Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy S2 (I9100G)
Android version: 4.0.4
Runs as of : Android 2.3
Several versions of The Bard's Tale are available. The normal version is 1.7 GB, whereas the special high definition version (for Tegra devices only) is a whopping 3.5 GB.
Once you've downloaded the data slip into the skin of the bard, who just happens to be a money greedy egomaniac, but what the heck. Actually, he's a key figure in the fate of his entire village and is a Jack-of-all-trades as far as heroic deeds go: dragon taming, rescuing princesses—you name it, he does it, provided he gets a nice monetary reward in exchange for his services, that is.
The app is a classic role-playing game. As a bard you have the ability to play tunes during a battle, thus summoning companions to come to your aid. This tactic reminded me of “Zelda”.
The landscapes and sceneries are richly detailed and animated. Light and shadow as well as lots of other details help set the mood and really come across nicely, even when it's only the “normal” version you're playing.
The graphics have made it into the Android hall of fame as far as I'm concerned—they are very nicely done indeed. There's also a lot to discover, be it in cities, caves or houses, and even if the discoveries lead to disadvantages for the bard character you can't help but admire the exquisite design and attention to detail.
A lot of odd balls inhabit these landscapes and one or two of them brought a smile to my lips. But there is also the occasional mysterious or even dangerous character to contend with.
There are 50 enemy types in total, 150 weapons and a dozen boss enemies. The graphics are, as mentioned, top notch and you have over 30 hours of gaming fun to look forward to.
The Bard's Tale has me hooked. It's a thrilling, mysterious and beautifully designed ride, but mind that you may very well spend hours playing this in bed when you should be sleeping. This game is a real classic thanks to its awesome design and gameplay, and I'm a real fan!
Screen & Controls
Controls and navigation are set up in a similar way to most other role-playing games work on smartphones. A virtual D-pad is located on the bottom left and there's a sort of map/compass hybrid near the top right. More buttons let you attack, defend, play music or interact.
The Bard's Tale comes with neat menus and the overall look feels very consistent.
Speed & Stability
There are two versions of The Bard's Tale. The HD version runs on Tegra devices only whereas the normal version runs on all devices and mostly without any lagging and such. We didn't experience any crashing.
The Bard's Tale usually costs EUR 4.56 but currently it's available for only EUR 2.38. That's still not a steal, but if you consider that over 30 hours of gaming fun and a very well designed app are waiting for you the price is actually totally fair.