A Bastard’s Tale – Review
Follow Genre: (Re)Action, Adventure
Developer: No Pest Productions
Publisher: No Pest Productions
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

A Bastard’s Tale – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Mechanics, Difficulty, 2D Dark Souls
Bad: A bit short, Would have been even better with a short story
User Score
8.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)

Once in a blue moon there comes a game that makes Dark Souls look like a walk in the park. It seems No Pest Productions wanted to create an old school adventure, not about story or graphics, but about great combat mechanics, that might look more simple than they actually are. It’s been a while since we were faced with an adventure that would make Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts quiver in its boots. Watch out Jon Snow, this bastard really knows how to fight.

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Story

You, the knight in shiny armor have been going through life as a bastard. This title is not one to be proud of, especially in medieval times. You’ll never be able to claim the legacy of your father, your mother is shunned due to your very existence but somehow you seemed to have managed to become a knight, as you proudly wear your own suit of armor. Life is harsh, as you are walking around being attacked by farmers, cattle, fellow knights, mages and so on for no particular reason. All that’s left for you to do is slay everyone who crosses your path…

I’m actually bullshitting you as we speak, as the game does not have an actual story. Even though the game has a story mode, you’ll just scroll through the levels the game throws at you, each with their own theme, enemies and boss. Thus you’ll have to make up a story as you go. Nonetheless, it would have been nice to know a bit more about this bastard, who happens to be a killing machine.

Graphics

Graphically A Bastard’s Tale goes back to basics, albeit a great looking pixilated base. You’ll be wandering through several different stages, with graphics reminiscent of those that were seen on the Super Nintendo and truth be told, the game looks amazing this way. The style makes older gamers think about the days when games were extremely hard and in combination with the difficulty level of A Bastard’s Tale, this theme is right up its alley.

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Throughout the different levels, you’ll encounter roughly fifteen different enemies, which all have their distinct features. Perhaps the only arguable remark might be that enemies which you encounter more than once, could have done with some slight differences along the way. That being said, the enemies look fitting, going from farmers to wolf-like beasts.

Even though the game chooses a 2D approach, small nuances are made by adding some minor 3D effects. This gives the game a small extra layer, thanks to some animation in the background, as well as the combat mechanics.

Sound

As if being a bastard in medieval times wasn’t already sad enough, the soundtrack of the game has a fairly sad undertone. Whilst the music may be catchy, retro-ish and decent, you’ll notice that it’s not the cheeriest music you’ve ever heard. All of this again contributes to the grim retro vibe this game is aiming for.

Sound effects are just the way they should be. The sound of weapons clashing, the monsters that attack you and the rampaging cattle and horsemen all sound spot on. All in all, a fairly simple collection of sound effects, but it gets the job done.

Gameplay

It’s hard to place this game in a specific genre, as it has the appearance of an adventure game, but in reality it’s all about action and reaction. You will be controlling this bastard knight throughout five levels, with a number of fairly simple to learn options. You’ll have to choose between three types of blocks (left, right and up), three different attacks (left, right and up), using a potion, rolling and of course moving back and forth. Whilst this may sound simple enough, it’s actually extremely hard to master the blocking and attacking portion of the game.

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Your warrior can handle a few hits before he dies but as you will get hit easily, if you don’t block, you’ll have to master the art of staying alive. When your foes attack you, you will often only have a second, or less, to respond by blocking or rolling away. The latter will only increase the gap between you and your foe, making it hard to approach the enemy once again. That being said, you’ll sometimes have to roll away from danger, because not everything can be blocked. When you decide to start blocking incoming attacks, you’ll have to determine if the enemy is attacking your left or right flank or from above. If you defend the wrong side, you’ll get hit. Being slow, attacking too fast or misjudging the distance between you and your opponent will all reward you with a clobbering.

A Bastard’s Tale is in essence all about trial and error, as you will die – and die – and die – and die, to learn the ropes. Many opponents you’ll be able to overpower by getting the hang of the blocking mechanics, whilst others, you’ll have to defeat in different ways (to defeat). For example, cattle will have to be dealt with by judging how fast the approaching animals will hit you and thus you will have to time your attacks to make them feel the cold steel of your blade.

Even though the game is actually quite short, seeing it only consists out of five levels, which you could complete in mere minutes each – if you have the right set of skills –  you’ll still spend quite some time fighting your way through them. As stated before, the game revolves heavily around trial and error, thus meaning that if you die, you’ll have to start the level you’re in all over again. Slip ups and mistakes will be the foundation of you wanting to hone your skills even further and in turn this will lengthen the overall duration of the game. Those who master games such as this one in a rapid pace might clear it in a few hours but nonetheless, the gameplay is quite solid.

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Those who seek more challenge than the story mode provides, can rack up kills in the endless mode. In this mode the enemies are scrambled, meaning you’ll have to fight off all the enemies you see in the story mode, randomly. The only extra this mode has to offer is the chance to break your own personal scores and that’s pretty much about it.

Conclusion

A Bastard’s Tale is a game that takes you back to the good old days, with great pixilated looks, a mood setting soundtrack and a solid gameplay foundation, thanks to its great mechanics. Even though the game might be considered short, it is not for the faint of heart, as you’ll be going through an experience that is a constant battle of trial and error. If you’re done with Dark Souls, how about giving this ‘2D version’ a try? In short, for those who like a challenge, this game will certainly provide you with one.

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Rating: 8.7/10 (3 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
A Bastard's Tale - Review, 8.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

2 Comments

  1. […] “A Bastard’s Tale is a game that takes you back to the good old days, with great pixilated looks, a mood setting soundtrack and a solid gameplay foundation, thanks to its great mechanics.” 9 – http://3rd-strike.com/a-bastards-tale-review/ […]

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  2. […] It’s hard to believe that a game with a strong title like: A Bastard’s Tale is having a ‘very positive’ review score on Steam. I mean, the title doesn’t really seem quite inviting. That just shows that you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover or the game by the title. With that and the positive reviews in mind the game is getting a port to PlayStation 4. What’s even better is that the game is coming out next week. Just a quick note… the game is difficult. If you want to know what you are getting into, you might want to read up on the review which can be found here. […]

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