Game Review: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1
Yes, you heard the title, and yes it does exist. I played this a year, and decided to play it again, and I still can’t believe it exists. But whatever you think of the trailer or the screenshots so far, this fan made game is definitely worth playing, with humor, an interesting RPG system, and a plot that parody’s JRPG’s in general will go down as one the greatest fan indie games ever made.
What may surprise you, from all the weird trailers and unbelievable screenshots, is how serious the plot can get. Barkley is the main hero, set to make things right after destroying the world with a technique called the “Chaos Dunk”(yes that’s right). He lives in Neo New York with his son Hoopz, as he is trying to make life better for him. But his past catches up to him as he is sent on a quest to make sure it never happens again. The story is actually quite decent with Michael Jorden playing the villian, as he believes that Barkley preformed the dunk, and wants to wipe him out for good. It’s a dystiopian future, riddled with the kind of scum and machinations that fallen on Barkley to try to overcome along with his friend, the Spiritual Elder Balthios. Along the way, he meets many interesting characters, with cameos and other crazies to make the world more original then flawed. Sure, JRPG’s have to many cliches to count, but this plot basically directs fun towards that with over the top writing, and signs that show how humorous in this world of destruction can be.
Dialogue has been written to give an air of seriousness, to contrast with the “wtf” situations you are presented, which is amazing either way to read. You come across many different locations on Barkley’s journey, like a underground machine city, Ellis Island, and a Egyptian-style tombs of former b-ballers. But a journey isn’t complete without the battles, which take direction inspiration from Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. But this game has it’s own unique style with it’s unique characters and their different techniques using. Barkley uses b-ball techniques, Balthios uses his zauber(elemental magic), and many more. During the game, they develop special skills which are more powerful but eat up mana (obviously).
The enemies are a hit and miss, some being too difficult while some are too easy (which really doesn’t matter). You fight.. Ball Spiders, Giant Whistles, and Dread Refs (that are hard to kill). These creative monsters not only add something different to the RPG genre, but you also have to watch for the effects they can give off, as sometimes they can afflict oppenents with Asperger’s, Diabetus, and Glaucoma (I’m not kidding, this happens). This also can note to how easy it is to get through this game (5-6 hours), as their is rly no need to grind at all, which helps progress the story along at a great pace. The battles help with this, as with the Mario and Luigi series, players have to input certain button presses during some of the techniques during each fight.
This game isn’t without it’s flaws, as it experiences what all freeware titles have like Barkley sticking to places, which will annoy some players, and their could be some flaws that people may find in the pacing (even if it’s great in my opinion). It’s common sense to know that some glitches like these are known to be here. But what’s great is that the good, mostly eclipses the bad, thanks to the presentation, that jams humor in every place in can get (Direct X 10 logo, I’m looking at you), as well as the remixed Space Jam theme and battle themes.
Overall, this freeware rpg is definitely worth your time, to anyone looking for some offcollar humor, and a homage to JRPG’s, and poking fun at them at the same time. Hopefully Chapter 2 will come, if the studio gets enough support from fans, but in the mean time, check out this free title, and see you on the court.
My Rating: A