Supergiant Games brings us Bastion, an action/RPG set in an enchantingly colourful cartoon environment where “The Great Calamity” has swept the land. All that remains are fragments, pieces of a world that once was. Meet “The Kid”, a small boy alone in what’s left of his world, asleep in his bed, dreaming of the things boys dream of, unaware of what tomorrow brings. He wakes up in his bedroom on a rock & must find a way to put the pieces back together to rebuild the civilisation of Bastion. The place he calls home. Unsure what lies before him & even if there are survivors, the kid begins his journey, trusty war-hammer in hand. Every step he takes forges a new path ahead of him, dangerous paths where one wrong move and he will fall to his death. All sorts or trinkets can be found; keepsakes, new weapons and things to upgrade them, health and secret tonics to drink in battle. There is a place of memories he visits if he smokes from a pipe, reflections from the past and he must battle them to face his fears. More often than not, the “Scumbags” wait at the end of those roads that will stop at nothing to thwart his efforts to rebuild Bastion. He must find the missing pieces, the shards are the keys to his world and the only thing that is certain is that he will have to fight for them.
On his awakening the story begins, and the voice of the narrator is heard and follows along with you through the whole story, telling it in real time and keeping you company. His voice is mallow and comforting & brought me back to being a little girl and how I loved story time. The kid never speaks but you get a sense of how he is feeling through the narrator and the music which is hauntingly beautiful changes with the mood and works through the story also as it unfolds. I got really involved in playing “The Kid” and as his world unfolds it’s seen as fragments of an imaginary garden which gets prettier the more you rebuild it. There is an element of darkness in the place, so you can’t get too swept up in its beauty because there is much danger lurking within. When you arrive in Bastion there is nothing but green grass and you must travel to lands you unlock by defeating enemies to find shards to put into the memorial. Each shard you find allows you to rebuild part of the Bastion civilization. You gain XP to level up by bashing & slashing items in your surroundings and killing the “Scumbags”. If you get stuck you can always take the skyway or hit escape and head back to Bastion and start again. You will also unlock lands where you can complete weapons training. There is one for each weapon in the game so you can try them out and decide what load-out is best for you. You will be rewarded with gifts for 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place. They’re a great way to earn extra XP to spend on upgrading your tonics and weapons.
I had my graphics maxed at 1920×1080 resolution and the game ran flawlessly. I’m running an ATI 6970 GC and frames sat happily at 60 fps, so the game was not excessively demanding on my system and the cartoon graphics are quite optimized. The layout and artwork are superb and the controls are easy to configure because there are not many keys to worry about. I like this a lot! There are 3 default control layouts to choose from Slinger style which is similar to those used in shooter games for pc, Mason style a traditional point and click used by RPG gamers & Trigger style for those who like to use a game pad.The soundtrack in Bastion is absolutely beautiful and is available from www.supergiantgames.com for a small price to download but comes with a spoiler alert not to listen until you’ve played the game through so it doesn’t ruin your experience.
Overall the game is a pleasure to play; it’s challenging in all the right places and speaks to your inner child. The narrator keeps you company as you wind your way through the game although he can get a little annoying at times, for instance if you have to retry an area in the game a few times he retells the same part over and over. If you get to that point it’s probably time to take a break! Other than that if it irks you too much you can always fly away and play somewhere new until you get your head around it. All in all I had a great time and when you get to the end you can play through again at a higher difficulty making Bastion definitely a game with stay ability. Bastion won the Game Critics award for Best Downloadable Game of E3 2011 and I can understand why. You would expect to pay much more for a game of this quality and caliber. I’m totally impressed.