Barnsley Badger - Could this be one of the best C64 games of 2016? Exclusive Preview!
During Chris Wilkins Kickstarter campaign for 'The story of the Commodore 64 in pixels', which was a huge success. One of the pledges £65 or more ,was a signed copy of a new C64 game called 'Barnsley Badger', developed by Trevor Story, George Rottensteiner and team. It star'd a gambling badger called Barnsley, who, after overhearing a conversation about a discovered gold coin in a graveyard, which has the head of the great Tutanbadge carved on one side. Goes on a quest to find more treasure to hopefully pay of his debts and live the life of luxury. So lets find out if this game is any good in our exclusive Indie Retro News Barnsley Badger C64 preview!
Before you even think about loading the game, some of the things that will strike you, is the high quality of the artwork for the cover, and goodies supplied with both the Kickstarter version and limited boxed version that is due to backers very soon. According to Chris Wilkins, the guru behind the book, the limited edition Barnsley Badger will come in a lovely presentation box (disk/tape), containing a badge, posters and an instruction postcard. So don't expect a budget tape in this lot, but do expect high grade presentation. Even the normal cassette version will look rather nice, but with all that said, it's time to begin the game!
The first thing to greet you in Barnsley is a very nice start screen with animated waterfalls, automatic character animations, colourful graphics, a very nice C64 tune, and scrolling text indicating the team behind the game and game options such as in game music or just sound effects. Something you rarely see in most C64 games. So from that, you can just tell this game is going to be very special!
Once the game actually begins, you are put in control of Barnsley and must go through all the different screens, picking up all the special gold like items along the way, while also avoiding some very nasty instant kill enemies and traps. That is if you can actually get off the first few screens, because if you are anything like me, when it comes to high grade coloured pixels with great SID tunes playing throughout, you'll spend half the time just sitting around admiring all the background and scene detail while also listening to the music, something this game has in spades!
Putting the above and below ground detail aside, yes you can even go underground! This game has one of the smoothest C64 control schemes I've played for a very long time. In fact the main character was so easy to control with climbing and bouncing about, I set myself a challenge to see how quick I could hop over enemies and traps through each screen without getting killed. It was such a joy to play, so I can see people doing time challenges in this game, setting their time against completing the game is certainly possible. You'll also not have to worry about annoying collision detection, which was an annoyance in Honey Bee, which we previewed the other day.
I also liked many of the enemy designs and character animations in the game, with each one having a different state of movement that must be timed to avoid or hopped over. But again, with that smooth control scheme, people of most ages should have no trouble playing, especially if you can get to many of the check points in the game, which saves your progress. Just be careful of those lives, if they are all depleted it's a game over!
So what do I think of this game in my final thoughts? Barnsley Badger is a stroke of genius and worthy to be crowned in Indie Retro News C64 hall of excellence. It has some of the best graphics seen in a C64 game for some time, lovely music being played throughout, a control scheme that does what you expect it to, incredibly fun to play and I really hope the team behind the game push it for a Steam release. The only negative I could think of, was more lives damn it!
Barnsley Badger will be available to backers in the next few weeks, also available to buy for all from Chris Wilkins site and from Psytronik's site hopefully next month!
Links : 1) Facebook 2) FusionBooks 3) Psytronik Software