In recent years, indie developers have surprised us with many innovative concepts that ultimately enrich our taste for their creative games. The creativity that goes into these projects often shows us that even a small group of developers can come up with phenomenal ways to entertain us. However, for a number of reasons, many “hardcore” gamers stray away from the indie territory all together. This should not be the case with Bastion.
Recently released for OS X via the Mac App Store and followed by a SteamPlay update, Bastion is a rich and well-delivered action RPG experience that no Mac gamer should pass by. The depth of gameplay, outstanding combat system, and the hours of fun this game provides make it a must have for any gamer out there.
Bastion’s story starts by giving you control of an unnamed character known simply as “the Kid”. As you awake from your unconscious state, you are greeted by a rather captivating voice that starts narrating your every move. This is perhaps the main hook of the game. The dynamic voiceover from the narrator not only chronicles the tale you are currently living, but he also utters certain things as you do them — which can be subtly comical. This bestows us with a clever and interactive story-telling mechanism that keeps the player engaged in the game’s universe and makes one come back for more. Sadly, the story can get a bit cryptic and bland. It is not a bad story, you can certainly understand it, and there are some quite surprising moments, but overall there is not a tremendous lasting appeal.
Regardless, the game is well presented. The menus and options you have available are easy to use, and the score is amazingly tight to the gameplay, immersing you in the action.
Story aside, the world of Bastion is a beautiful one. The game is presented with a gorgeous hand-painted, colorful style that makes everything in the game pop. As you move forward through floating cities, forests, and bogs, the environment builds right beneath your feet. This gives the world life and engages you to explore; however, it is interesting that the developers decided to encourage the player to destroy many items and artifacts within the environments, even though the goal of the game is to rebuild after the apocalypse known as the Calamity.
Either way, the level design is undoubtably rich and striking. With that said though, Bastion does have it’s downside when it comes to moving around the world. At times, players will have a tough time if they are not careful. If the Kid falls from the floating city, he won’t die, instead he will take damage. If his health is already low, he will die. This can become a bit annoying if the Kid dies because of a misstep right after defeating a sea of enemies.
The gameplay is where the game truly comes together and shines, leaving anything that may be wrong with it in the dust. With shield in hand and two weapons ready to level your enemies, you battle through various foes; each enemy is different from the other, thus making you think about your strategy going forward. As you progress through the game, the enemies get tougher, the weapons get better, and this never stops throughout your whole play-through.
If that isn’t enough, throughout your journey you will collect idols, special abilities, and weapon upgrades. The depth of the game comes into play here as you have plenty of ways to fine-tune your arsenal. The goal here is to provide the player with the perfect weapon and ability combination. The game isn’t about getting XP as much as it is getting new weapons and buying upgrades to tweak them to your liking. Not only that, but upon building a place called “the Shrine”, the player is able to customize the toughness of his foes in return for more XP and fragments per enemy kills — it is the embodiment of “pick your poison”.
Once the player becomes comfortable with timed blocking and striking the enemy right after, the feeling of accomplishment is like no other — you definitely feel like one powerful kid.
With a lot of replay value, deep customization that allows the player to make the game unique and enjoyable gameplay that will satisfy you for hours, one can’t go wrong with Bastion. You not only get an alluring voice guiding you through the fun trek you’ll be part of, but you will undoubtably get more than enough bang for your buck.