Bard’s Gold Review: No School Like The Old School

bards-gold-logoPlatform: PC
Developer/Publisher: Pixel Lantern Games
MSRP: $7.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A- (95%)


In this not so new age of retro-gaming you’ll find plenty of developers claiming to have made the “hardest game ever” or something else that gets the eyebrow raised among those who crave that sort of challenge. “Hard” is in fact a relative term. Gamers with skill and a lot more patience can easily detect hit boxes, decipher enemy patterns and more or less make speed run mincemeat of some of these games within the space of a few hours or days. Bard’s Gold, created in Gamemaker by Erdem and Jennifer Sem, doesn’t care if and when you figure that stuff out, though. The game is designed to bump off your little pixel adventurer as often as possible as it teaches you all of its old school tricks.


The game is indeed quite difficult, but not at all unbeatable once you’ve put some time into it. In fact, the game greatly rewards players for figuring out early how to make the best of whatever it throws their way. Death comes quickly and often at first. And second, third and fiftieth plus. But as you discover how things work and the game becomes less frustrating and more challenging, its true beauty shines forth as an exercise in solid game design.
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Bard’s Gold: Throw Down The Gauntlet (And Your Controller) In This Instant Classic

Bard's Gold Logo 

If you remember way back when games didn’t hold your hand at all or you’re a newer gamer who wants a game that’s going to test your skills while teaching you some patience, welcome to Pixel Lantern’s Bard’s Gold. Available NOW on Steam, this retro platformer is neither another “Metroidvania” retread nor some speed-runner’s dream frenzy of the week. The game is a deliberately slower-paced side-scroller with an extreme difficulty that the developer (or at least the PR guy working for them) claims it’s the “hardest game on Steam”.

Bard's Gold 01 

Now, I can’t say whether or not this is true, but that trailer below sure doesn’t make it look anything close to “casual” at all.

Anyway, color me sold on this one. A request for a Steam code has been made, so we’ll see how tough this one is. Given the comments I’ve scanned so far, I’m expecting to be needing a new controller at some point.

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