Games today are more focused on delivering a unique player experience than ever before; we’ve got monumental set-pieces from the Call of Duty and Uncharted series, action-adventure romps like the Batman and Assassin’s Creed games, and straight-up old school challenges, like in Serious Sam. But, interestingly, the true gems of today’s gaming industry come from the indie market, where creativity and fun reign supreme. On such shining title of the year 2011 was Bastion – an action-RPG with some really innovative mechanics and some sweet gameplay to boot. Played from a 2D isometric perspective, Bastion introduces players to The Kid, a survivor of an event referred to as The Calamity that has befallen the city of Caelondia. The Kid makes his journey to safe haven of Bastion, where he learns that by collecting various Cores, he can restore the cities destroyed by The Calamity. Thus, he sets off on a journey to bring back lost pieces of the world, seek the Cores and fill out all the holes. The game plays out with action-adventure mechanics fused with RPG-style progression. As The Kid makes progress, he finds various new weapons and items that can be used to defeat foes and solve puzzles. Initially, the combat in the game seems simple, but upon playing the game, you realize that it has plenty of depth once you dive into its intricacies.
Timing plays an important factor during enemy encounters and can help you land special attacks or counter blows when you need them the most. As you progress through the game, you will be able to pick up new weapons and different abilities to suit your own play-style. Most of the weapons can be upgraded at special shops called Forges that are spread throughout. There’s also a Distillery that lets you craft different potions to use during combat; they grant powers such as restoring health, enabling special moves or providing boosts. Perhaps the greatest strength of Bastion is its atmosphere and presentation. For an indie title, the game certainly has a lot going for it. Buildings and walkways are generated right in front of you, and the game sports a clean visual style, with a great soundtrack. However, it’s the narrator who steals the show. Being the only person to explain what is going on in the game; the narrator dynamically tells the tale of The Kid according to your actions and weaves the story brilliantly together. As an indie title that has won numerous awards, Bastion certainly is a simple and charming game that boasts great mechanics and an excellent presentation. Overall, Bastion should definitely be considered as one of the games you’d want in your collection.