Barney’s Dream Cruise by Rikard Swahn
In Barney’s Dream Cruise by Rikard Swahn, you play as Barney, a down-on-his-luck anthropomorphic dog.
He’s currently struggling; his house is a mess and there’s no money in his bank account, but Barney wants to give his friend Donnie a birthday gift and reveal how he truly feels about him. His plans entail a lot of shady activities to get a gift by any means necessary.
Literally, He’s a Real Son of a…
Barney is not a good person. Frankly, he’s downright rotten, a sarcastic, self-centered individual who genuinely takes pleasure in doing bad things. It overall left me with a lot of mixed feelings.
I don’t mind playing as a bad person – in fact, it can make some games and situations funnier – but I think this game lacks the charm and humor that can make a “bad person simulator” more enjoyable.
Jokes and situations are relatively crude, like picking feces out of a toilet to make fertilizer or clicking on a website called “Bunnies Gone Wild.” These things make the game feel almost akin to shows like South Park, but I felt like Barney’s Dream Cruise could have used its humor in more entertaining ways to make the game more enjoyable.
I think one aspect that also doesn’t help is the game’s overall narrative. It is simple but very bare-bones, thus feeling very one-note. And since the game only takes a little over an hour to complete, there really isn’t enough time to flesh out the world or its characters. This makes it even harder to root for Barney since there isn’t any kind of redeeming value to his character. The sparse narrative also hurts the game’s side characters, making them feel too vapid.
I do really like the concept of this game, though. It feels like an early 90s CD-ROM edutainment game in look, sound and feel. It’s like examining the idea of “What if one of these unassuming fun characters was evil?” The concept is solid, but the game doesn’t flesh out that idea into a more complete and enjoyable experience.
Point and Click to Commit Petty Crimes
The game plays like what you’d expect from a modern point-and-click. Most items have a use, and puzzles are relatively straightforward, a lot of actions which include going through neighbors mail, stealing, and even growing cannabis. Barney does a number of odd and harmful things throughout.
I just wish it was all more entertaining. Perhaps the humor just didn’t gel with me, and maybe fans of crude humor might find more enjoyment with this game than I did.
Aesthetically, the game nails its concept superbly. Barney’s Dream Cruise looks like it was ripped straight from the past. Colors pop, and characters are unique. It gives the game an interactive storybook feel. Small detailed environments are nicely drawn and look great. Things like details on walls and foliage add nice depth to settings. Its simple but detailed pixel art throughout is all well-executed.
This game also features a solid MIDI-style soundtrack. The music makes the game feel even more retro. It fits perfectly with the aesthetic and design. It also adds a layer of parody to the game. The jolly tunes juxtaposed to the game’s crude, crime-filled adventure made things a bit more enjoyable.
Barney’s Dream Cruise is a game I really wanted to like more. It has a great concept, but I think it doesn’t do enough to make for a more entertaining ride of degeneracy. If you’re a fan of crude humor and playing as the bad guy, this game might just be for you.
Barney’s Dream Cruise is available via Steam, the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Check out the official trailer for Barney’s Dream Cruise below: