En Garde! header image

En Garde! Review

Game: En Garde!
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie
System: Steam (Windows & Linux)
Developer|Publisher: Fireplace Games
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £ 15.99 | US $19.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: August 16th, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to ICO Partners.

En Garde! is a 2023 action-adventure game developed and released by Fireplace Games.

Adalia, the main character of the game, looking at a wanted poster of herself and saying that there is finally a wanted poster that does her justice.
Adalia de Volador, hero of the people!


In En Garde!, we take the role of Adalia de Volador, a legendary swashbuckling hero who thwarts the evil plans of the treacherous Count Duke. We meet a cast of charming characters and fearsome foes during our adventures.

The game gives helpful instruction on how to attack an enemy.
As someone once said – stick ’em with the pointy end.


En Garde! is a third-person action-adventure game focusing mainly on combat and some platforming. The game recommends using a gamepad, but since I still can’t get used to the buttons, I stuck with my trusty keyboard/mouse combo. We have standard movement in all directions, jump, roll, pick up something, throw it, and an exciting addition of kick. All of these can be used in combination to achieve “acrobatics.”

En Garde! is a game that asks you to utilize your environment completely. We have jugs and lutes lying around to be picked up and thrown at our enemies, barrels and tables to jump upon or kick at and even things we can kick our enemies onto, weapon racks and pedestals. These actions are completed with witty quips from our heroine and her enemies. All of Adalia’s movements can be seen in Tips & Tricks on the game’s main screen, with helpful demonstrations. 

En Garde! has four story levels and an Arena mode, where we can fight against countless foes. The arena works the same way every fight in the Story mode.

The game showing how to kick someone in the sea.
How to push someone in the sea the Adalia way.

The Combat System

As I said, we can throw and kick things at our enemies. In terms of damage, that doesn’t do much except surprise them, which then can be used for attack. We also have some special attacks which can be used for a limited time. To use them, we have to fill up a panache meter, which is done by defeating enemies and performing impressive actions. The game teaches the player that brute force is only sometimes the answer. Kicking someone in the water or hurling a caldron onto them is more than welcome.

A foe threatening Adalia
The grenadier likes to blow things up, is relatively easy to eliminate, but runs so fast!

Guards! Guards!

Our foes’ behaviour can be adjusted in the difficulty settings, but even at the easiest option, it’s worth mentioning that they all attack at once. It’s up to you, or rather Adalia, to separate them or surprise them. But in any case, you will be fighting all of them at once. Also, some of the foes have ranged attacks- they will, for example, blow things up while staying away. It allows for some strategic planning-  such as tricking your other enemies to be blown up instead of you.

Adalia telling the player that it's okay to lose, since this is how you learn to win.
Still, it’s better not to lose.


I’m not fond of challenging games where you spend hours and hours trying to pass a level. I like games where the story moves along, not unlike reading a book – at your own pace, without interruptions, except for a new cup of tea.

En Garde! manages just that, but with plenty of options for people who like challenges not only the game has three levels of difficulty, from easy to difficult. We also have additional difficulty settings under Assist Mode, regardless of the chosen difficulty. There we can decide if we want invincibility, automatic parries, or camera auto turn and focus.

The Accessibility settings in En Garde!
So many options!

Settings and Achievements 

I mentioned the Assist Mode above; it’s located in Settings. I have to commend the developers on Settings in general. Not only have they included the usual settings such as Video, Audio, Gameplay, and Input, but we also have an Accessibility tab with options like choosing subtitles, size of subtitles, and accessible font. Another exciting feature, which I did not use, is the option to choose between Xbox and PlayStation gamepads.

Also, Steam achievements are available in En Garde|, but unfortunately, there aren’t any trading cards as yet.

Adalia in front of a big tree with hanging lanterns
Such a pretty picture!


En Garde! is set in a fantasized version of the 17th century. Its world is colorful, and its characters are theatrical to the point of being comical. Its world is well created; if a little empty, there are no NPCs mulling about, just our foes and friends. It is not an open-world game, but each level has been crafted with meticulous attention to detail so that the world feels just big enough. An interesting element is that while the game is entirely in 3D, the backgrounds look a bit like oil paintings. 

The soundtrack and voice acting are perfect companions to everything else happening on the screen. We have cheery and dynamic Spanish music and more than 3000 voice lines for our foes. Adalia and her friends and enemies are voiced perfectly as well. Adalia’s commentary is always funny and never seems forced.

Another thing to note is some pop culture references, I caught only a few, but I am sure there are more. All the more reason to play another round of En Garde! Also, while exploring, we often see objects of interest, noted with a magnifying glass, mostly notifications pasted on the walls or forgotten diaries and letters. These items are funny and help paint a complete picture of the world Adalia lives in.

Adalia fighting another vigilante,
Another day, another fight…


It was interesting to learn that En Garde! was created as an award-winning student project and then reformed and expanded to remake the game from the ground up. I am a big fan of classic swashbuckling adventures like The Three Musketeers and Zorro. Sadly, it’s not a theme often explored in video games, so I was beyond happy with En Garde! If there is one thing I didn’t like, it was that the story mode was too short for my taste. I can only hope we’ll see more of Adalia in the future.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up: Two thumbs up

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