The littlest game that could
Holy crap, where to start with this game? It's not only a great baby's first action-rpg, it's also a challenge for seasoned veterans of the genre. And that's where Bastion's strength lies. It truly is an all ages game; the closest video games have ever come to Pixar quality. Not only can the youngest of the young play this game and enjoy it, but older gamers can find an incredibly deep and satisfying story that deals heavily in themes of forgiveness, loss, and genocide. Parallels between the Calamity and the Manhattan Project are pretty obvious, so it's no surprise that Braid and Bastion share similar themes.
This story, told through the unique narrator, not only provides for great atmosphere and sweeping narrative, but it also has it's place when playing the game over again. It's as if the game is just a story, and whenever you play it over it's as if this wizened old man is telling you the story again. Not only does this old man tell your story of restoring the Bastion, he also tells the stories of the strangers you meet on your journey. Where the narrator really shines, though, is in the reflections. In these survival mode levels, the narrator tells a single story over the course of 20-30 waves of enemies, one story bit before each wave. It's a great concept, not only because it entices players who play only for the narrative to see more gameplay, but it also gives gameplay focused duders something more to chew on.
Speaking of gameplay, the actual game part of Bastion is satisfying in that “easy to pickup/hard to master” sort of way. The game eschews a randomly generated loot system that so many other ARPGs can't resist, and trickles out new weapons over the course of the game. These weapons are always interesting, but never obsolete and each new weapon has its own unique purpose. Need to kill a bunch of enemies very quickly? The Fire Bellows (basically a flamethrower) is your answer. Need to focus down a large enemy quickly? The Galleon Mortar or Calamity Cannon are both powerful in their own special way. The only weapon I could say wasn't really that useful or interesting was the Cael Hammer. In fact, after awhile most melee weapons have no purpose, as there are no enemies that have no melee ranged attacks. So that sucks a little bit, but it's definitely a personal complaint and definitely not a huge problem in any way.
Basically, Bastion is the one game everyone should be striving to make. It's a great games for kids that has more for them as they get older. It's a great game for adolescents because it reminds them that good games aren't necessarily splattered with gore. It's a great game for adults because it's just a great game that knows that it's small and becomes so much bigger for that recognition.