with the name The Bard’s Tale have been around for nearly three decades, though the current incarnation shares nothing but name with the original 1985 version.
Created as a parody of the stereotypical roleplaying adventure game, The Bard’s Tale features nods to classic elements of gameplay (come save the princess!), off-the-wall supporting characters (a whole village of druids named Bodg), and a choice of snarky or nice responses to interact with characters in the story. There is even a plot twist and choose-your-own-ending option waiting for you during the final scene.
The Bard’s Tale picks up the story of a bard (voiced by Cary Elwes of Princes Bride fame), on what appears to be a neverending quest to amass riches and get it on with the maidens. A series of characters push you into a quest to save a princess locked away in a tower, while the narrator openly mocks the bard’s personality, looks, and personal motivations. The bard frequently responds to these taunts, breaking the fourth wall and generating some genuinely laugh out loud moments. The humor is based on innuendo; it will likely fly right over the head of most children, but the subject matter is still fairly mature.
The Bard’s Tale features a semi-3D gameplay on a guided map, and can be controlled with either keyboard or mouse control (the keyboard is much easier). A radial menu system maps to the directional keys, allowing you to equip the bard with a variety of weapons, summon helpful supporting creatures, or use Adderstones to call upon the powers of defeated enemies to help defeat new enemies or heal the bard and his companions.
The Power of Music
As a singer of tales, the bard in Bard’s Tale has a special power: his songs can summon magical beings to his aid. At the beginning of the story, this summoning power is limited to a rat, which the bard uses as a pretense to rescue a busty bar wench.
Throughout the story, though, the bard learns new tunes, which allow him to summon additional critters/characters, with a variety of skills. You can call upon an archer, a knight, a skeletal triceratops, a fire elemental…the list goes on and on, but each summoned creature has a unique ability and proves its worth by aiding you in combat. One word of advice—do not ignore the summoning tunes acquired early in the game. Some of the first creatures (especially the electric rat) are very useful even at the final stages of the game.
The Bard’s Tale is irreverent, hysterical, and definitely the cure for the common RPG. There are song and dance numbers (including a zombies vs. skeletons number), a sneaky plot twist, and a greek chorus of hobbit-like Trow who occasionally appear to sing about how much it sucks to be you (and they manage to work the word bollocks into the song…repeatedly).
If you wish to get an extra leg up, there are also in-app purchases that allow you to level up faster, though normal gameplay provides plenty of artifacts, skills, and silver to get you ready to kick butt and take names. The only disappointing part of the game is the lack of a free exploration mode after you beat the final boss. Maybe a Bard’s Tale 2 will come along to keep us entertained?
Buy The Bard’s Tale