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.