Like most gaming entertainment, Bastion begins with some narration. This is to set the scene, tell a little backstory, get the proverbial ball rolling. However, with Supergiant Games’ first release, there’s a hook; the narration never stops. Voiced by Logan Cunningham, the game’s narrator is ever watchful and never a bit shy to comment on the fact that you’re slashing everything in your path apart or that you need to leave that adopted pet in your stronghold alone for now or that you went left instead of right first. It’s interesting and a little creepy, but it certainly gives one a sense of their own experience, something true to only them, and that their version of the Kid is being role-played as they deem.
Bastion is about rebuilding. An event known as the Calamity has split the world into a series of floating islands, and the Kid, our silent protagonist, heads to the Bastion, a safe haven of sorts that his people created to live at protected during these hard times. Unfortunately, upon arrival, it is clear that there is a lot of work yet to be done, and so the Kid sets off across the floating map to find new resources. So far, I’ve been able to upgrade the Bastion with two new buildings: a distillery and a forge. The former is a place of potions and magical unctions, and the latter lets you tweak your current weapons with passive abilities, such as improving the speed of your bow or your chance to land a critical hit with that mighty hammer. Standard RPG flair, but the stat personalizing and slight customization is welcomed.
The game is highly stylized, with gorgeous artwork, vibrant colors, and a playing field that forms all around the Kid as he moves forward. It’s amazing to see the path constructing right before your feet for the first time, and it’s still equally amazing the fortieth time it happens. Kudos to the developers for that neat trick. The monster designs are adorable, like something from a Hayao Miyazaki film. At times, the camera zooms in for a closer look at the action, which I greatly appreciated. Every place is a place of import, nabbing a cool name that any fan of epic fantasy fiction will love. My personal favorites: The Rippling Walls and Breaker Barracks.
If there’s one complaint I could toss onto the field it’s that the dynamic narrator is sometimes talking right as a swarm of Squirts appear out of nowhere and attack the Kid. Unfortunately, at that point I am more concerned with staying alive and swiping my enemies to bits to really listen, meaning I’ve missed out on whatever he said. Granted, it might have been something minor, but it might not have been. A narration log would be nice, or some kind of codex to keep track of everything. Also, at least for me and my television from 2005, Bastion is another example of a tiny text game.
But so it starts:
The Stranger (10G): Complete the Wharf District.
Looking forward to building more of the Bastion tonight after work.