Game Reviews

Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads

The key to a good puzzle game is is how satisfying it is.

If a puzzler is too easy or straightforward, there's no challenge and the experience is akin to filling in paperwork.

If it's too hard or obtuse, you feel like an idiot or start making excuses about why you can't figure things out.

Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads is a little too far into the latter camp for my liking, but puzzle aficionados are going to adore the complexities hidden in its simple premise, and spend a very long time completing its challenges.

Easy to learn...

That premise is easy to understand. The field of play is composed of a grid with characters standing on it. Each of these is paired with an object, and you have to move them to it.

The first problem is that when a character leaves the square they're on - walking in one of four directions to the next tile - that square becomes inaccessible to the other characters.

You might lead the King to his crown, but in doing so block the Skeleton's skull from reaching the rest of its body.

As you complete stages, the game becomes significantly more complex, with larger maps and changes to the gameplay that force you to think differently.

One such addition is tiles that raise up or lower other tiles when you stand on them, meaning characters need to work together to reach their goals.

You can restart any of the hundreds of stages as many times as you like without penalty, and you'll certainly need to as you work your way through the two difficulty settings.

There's a Time Attack mode and plenty of leaderboards included too, just in case you wanted more from the game than that little lot.

Fire and fury

Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads is a slow-burner. You'll start a new stage, think you know the answer right away, try it out, and fail spectacularly.

After staring at the screen for a while you cautiously begin experimenting with strategies you've formulated, inching towards the answer with each try.

It's exhilarating to resolve every problem on the board. Once you've done so, you move onto the next puzzle, and the process begins again.

It's a tough game, and it's frustrating to sit there and try absolutely everything you can only to fail again and again.

You can go back and try earlier levels you haven't finished, but eventually you'll become mired in a particularly obtuse stage, with no hint as to what to do next.

While the music is good and lute-y, and the visual style has a pleasantly sweet medieval fantasy theme, the game's animations leave a lot to be desired.

Characters move about the field of play simply and stiffly, and there's little pomp or splendour to be found during your time with the game.

But what's important is the gameplay, and that's strong. Seeing your plans finally fall into place is extremely rewarding.

And though at times you'll swear that a level is logically impossible, when you do eventually work it out the sense of smug satisfaction is worth the frustration.

Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads

A deceptively simple puzzler, Bardadum: The Kingdom Roads is equal parts challenging and rewarding
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.