Bastion: Prepare to Rebuild!

The first game rising from Supergiant Games is the indie game, Bastion. Some people think that “indie games” is another way of saying games that are not mainstream, or worse, they’re “hipster” games—now on some level the former would be somewhat true, but calling these hipster games? False.


Indie games are games that are made by individuals or a small team of developers that have no financial backing of a video game publisher such as Nintendo or Ubisoft. These games generally rely on digital distribution methods and rarely sell box copies of games. Because of the increase in the methods of digital distribution, indie games have been on the rise with the most popular ones being Minecraft, Braid, Limbo, and Amnesia the Dark Decent. Arguably, the place where you will find the most indie games would be on Steam. Almost all indie games get their start on the PC and not consoles, Bastion being an exception to this norm.


Sometimes, the developers of indie games create something that grabs the attention of a great number of people and get picked up by game publishers. Other times, the developers decide that even though they have the chance, that they would rather stay an independent company and not have the restrictions that the publishers would put on them, such as a release date or story plot.


Back to the game at hand: Bastion.


Released on XBLA on July 20, 2011 and on Steam on August 16, 2011, Bastion is an action RPG set in an alternate universe in a post apocalyptic world after an event called “The Calamity.” Waking after the event has already taken place, the “Kid,” which is the player, finds himself alone and with no one around. Eventually making his way through a few monsters, he finds himself upon the Bastion, and within the Bastion is the Narrator. With the Narrator, we come across what might be the most important thing about this game.


This fully voice-acted Narrator does just that—narrates. But unlike other narrators in other games and even movies, he narrates almost everything that you do. He does so to the point where if during a fight you happen to do well, such as finishing the fight without taking any damage from the mobs, he will comment on that fact and commend you on it. If the player happens to die by falling off of the level, the Narrator will comment that the “Kid” had a fumble and tripped off the edge—or something along those lines. This type of voice-acted narration adds a very unique feel to the game that no other game has yet to bring to the table.


Bastion also has a different method of setting a difficulty to the game. Rather than just choosing a setting at the beginning of the game or having a set difficulty, Bastion allows you to alter how difficult you want the game to be using their “shrine” system. By activating certain shrines to certain gods, it adds to the game but has no benefits. Other game mechanics that Bastion has is the changeable weapons and skill. You are able to choose two different weapons, four melee weapons and seven ranged weapons, and one hidden skill. Each of the weapons that you are able to choose is upgradable four times. For each weapon there are two “trees” that you are able to choose between and they are mutually exclusive, meaning you cannot choose both sides. Along with the upgrades to the weapon, you have ten slots that are you able to fill up with various spirits that provide varying passive power ups, ranging from more health pots to more currency.


The currency in this game is actually fragments of the world that has been broken up into pieces. The story, with help from the narrator, explains what has happened in the world as you progress through it.


The general story of the game is fairly simple:  wake up to find a post-apocalyptic world, find an area for a last ditch effort attempt to fix the world, encounter problems to said attempt, work around problems, fix problem.


The thing about this game is not that the story is so immersive that the player will have difficulty determining what is real and what isn’t; no, the thing about this game is basically everything but the story.


Last thing to talk about:  price. Most indie games range from $5 USD to $20 USD. This sits at $14.99 USD on Steam and $15 USD on XBLA.


Overall, this is an excellent indie game and is definitely worth the price. I give this game a rating of 9 out of 10. Worth playing, worth buying, worth owning.