Supergiant Games celebrated the 11th anniversary of their game “Bastion” on July 20. The narrative-driven isometric action game was first released in 2011 to critical acclaim. It was also the first game developed by an indie studio.
Since then, the company has come a long way with three other releases: Transistor, Pyre, and Hades. Each title saw success in one way or another and all borrowed core aspects from Bastion. So is this decade-old gem worth a look in 2022?
The citadel is as good today as it was 11 years ago
For anyone who has played the game, two things immediately stand out. First thing is the vibrant and pleasing hand drawn art direction. This is a signature for the studio and has been implemented in their other games as well. The post-apocalyptic wasteland never looked this beautiful. And the other is a voiced story, another focal point of Supergiant’s offerings.
The kid’s adventure is narrated by the incredibly talented Logan Cunningham, who lends his rich, engaging voice to the narrator. His dialogue lines add more context, especially when even small movements can trigger a voice prick. It really feels like a story that is being relayed to someone else with the player in the order of the action.
In narrative form, it is set in a fictional land known as Disaster. The aftermath of the destruction ruined the world, including the city of Calondia. As such, the child sets out in search of a safe haven of respite in these difficult times.
Unfortunately, this requires the Corps to rebuild the land, so the hero must cross areas with hostile enemies to retrieve the shards that constitute the Corps.
Throughout the adventure, both player and child learn about the war between the Ura and the Calondians. And players shouldn’t be deceived by the lively visuals as this is a surprisingly mature and serious story about two warring factions and a gripping tale of betrayal.
Not many sports have brought me to tears, but I am proud to say that this is one of them. This is due, in part, to its stellar soundtrack, which is easily one of the best in gaming’s last decade, and that’s by no means an exaggeration. Composer Darren Korb has blessed all other Supergiant games with his excellent musical prowess as well.
Hack, Slash and Dodge
The action-RPG gameplay forms the main loop of Bastion. Every return visit to the Hub allows the child to set up new buildings that aid the character’s progress. These include an armory, forge, shrine, etc., each of which has different uses. For example, Shrine has statues that can be turned on or off to provide buffs to enemies for a more challenging game.
Throughout his journey, the child will encounter a variety of weapons and objects that can be equipped to assist him. These range from standard items such as a hammer or bow to powerful disaster cannons and flamethrowers; The latter two were my go-tos.
Enemies vary, from ruthless creatures like poison-spewing plants and giant toads to aura warriors and laser turrets. Spirits (wine) can be equipped to buff the child. For example, granting health when dealing damage to an enemy or increasing critical hit chance. Overall, there is something here for all kinds of players.
There are some disadvantages, such as falling gaps in environments (especially in defenses) due to isometric cameras, assets sometimes blocking attacks, and some enemies being able to attack off-screen. But other than those inconveniences, it’s flawless.
Taken as a whole, Bastion is engaging, immersive and honest from start to finish. For longtime fans, the game is an enduring masterpiece that remains to this day. For those who have never played it before, gear up. You are in for a treat. Because it’s arguably one of the best indie games ever.
Bastion is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.