Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bastion [Supergiant Games + Warner Brothers] - $4.99

So, in our review of Splice: Tree of Life, we said that this week was an incredible week for iOS gaming, bringing up a fantastic Physics-Puzzler, a very unique firefighting game and not to mention the absolutely mind-blowing Splice, we also mentioned the ‘best Action RPG to hit the iDevice’. Now, this could have easily been one of two titles; Square Enix’s The World Ends With You, or Supergiant Game’s Bastion. Granted, I bought TWEWY, however, I have been unable to play it because I bought the iPhone version, have a 4th gen iPod that doesn’t run the game, and an iPad 2, which has a block on installing the game, so I don’t really know exactly how good TWEWY is (though I plan on finding out around X-Mas when I upgrade my phone to either an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5), and was pretty upset about the whole ordeal. That is, until I laid my eyes on Bastion. Originally an XBLA title, ported over to the PC a month later, and then hitting the Chrome Web Store at the end of last year, then ported over to the Mac, hitting the Mac AppStore in late April, has finally come to the iOS. And finally, after a good 9 months at the top of many gamer’s Action RPG lists, CrimsonHeart has been de-throned. 

Bastion is the story of ‘The Kid’, a young man who’s awakened in a world that’s teetering on destruction. The event that caused this is known as the Calamity. It turned people to ash, converted creatures into evil beings and destroyed the floating pathways of the city of Caelondia. With the help of The Narrator, who helps guide you along throughout your adventure, it’s up to you to rebuild the Bastion, a place where the people of Caelondia are supposed to turn to in troubled times. 

For those of you who own another version of the game, Bastion is basically exactly the same. Aside from including the game’s only DLC pack; The Stranger’s Dream, the only real major difference is the controls. Supergiant has rebuilt the control system to fit the touch screen perfectly. To move, you can either tap anywhere on the gameplay area, or tap and hold in the direction you’d like to move. Combat is done automatically, with the game taking care of what enemies and objects are targeted. This might be a bit upsetting to hear, but the game does a great job of auto-targeting either the biggest threat, or the enemy closest to you if there is no major threat close-by. You’re able to dodge/evade by double tapping, and there are two buttons, used for manually firing certain weapons or enabling the shield and to use your equipped special ability. While this control scheme might require a little messing around with before becoming comfortable, it does leave the screen wide open and un-cluttered. However, there is also a second control scheme that includes a virtual joystick for movement, and buttons for attacking, dodging, using your shield, activating your special ability and switching your weapons. You’re also able to manually target your enemies with this control scheme. 

There is quite a bit of depth in what you decide to equip The Kid with. You’re able to carry up to two weapons with you, and with a total of 10 weapons found throughout the game; the Cael Hammer, Dueling Pistols, Breaker’s Bow, War Machete, Scrap Musket, Galleon Mortar, Flame Bellows, Fang Repeater, Brusher’s Pike and the Army Carbine, there’s quite a few different layouts you can choose from, all effecting how you play the game. You’re also able to upgrade each of these weapons with the gems that you’ll collect by breaking boxes, various objects, and defeating enemies. There are also other stores which will let you upgrade The Kid with passive abilities, like increasing your critical attack, or critical shield duration. 

The graphics and animations in Bastion are amazingly well crafted. With all of the different environments spanning from forests and cities to bogs and training areas, each with incredibly vibrant colors matching the environment as well as helping to create an incredible atmosphere. Not only are the graphics remarkably well done, but the animations are fantastic. Right when you start up the game and see how the road is built around you as you move throughout the world, Bastion’s polish becomes very apparent. 
Along with the game’s incredibly polished graphics and animations, but Bastion’s soundtrack and sound effects are also an intense highlight of the game. Helping to complete each area’s atmosphere, Bastion’s BGM is loaded with depth and emotion, not only fitting the game’s environment, but also being a driving force behind the gameplay. It’s actually one of the few video game soundtracks that I listen to while in the car, and have playing during various times throughout the week. Darren Korb was the perfect choice for the artist behind Bastion’s soundtrack, pulling it off perfectly. Supergiant Games has also made the soundtrack available for purchase through iTunes, so make sure and check that out, if you're so inclined.

With Bastion priced at $4.99, and easily being one of the top 3, if not the best, Action RPG available for the iPad, it’s a perfect price-point. I know there are many out there who would have paid more for Bastion, but with so many gamers who haven’t been exposed to the game before now, $4.99 doesn’t shut them out of the ‘take a chance on it’ group. GameCenter integration is also included with a leaderboard for your Total Points, and 21 achievements. There is also a New Game+ option once you complete the 8-12 hour story mode, giving you the option to play through the game again with different weapon loadouts. Carried over to the New Game+ is The Kid’s level and distillery spirits (character upgrades), Fragments, Weapons and their upgrade levels along with their items that are used to upgrade them, Secret Skills and Idols. Supergiant Games has made a huge splash on the AppStore with this release of Bastion. Here’s hoping it sells well, and we get to see more games produced for the platform in the future. 


I really hope this comes to the iPhone soon. I have no idea why they didn't make it available for the 4S.

It will not come out on iPhone.. its to small of a screen.. the game was originally made for a big tv screen/pc screen.

I want to play this so badly.. sadly.. Warner Bros will not be releasing it in Norway.. >_>

Nor will they publish in Israel. I don't understand this.

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