Bard Harder! Review
Don’t worry guys, I’ll save you by flirting!
Available on: Steam
Genre: Visual Novel
Publisher: Shark and Pelican Games
I never played Dungeons and Dragons before, and I’m not sure if I ever will get to, but I do know what I would want to play as. I’d want to play as a tiefling bard (and of course, I’m going to play as one once I get around to playing Baldur’s Gate 3). So when I saw a visual novel where the main character plays a bard in Totally-Not-DnD I just had to pick it up.
In Bard Harder, you jump into the mind of Robin who maybe (totally) has a crush on the Wyvern Master, Subin. We get to see a quick snapshot of when Robin first made her character for Wizards and Wyverns (which is basically a parody of Dungeons and Dragons). Aside from totally not having an internal monologue while Subin was explaining the rules and embarrassing herself a bit, Robin decided to play as a half elf male bard. You get to decide what her bard’s name is, but rest assured her bard is the most charming, sexiest, and dashing bard out there.
We then fast forward to the finale of their campaign as the group is now in the middle of fighting the final boss, a four-armed skeleton named Vulcuzar. Good news, everyone is still alive. Bad news, most of the party has been captured and about to be sacrificed to the big bad’s beast and Robin’s bard is the only one that was not captured and thus, the only one who can do something. Even worse, he lost his weapon and only has his trusty violin and his charisma. So, what is a bard to do in this situation? Flirt the hell outta the enemy of course! With the help of some music to set the move, of course. You do need to pick the right choices, but as long as you pay attention Vulcuzar won’t be able to resist your charms. There are four endings (five if you’re including the game over) for you to get.
While you are basically jumping into the end of a campaign, you do get to learn some about the other characters (and I’m not just talking about the WnW characters). You get to learn a lot about Vulcuzar (of course, how else would the flirting work) as well as a bit on the other characters and the WnW characters they play: Nia (aka Sir Mobblebrawn), Presley (Sythis Direblade), and Alden (Archmage Arabella). Subin you learn secondhand, as she seems closed off and a bit hard to approach, but everyone is supportive in bringing you two together. It’s a bit cute. I do hope Subin opens up to everyone more after the ending.
I absolutely enjoyed the story of Bard Harder. The game does a good job in not making it seem like you missed much (despite missing, like, the majority of the campaign) and what bard player wouldn’t try to flirt their way out of an encounter? And hey, if it works on the final boss, even better. It was so fun and so funny reading Robin trying to flirt her way out of her and her party’s deaths within the game (as well as the reactions to her trying this), while also trying to figure out a way to ask her irl crush Subin out. It was also really cute how the others were like “yeah go for it”. The art style was also really nice and cute (especially when you notice one of Sir Mobblebrawn’s pose). I especially love the design of Robin’s bard. The music was also good too and of course changes when Robin’s character plays a song to Vulcuzar.
Bard Harder is a short, but sweet visual novel that definitely hit the comedic cords that it aimed towards. It definitely met my expectations and even left me wanting a full blown visual novel where you get to see the whole campaign leading up to Vulcuzar and maybe even see the aftermath. That’s how much I liked the small snippet we got of the characters and story.
I would definitely recommend picking up Bard Harder as it’s a wonderfully cute visual novel that will certainly brighten up your day. And don’t worry, you don’t need to play DnD to enjoy this game.