En Garde! Review – A Short But Satisfying Thrust

En Garde Header Artwork

Few things in gaming are better than knowing that your character looks awesome. Devil May Cry, Bulletstorm, and Bayonetta are all games that let you constantly do cool things, and look awesome as you do so. Sometimes that’s pulling off an incredible combo that lasts longer than a first love, and sometimes that’s sliding into an enemy before energy-lashing them into a man-eating plant. They’re different, but the sense of sheer cool they offer are the same thing, and that’s the exact same space that En Garde! is playing in.

Playing as the ever-graceful and badass swashbuckler Adalia de Volador, you have to take down the evil Count-Duke and stop his nefarious plans at every step. We say nefarious, but the dude outlaws make fun of him at one point, so it’s mostly a battle against his fragile ego. Still, it involves using your sword, so we’re counting it.

While you’ll mostly be using your sword to actually take the fight to the various idiot minions of the Count-Duke, it’s actually only the finishing blow for many fights. Instead, Adalia specialises in on-the-fly improv fighting, which basically means that every mug, bucket, box, weapon rack, and pot of soup is fair game when it comes to fighting off the hordes of enemies.

En Garde sword combat

The first few enemies you fight can be taken down with a flurry of your sword in their direction, but each new enemy you meet brings new challenges. Take the Grenadiers, for example, who delight in yeeting bombs at you from afar, and will run away from every sword attack you throw. You’ll instead need to throw something at them – ideally a lantern to set their backpack full of explosives ablaze – before you can take them out. Of course, if you do throw a lantern at them, they’ll very rapidly become a weapon of sorts, damaging everyone around them.

Then you’ve got more elite guards, who require specific parries and dodges to whittle down before you can actually damage them. That’s just in one-on-one combat, and you’ll swiftly find yourself against groups of these elite enemies mixed together, needing to master the environmental combat to take them all out. If you wanted to be reductive about it, it’s Batman: Arkham Asylum with a far more vibrant art style and a more endearing protagonist. You shouldn’t be reductive, but there’s your description if you want one.

En Garde environmental attack

En Garde! is a fairly short game, with only four chapters to fight your way through in terms of story. However, there are challenges in the game for finding points of interest in each level, some for completing levels without getting hurt, and there’s also an Arena Mode, which pits you against waves of enemies, all of whom are there for you to flex against, basically.

The combat is a lot of fun to play around with, the visuals are delightful, and there are some fun little puzzles to solve as well, albeit not very complex ones. En Garde! is a lot of fun, and while it might not be long enough to satisfy everyone, the addition of the arcade horde mode adds in a lot of extra gameplay for those looking to turn fighting into an art form.

With a swish of the sword and a bit of improvisation, En Garde! is a fantastically fun action-packed adventure with a distinctive flair. Sure, it's a little bit short, but that doesn't make it any less sweet.
  • Deeply entertaining combat
  • Makes you feel like a badass
  • Great dialogue
  • A little on the short side
  • Some of the later enemies are annoying to deal with
Written by
Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.