Barcode Knight is a game that doesn’t think to hard about what it is, which is a pretty straightforward RPG/dungeon crawl with a bit of a twist on the formula. The twist isn’t so much having to do with the gameplay, but how you get into dungeons in order to crawl. You don’t travel on a world map or walk around at all, for that matter. You scan barcodes and then the barcode generates a fight between your characters and whatever the barcode produces for you. It’s an odd feeling when you find yourself rummaging through video game cases, empty soda cans and books in order to scan their barcode and then have your fight socks rocked, but something about it is strangely addicting.
It should be noted that barcodes aren’t necessary if you aren’t near something to scan. (Or let’s face it; you’re too lazy to get up) You can spend in-game points in order to generate fights that are randomized. This can lead to you getting dropped into a fight that you are totally not prepared for, however. There were several times when I took the random portal only to have my face ripped off by a couple of really high-level goblins or some such. Then again, it’s tough to gauge what really dictates the difficulty of barcode-generated fights. I had thought it depended on the monetary value of the item that you’re scanning is, but I scanned my PS4 box and had a pretty easy fight generated for me.
As you continue, you unlock certain areas that you can click on in order to buy weapons, armor, improve them and recruit some fighters in order to even the odds in a fight. There is also a boss portal that you can unlock that makes the random portal look like child’s play. I tried several boss fights (which cost quite a bit of points) and was promptly destroyed by the creatures that lurked beyond the veil of the portal. Those fights are meant for hardened warriors who have quite a few battles under their belt.
Combat itself is pretty conventional. You suit up your warrior with his gear, arm him with his weapon and unleash him on the field. He fights without direction from the player, and all you have to do is press the heal button occasionally when you see that your little warrior is about to be felled.
I am personally not a fan of detached combat. Not having direct influence of the outcome of a battle tend to leave me feel cheated. However, the barcode battles tend to be quite simple, and you can have a pretty high-level character in very little time. This leads to jumping into random battles to test you mettle and ultimately ends in the boss portal, where you will no doubt be humbled a couple hundred times before you upgrade your weapons and armor sufficiently in order to take them on.
While it’s true that the concept for the game isn’t exactly rocket science, there is a bit of elegance in simplicity and as far as RPGs go, there are certainly worse.
A simple hack and slasher with an interestingly addictive meta-game gimmick.