A Fun Romp That Ends Right When It Needs To
Bastion got a lot of hype this past year from many a games journalist. It was the nice indie, but still commercially digestible game that people like to feel good about and also like to tell others they feel good about it. There is no pretention from the developer, no secret agenda or broad push. It seemed that this was just a simple game with a good art style, a great soundtrack and a simple gameplay mechanic. Let me reiterate that though. This game had a simple gameplay mechanic. Simple. As in just one thing basically.
Some of the rhetoric that I saw floating around seemed to position this game as a game of the year contender. Unfortunately this game just isn't that game and never was meant to be that game.The budget, scope and design were just too small. From a game play perspective this game has basically one thing going for it. You hit the "X" button or the "B" button and you kill things. There aren't really any puzzles to speak of here and not much divergence from that system. The saving grace that keeps this interesting is that the developer throws a nice variety of weapons at you the whole time to keep things interesting. After about six hours though you will see everything you need to and thankfully the game ends it there.
The best things that this game have going for it are the art style, the narrator and the music. The art style is pretty, but nothing we haven't seen before in Torchlight or Braid. The music is very well done and fun, but you begin to notice its repetition after a while. What was truly fun though was the narrator. His voice, the way he delivered the lines all just hit spot on. The fact that this game was short helped in that fact because anything much longer I think would have stretched out the novelty a bit too long.
Overall this game was basically exactly where it needed to me. A small arcade game with very good production value. Gameplay was simple, but solid. The weapons were fun, but the developer cut it off right where it needed to be and the story was passable, but at least kept things moving.