The awesome Bardbarian [Free] from developer Treefortress has just made the switch to free to play, and added a crew of special guest star characters from other indie games. Games switching from paid to free to play is not usually a welcome change, but unfortunately it's almost always a necessary one. The sad fact is that, despite Bardbarian being an incredibly great game, it just wasn't making money. As Treefortress states in a post in our forums, "The game has not broken even, not even close." But they have seen a good amount of people who had bought the game buying IAP, so their line of thinking is that if they make the game free and get it in front of a larger audience then hopefully those IAP purchases will get them out of the red.

The bright side of all this is that Treefortress is making the switch in an extremely fair way to its current customers. For those who did buy Bardbarian for 99¢ prior to this week's changeover, you'll never see any ads and you'll be given the game's "Golden Axe" IAP for free. And that is really the only change – no added IAPs, no tweaking to the currency system how it already existed, and no timers or energy mechanics. All in all I feel like this change is being made in the most appropriate way possible.

Besides the free to play switch, Bardbarian was also updated with three new units, all guest stars from other awesome indie games. There's Octodad from Octodad: Dadliest Catch, Shellrazer from Shellrazer, and Meat Stack which is a combination of characters from Binding of Isaac and Super Meat Boy. These characters were originally exclusive to the Steam version of Bardbarian, and I'm really stoked they made their way over to the iOS version.


Like I said, as far as a paid game going free to play goes, Bardbarian is being handled well. It's basically the exact same game it was before, except now all new users will see ads until they make any sort of in-app purchase, and the Golden Axe IAP (which doubles your earned currency) has gone up in price from 99¢ to $2.99. And that's it. Hopefully now being free will bring a whole heap of new players to Bardbarian on iOS, as this game is just too good not to succeed. The App Store is a crazy, crazy market.

  • Amenbrother

    The new characters IAP only?

    • JCho133

      Nope! Easily unlockable through play 🙂

      Just read the description and it gives you hints on how to unlock them

  • rojas2

    When I logged in, they also gave me 15,000 coins to the first save file I loaded. FYI.

    • Drewskii

      I got 15,000 coins too. I didn't receive the golden axe but I already bought it anyways.

  • danieljk12

    How do I get the golden axe? Does it download automatically?

    • Intendro

      Some people in the thread say they don't seem to be getting the coin doubler.
      I bought the coin doubler before...
      Also, the "thanks for your support" screen I saw only mentioned no ads and some free gold.

      • Intendro

        Assuming the coin doubler isn't being given...
        Worthy of mention is that people who bought the coin doubler before the change had the small bonus of spending $2 instead of $3. ($1 for the game, $1 for the doubler.)

      • Intendro

        Sorry for multiple comments, can't edit apparently.
        If you had the game before updating, try picking to restore purchases in the game if there's an option for it, to see if you get the coin doubler.

      • danieljk12

        Ok I will try that. Thanks for the help!

      • SirFobos

        If your like me and do not use iCloud you will not receive the free upgrade if you purchased the game. It will update your game to the new freemium edition and not give you the axe or remove ads (even if you restore purchases or try a fresh install). Aparently it uses iCloud to verify your previous ownership or at least that is what the forums are saying. So if you updated without using iCloud like me you will need to shell out more money to remove the newly added ads.

  • thiagovscoelho

    Well, that's neat

  • DeLtAg1An9O


    • Kenan2000

      They are working on it atm,they did not make a release date yet,read their twitter,they are pretty active there.

  • KoRoV

    And bulkypix did it again....

    • Stormourner

      Bulkypix is a publisher not a developer

  • Jake7905

    I'm usually the first one to cry foul when a developer changes a game from premium to freemium, and when I first saw the changes to Bardbarian, I admittedly cried foul, and threw in a few curses as well. But after reinstalling the game on my IPad, and restoring my Golden Axe purchase, I have nothing but praise for the developers. They changed the monetary format of Bardbarian out of economic self-preservation, but they treated their paying customers with respect, and left the pitch perfect gameplay balance intact. They even gave newcomers the option to remove ads, and in doing so, have kept the premium soul of Bardbarian intact. This conversion should serve as the standard to all developers. It's also a freemium model I would endorse with my wallet.

    • Stormourner

      I bet it's the misers' fault for not buying Bardbarian and made developers switch the game into freemium

  • logik2000

    To verify I just started the game for the first time after updating a couple days ago. The message that displays for previous purchasers states that you get ads turned off, 15K gold on the first save you load, and that iCloud was added with the update. It doesn't say anything about the golden axe (doubler). I didn't get the axe and restoring purchases didn't have an effect.

  • isblackhawk

    I originally bought the game and the coin doubler but am not getting credit for it. The axe shows as sold out but I still see ads. Where is the "restore purchases" that everyone is talking about? I tried redownloading the game as well. My save was still there but still am seeing ads

    • logik2000

      Restore purchases is right below where you buy the axe. Maybe you need to scroll down? Or maybe it's disabled because it thinks you already have it.

  • isblackhawk

    It's most definitely not on that page 🙁 this is very frustrating because I really have enjoyed the game but this almost completely destroys my desire to play. Not getting the gold a should be getting and having to see ads is a constant insult.

  • zach9091

    I bought the game when it was first released for 99¢ and I didn't get the golden lute axe and I still have ads

  • bcredonk

    I was skeptical about this update too but it's great. I haven't noticed any ads or anything.

  • henrycupcake

    lol ... its such a shame that this game can't even make the money back ..
    i am gonna have to buy it on the steam also to support them ! its so much fun ... like a twisted fantasy twin stick shooter with guitar rock music ......