A dark and evil force has spread over the land of Barbaria. Rumors say that the evil wizard called Zaugg is responsible. Prophecies foretell of a savior of the land who can prove to be a champion and defeat Zaugg. Ten Barbarians, all with their own reasons to hate Zaugg, come forward, each willing to destroy the wizard and prove themselves the hero of prophecy.
Barbarian is a 3D vs. fighting game in a fantasy setting, inspired in gameplay largely by the Power Stone series. The game features ten characters who battle it out in fully three-dimensional, multi-level arenas, including castles, sewers, shipwrecks, swamps, and caverns.
Training mode includes tutorials for all of the game's moves and a practice session against a live opponent. Versus mode allows players to set up any fight they want, including four-player battles. The game's main single-player mode is Quest mode. Players select one of the ten characters, each of which has their own storyline. The story includes fights against all the other characters in the game and also features mirror matches. In some of the fights, opponents bring some lesser minions with them for support. After a fight is won, players can select which opponent to take on next, allowing for different paths through the story. Also after a fight, players can update their characters, raising their attributes like life, strength, damage dealt or magic regeneration time, and also unlock special abilities like double jumps or a berserker mode.
The fighting system is based on two basic buttons, one for weak and quick, one for strong and slow attacks. Stringing button combinations together enables combos, which each character having their own set. Some combos unleash magical attacks, which require the magic bar to be filled. Landing combos successfully enables additional rune attacks. Blocking and counters are also possible. The game's levels feature many objects to pick up that can be used as throwing or melee weapons. Objects come in different weights and require a certain amount of strength to pick up.