Highly Polished, but lacking in substance
Bastion is an isometric 2D action game, unlike similar games, Bastion doesn't use a dual-stick shooter setup, but instead uses auto-aiming and only a single stick. The rest of the controls are a button for a secondary attack, a button for a special attack, one for blocking, one for dodge rolling and one for healing. Weapons, both melee and ranged, are gathered over the course of the game and can be freely equipped.
The story of Bastion is for most part told via a narrator that constantly comments on your actions. It's well done in the sense that it doesn't repeat itself like some sports games used to do, but in terms of story telling I found it does more harm then good, as it forces a level of indirection into the dialog with other characters that distances you from the world. It also leads to one of the most awkward dialog systems I have ever seen in gaming.
Graphically the game is quite pretty, with a whole bunch of colorful tiles that come floating in as you walk your way. The backgrounds are however less impressive, they are drawn with a high level of contrast that not only makes them a little distracting, it also removes any feeling of distance, so it doesn't look like you are traveling through a city in the sky, but a city that is floating over a wallpaper. Another problem is that the levels in the game are very small in scale, so you will see loading screens quite regularly when going from one level to the next. The levels themselves are connected via a simple worldmap, so you end up just jumping from one level to the next, with no free roaming exploration. Animations are also an issue in the game, especially for the NPC characters, they are all essentially just presented by a single static single frame which makes them feel extremely lifeless and also the in-game graphics don't match with the graphics in the cutscenes all to well.
Overall Bastion isn't a bad game, the production values are high and it plays smoothly, but I never got invested into the world or its fiction, it was just about routinely going from area to area, doing what the game told me. There was never a clear sense of progression or change and there weren't any puzzles or ways to interact with the world that actually made you stop and care. On the default difficulty I also found the game to be quite easy, as I didn't die once in my play through, which made me skip all the side activities the game offers to level up. The whole gimmick of having the world float in tile by tile, was also pretty meaningless, as it doesn't really have any impact on the story or gameplay, it's just something you get used to. For all the polish this game has, it simply feels like it is lacking in substance. If I had to compare this game to others, I'd say it's probably closest to a 2D Zelda, except without all the interesting items, the puzzles, the exploration, the dungeons, the overworld and characters.
The game took me 3:40h to beat.