Well this is never making it on the front page, not like In-Indie was ever on the front page in the first place. Other than horrible gaming journalists not understanding how indie games work, another thing people say is how unfair they can be. Cuphead is unfair because your character only has three hearts on them. Hotline Miami is too hard because enemies can kill you in one hit. Slime Rancher is too hard because I can’t feed my Slimes in time. But there is a game out there that I can say with slight certainty that it can feel really unfair at times. A game so difficult that it already has me cursing before the game starts. A Bastard’s Tale.
A Bastard’s Tale follows a knight, I’m going to assume he’s the fabled Bastard, as he makes his way through a set of levels in a very slow movement speed, his quest, uncertain, but apparently, people praise him for his efforts after each level. Now if you play the game right, you could beat A Bastard’s Tale in sixteen minutes. It is a pretty short game. So why is it that HowLongtoBeat.com says that it takes two hours to beat? Because the game is so damn hard. Now it doesn’t have the difficult bosses like Cuphead or the one hit death mechanic of Hotline Miami, but what it does have is a lot of enemies. Honestly, this game has elements of being forgiving unlike the other two. You can take way more damage than in either game, and you can find a bottle of potion to heal up right before the boss. The game gives you plenty of time to prepare for the worst. So why is it so much harder? Because the controls are so damn confusing. You have three basic attacks, two side swings, one from the left and one from the right, and you have a downward slash. You can also block from these directions if you hold the shoulder button. It’s this mechanic that makes A Bastard’s Tale so tough. Enemies hold their weapons out to block, and you gotta swing at them in the right way. I always found swinging downward when they hold their weapons in any other direction the easiest since I can never really tell which side their blocking from. You gotta master these controls as soon as possible, because an enemy can really mess you up in seconds. They give little cool down time and are ready to swing again in seconds, and while you do have a health bar, they can drain it just as fast. While I did find some of the ways the game can get you killed pretty humorous, like a knight flinging his spear into the air after you kill him only to fall back and kill you. That’s kinda funny, like a Monty Python thing. Sadly, that laughter turns into a groan as I am thrown back to the start. While it feels good to beat a level after dying so many times, you will die many, many times. I think I died on the first two levels more times than I did on any of the levels of Hotline Miami… combined.
A Bastard’s Tale is tough, and kinda unforgiving with it’s difficulty. I did say that it is unfair, but the ways it does kill you can be funny if you can forgive how painfully difficult it is. A Bastard’s Tale is not a terrible game, despite what many of the reviews say for it, but even when you get passed the insane difficulty, it is a very simple game. I would recommend it for people who like the style or want a hard game… or buy it for a dollar like I did, but you can find better games that have a huge difficulty to it but has more to it than just difficulty like Hollow Knight, Hotline Miami, Cuphead, and for a more recent example, Blasphemous.
Up next: How low can your innocence go?