Bastion is an isometric story driven action RPG developed for PC by Supergiant Games. It is set in a post apocalyptic world, after an event known as the “Calamity.” You play as a young boy soldier who has survived the calamity and must help fix and protect the Bastion, the last hope of humanity. Along the way you will visit exotic locales, use satisfying skill-based weapons and fight diverse enemies.***Bastion was the first game I finished under my new school year initiative. I was to intentionally sit down to play a game with no distractions. Just me and my game. Bastion was the first game I finished successfully this way.***
Story:- Gives the game direction, and holds it together
Without spoiling too much I would like to talk about the story, which is arguably one of the biggest strengths of the game. It’s well written, compelling and ties together really well. Characters are deep, and can be related to… everything eventually get its small, important spotlight and it just synergies together to make an unforgettable experience. Bastion is quite literally a small island of hope in an ocean of indie games, a speck in the night sky, a blooming flower in a sea of grass. A Bastion.
It’s not only the writing that’s top-notch, but also the method of delivery. A narrator, commentaries your adventure, commentating on what you do. What’s really genius is how he reacts to your actions. Make it through an entire section without damage, and he’ll say something along the lines of “Boy, walks out without a scratch.” Sticking with one weapon for a while, constant smashing of the scenery, all warrant a witty and insightful line from the narrator.
Gameplay:- The most important part of a game
Bastion has satisfying, skill-based and well paced combat. The game introduces new concepts to you slowly and allows you to try them out soon after. It does an amazing job of giving you a weapon, and giving you a few perfect scenarios for using that weapon. For example when I got the mortar, I was able to practice on clumps of enemies on the other side of a wall.
The game is constantly adding new mechanics and enemies to mix up the gameplay. As you progress into the game, into the jungle, glass impairs your vision while the wildlife ambushes you in the brush. Each enemy has their own behaviors and weaknesses, like “squibs” that like to travel and attack in packs.
The weapons where a dimension by themselves. Each one is completely unique, with different perks and alternative abilities. To make things even more interesting, you can upgrade your weapons at the Bastion between weapons as well as learn special abilities. These abilities can be used in battle by consuming a black tonic bottle (kind of like an energy system). My favorite is a mortar shot that sprouts a turret where it lands.
Some weapons also have an element of timing with them. Release a held shot a correct time and a screen clearing power shot will be sent zooming across the screen. I found it particularly satisfying to learn the timing of the bow and the machete.I discovered that the timing on the weapons, like the machete and bow, also plays a sound at the appropriate time to release it. I’m not very good at it, but I want to master it. It’s a good way to practice hearing and reflexes (both things in which I’m lacking).
A minor annoyance however was at certain points I would keep falling off the stage repeatedly. Eventually I turned it into a strength with a power up that makes my landing do damage to surrounding enemies as well as negating some of the fall damage.
Aside from the campaign mode there are several ways to enjoy your time playing Bastion. You can play two different survival modes to earn money and hone your skills with a weapon in weapon specific practice grounds. There is also a mode that allows you to play through the entire game at once, sort of like a hardcore mode.
Sound & Graphics:- Help suck you into the game
Saying the graphics in this game are amazing is subjective, but no one can argue with the appeal that Super Giant’s style provokes. Bright colors, and cute character’s help ease you in and mask the complexity of the world. Colors can contrast strongly for brilliant effects, but they hardly (if ever) over do it.
Bastion has amazing sound design, not only for an indie game but as a fully fledged one, comparable to Blockbusters. The music is a combination of slow atmospheric instrumentals, and the occasional, yet brilliant vocals. The world, weapons and enemies also have satisfying, distinct and organic~ish sounds. Added with the constant companion of the Narrator’s voice and the cute art style. Bastion sucks you into its world.
Value:- The final line
In addition to the campaign and survival modes, there are more modes and features that add to the value of the game. You can also replay the game with all your upgrades, but affect the difficulty of the enemies using the altar at the Bastion that gives them more health or more damage etc. There is also the urge to come back and try different combinations, upgrades and skills. For 15 Dollars? A must buy.