- Amazing Drawing
- Sweet Sultry Narrator
- Fast paced combat
- Tedious Challenges
If you have been reading anything I write for The Speakeasy then you would have realised one thing – I have a problem.
I have 203 games with the value of $3,709.19 USD and a total playtime of 4,179.48 hours. That’s right, I’ve spent enough money to buy a used car and have dedicated roughly 5 months to playing games. That isn’t the issue here though – if I could, I’d see that latter number increase. The real issue is that out of those 203 games, roughly 25% have actually been completed. that leaves me with 150 games I’ve yet to finish. Quite the backlog some would say.
Bastion, developed by Supergiant Games, is a top down Action/Adventure game starring “The Kid” and a Narrator. The game plays out as a story that is read to you by a smooth sultry voice, the kind that makes you want him to come out real close and whisper sweet nothings into your ears…. I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Each action you take is narrated as you fight monsters and traverse a world which appears in front of your feet while you try to figure out what has happened. This is where the beauty of the game is: I don’t know how they did it, but Supergiant Games really nailed it with Logan Cunningham. From the first moment you want to know what happens. You’re really only playing the game to hear Logan’s sweet sultry voice; it’s teasing you, it’s playing with your emotions. Each little snippet of information reveals a bit more of the world and what happened to make you watch every step you take.
On first sight, Bastion looks very cartoony. The Kid has sharp white hair, big round eyes, and over-exaggerated features. It gives off a very light hearted feel to the game. This is where the environment steps in or really flies at you, even though it’s beautifully drawn it feels sad, lost. Fragments of the world are scattered about the pieces floating in the sky, neatly placed but randomly located, really driving home the “Calamity” that has occurred. As mentioned the world is vibrant, each level is unique from the last from the shrubbery to the enemies. It’s as though you’re in an alien world, full of colourful creatures that are trying to viciously murder you.
The music really really helps compliment the scenes set through the visuals, with constant twanging of guitars and banging of drums it really adds to the alien nature of the world – everything has fallen apart, the animals have taken over, It’s wild. The music picks up pace as you enter combat and slowly winds down almost without notice once combat is over. The soundtrack is so good I’ve even added it to my Spotify playlist in a fit of autistic nerd crushing.
There’s more to Bastion than pretty colours and a wild west soundtrack: there’s combat, a lot of combat. From the first couple of minutes, The kid is pitted against a number of enemies, swarming to get a piece of him. Luckily the game provides a variety of weapons ranging from a heavy war hammer to an agile spear which can annoyingly stab enemies from afar, and that’s just for melee. For ranged fun, you can play with bows, repeating shark guns and classic western carbine rifles – the game is just all over the place which helps add to the alien nature of the world. Though the game restricts you to only two weapons, one form of melee, one form of ranged and a special ability that uses black tonic vials. This is your game changer, this is your trump card. As mentioned the game throws a multitude of enemies at you, too often you’ll need to say to yourself “Can I hulk-smash everything with my hammer or do I need to use my limited vials?” and in most cases you’ll probably go with the latter.
So what’s all the fighting for? Why is The Kid shimmying across ledges and smashing any creature he sees with his great big hammer? Shards. He’s doing it all for Shards.
These shards come in two forms, small blue shards found from breaking everything you see like a hyper active toddler and larger blue ones normally found at the end of the game. The former is used as your currency, allowing you to purchase new items, upgrades for your weapons and special spirits that give The Kid additional powers (more damage resistance, stronger attack, etc). The latter is the objective: these shards are what you use to restore life to the Bastion, the games namesake.
Upon finishing a level you return to the Bastion and place the shard into the monument in the middle of the Bastion, this then gives you the ability to construct a new building, be it a forge, distillery or shrine to the gods, which you then use the former blue shards to purchase upgrades from. The Bastion is your home base. It offers a sense of normality from the calamity, and at times was a very welcoming area after a tough slog of smashing boxes.
Bastion lasted me around 6 hours, though admittedly I didn’t get every side mission done (some of the challenges were impossible thanks to my horrible work laptop). But that doesn’t mean it’s the end of it for me – upon completion a New Game+ mode is activated that is harder than the original and has a number of additional features that liven up the game. I can definitely see myself going back to it again in a years time and giving up the same challenges I couldn’t do before. (Fucking Breaker Bow challenge)
If you’re interested a Demo is available on their steam page, otherwise it’ll set you back $18.99. Easily worth the price in my opinion.