VR Game Reviews

Clash of Clans VR for Quest and PSVR2? It’s called Barbaria (Review + Beginner Tips + Discount)

Clash of Clans VR for Meta Quest? It's called Barbaria

Do you want to play Clash of Clans in VR?  There’s a game that is pretty much like that — Barbaria — but it takes the concept to the next level.  Here’s a hands-on review of this game, which has been awarded an Editor’s Choice by Meta, PLUS: some important tips for beginners. First, the trailer:

Taking Clash of Clans to the Next Dimension

In Clash of Clans, you build towns and fortify them with weapons, traps, and troops using resources gained from invading other towns while other players also attempt to invade yours.  Barbaria for Meta Quest has a similar game mechanic but takes it a step further.

Place your minions and traps in strategic locations in your base.
Place your minions and traps in strategic locations in your base.  Screenshot from Quest 3 version.

Like Clash of Clans, you’re also building a base and strengthening it with traps and monsters.  To gain the resources to strengthen your base, you invade other players’ bases or beat daily challenges.  But Barbaria isn’t just a Clash of Clans clone.  It takes the concept to the next level by adding VR.  First, you can see everything in VR: your base, champions, minions, and weapons.  I can see my base as if it were a beautifully detailed scale model set in front of me.  I set traps not by using a touchscreen or a mouse and keyboard but by grabbing the trap and placing them where I want on my base.  I also have fun looking at bases of other players.  Experienced players have bases that are not just engineered to provide a strong defense but they are also elaborately decorated with towering monuments and other embellishments.

An experienced player's base
An experienced player’s base, complete with monuments

Barbaria uses VR in a second way.  When you invade a base or take on a challenge, you use your semigod powers to possess your champion and lead the attack, battling with the opponent’s champions and minions, while avoiding traps.  The combat is is reminiscent of Gorn with comic violence that lets you throw opponents onto spikes, for example.

When invading a base, you can take over a champion's body and battle with opponents in first person view.
When invading a base, you can take over a champion’s body and battle with opponents in first person view.  Screenshot by Stalwart Games from PSVR2 version.

When invading a base, you can also switch back to your semigod form where you can see the action taking place in miniature form in real time.  In your semigod form, you can use powers to help your army, such as by sending a meteor strike to hit your enemies or healing them.

In your semigod form, you can watch the action take place like miniatures fighting each other.
In your semigod form, you can watch the action take place like miniatures fighting each other.

What happens when another player attacks your base?  You can replay the action in VR with your semigod perspective.  You can see where your defenses worked and where they didn’t, all taking place in miniature form.  Occasionally, you can see opponent’s tiny champion waving at you to troll you.  In fact, you can replay all your previous battles (including your invasions and attempts at challenges) in this miniature form.

Is Barbaria fun?

Barbiaria has over the top cartoon violence, like Gorn.
Barbiaria has over the top cartoon violence, like Gorn.  (I also think it’s hilarious that the Imp minions look like Gremlins.)

So Barbaria has good graphics and a time-tested game mechanic.  But is it fun?  I like both the attacking and the base-building parts of Barbaria.  Attacks are similar to hundreds of other hack and slash VR games but I like how the creatures look well designed and not generic.  While the game has decent physics, the fighting part is simplified for a more arcade-like experience.  For example, holding your weapon sideways is enough to block so you don’t have to worry about the exact angle for blocking.

As for base-building, personally, I don’t like attacking strangers so I was a bit leery of the need to attack other players in order to gain resources to build my base.  But unlike Clash of Clans, the bases repair themselves automatically.  There’s no real harm except that the defeated party just loses standing in the global rankings.  In fact, even if your defenses are defeated, you gain money.

So instead of being anxious of being attacked, I started to look forward to being attacked just out of curiosity to see how well my base held up.  Did my design work as I thought it would, I would wonder?  It was also interesting to see how other players found clever ways to beat my defenses.  The game also seems to discourage picking on low-ranked players because the reward for beating a weak base is usually very minor, such as a nonfunctional rock.  In theory, the matching should be self-correcting.  If you consistently succeed (regardless of reason, whether skill or having a lot of leveled up minions), your rating will increase and you will be matched against stronger opponents, and vice-versa if you are defeated.

Although the game doesn’t have a storyline, it keeps me coming back because I want to make my fortress stronger and make my army more powerful.  I also like the game’s sense of humor.

Barbaria has a great sense of humor
Barbaria has a great sense of humor

Should you buy Barbaria?

I have several dozen Quest apps but this is one of the apps that I really enjoy and I can play it for hours each day.  I really like how it’s not just mindless action but can involve strategic thinking not just about setting up your base’s defenses or defeating an opponent but also about allocating limited resources and how you plan to level up faster.   (But yes it can also be mindless action if you want.)

I do have a few complaints about the game.  One of them is matching.  The game seems to have a decent number of players.  The global rankings showed that there are at least 30,000+ players.  Nonetheless, my base keeps getting attacked by players who have far more experience even though I’m just a beginner.  (Edit: I think even experienced players do lose sometimes and their ranking drops, which is why they end up being matched with low-ranked defenses.)  It would be nice to have more daily challenges to help beginning players gain more resources more quickly to keep up with other players.  Another complaint is the occasional bugs.  For example, I have two bows but sometimes one of them disappears from my minion.    A couple of times, an opponent has gotten stuck within a wall.  Third, the selection of available items to buy is limited at any given time.  Sometimes I need just a basic item but I have to wait a long while for it reappear in the shop (and hopefully, when it does, I have enough money).

Summary: Barbaria is an excellent game and captures the fun of Clash of Clans and similar games but adds its own enhancements in VR.  Highly recommended.  4/5 stars.

Barbaria Cross-Buy and Discount

The PCVR version of Barbaria has more detailed textures and lighting effects.
The PCVR version of Barbaria has a richer color palette as well as more detailed textures and lighting effects.

Barbaria is available for Quest, PSVR2, Oculus Rift (PCVR), and Steam (PCVR Barbaria is cross-buy between Quest and Rift desktop version (if you buy the Quest version, you get the Rift PCVR version for free).  The Quest version has been visually enhanced for Quest 3.  You can get the Quest version of Barbaria at a 25% discount here.

Barbaria Beginner Tips!

TIP: before upgrading your fragments or items, check the shop for hard to find items first
TIP: before upgrading your fragments or items, check the shop for hard to find items first

Here are some beginner tips for Barbaria!

  1. Read the description of every item and monster.  If you come across a new item, read the description to see what it does.  For example, Outdoor Dining seems like useless cosmetic decor for your base but is actually one of the most useful items available — it increases your base’s capacity.  This knowledge also helps you when planning an attack.   If you see they have Outdoor Dining and they don’t have a lot of visible traps, then they probably put powerful minions or many minions in that fragment.
  2. Before spending your money upgrading your team or items, check the shop to see if there’s anything you want.  The items in the shop keep changing.  If you see a hard-to-find item but don’t have money for it because you upgraded other stuff, you’ll regret it.
  3. For the Dreadlands challenge to get the champion Krank, the enemies in that challenge are matched to your champion’s level.  So make sure you try to finish that challenge using a champion who is level 1 or level 2.
  4. Occasionally, you’ll get a monument as a reward.  They are tall statues that have no function.  But to me, they’re actually one of the best rewards because you can sell them at the shop for 250 Violence (gold)!  I also don’t want to put monuments on my realm because it might discourage players from attacking my realm (I WANT to be attacked to earn gold whether I win or lose).
  5. The items available at the shop are limited by your base’s level.  For example, you can only get the Cyclotaur (the most powerful monster) if your base is upgraded to level 4.
  6. Level up your items, weapons, and minions to make them more effective.
  7. You don’t have to add the maximum number of fragments.  For example, my base is level 4 but I only use 2 fragments, so I can fill them up with leveled-up components.  Fewer fragments means less time for the opponent to complete the invasion.  If time runs out, the defenders win.
  8. When you level up a fragment, you are not only increasing its capacity but also leveling up the imps or skeletons that spawn from it.  Plus, the spawn point doesn’t use up any of the fragment’s capacity.  Good value for money!
  9. When you get a Boon, they only work if you spend 200 gold at the beginning of the invasion and the effect is only for one invasion.  They are not permanent boosts.
  10. Rocks (on the ground) are really useful.  They cause substantial damage (if you’re leveled up).  They affect even skeletons and shamans.  Finally, the game has auto-aim, which means you can throw them really far and be able to hit distant targets with insane accuracy.  I’m talking about the entire length of a large fragment or even longer.  Just face the general direction and throw them at an arcing angle.  As for the rock in the shop or the rock reward, it’s totally useless and just cosmetic.
  11. Not all fragments are created equal.  In my opinion, the best ones tend to be the longer and more confusing ones because the invader can get lost and end up wasting some time (you can win if your opponent runs out of time).  I also like the ones with skeleton boneyards instead of imps because to me, skeletons are more powerful than imps.  Plus, the boneyards have walls protecting the crystals, which take time to break.
  12. Prioritize attack over defense.  At first, I thought it would be good to have a stronger defense but with more experience, I now think it’s better to prioritize attack than defense for gaining money more quickly.  A low-ranked defense is actually helpful for gaining more money because there are more players who can be matched to attack it.  And as I said, even if your base is defeated, you gain money.  When my defense was weak, I was attacked more frequently and gained money faster.
  13. If you want to farm slowly, you can do that with Trials of the Ancients (to the right of the bulletin board).  Even if you lose, you get money.
  14. If you want to gain money more quickly, keep raiding other realms.  Win or lose, the game will reward you by giving you free challenges which can earn you more money.  And it will encourage other players to attack your realm, which again will help you earn more money (even if you lose).
  15. In general, don’t worry too much about winning or losing and just have fun!

About the author

Mic Ty

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  • Great review of Barbaria for Quest and PSVR2! I’m so excited to try it out. As a beginner player, I appreciated the beginner tips section. I’ll definitely be using those to help me get started. Thanks for the discount code too – I’ll be sure to use it when I make my purchase. Can’t wait to dive into the world of Barbaria!