Just like Bethesda innovated with its Radiant Quest Engine, Supergiant made a big splash with its seemingly telepathic narrator whose Whiskey-soaked drawl commented not only on the path we took, but the subtleties therein, as if we had an old compadre keeping us company along this amazing ride.
There were very few who did not at the very least mention Bastion in their adventures through the 2011 gaming experience, let alone include it among their very best. But beyond the surrealistic board pattern that manifested beneath our feet and the bona fide indie cred, Bastion told an amazing story whilst hearkening back to the platforming titles from our youth.
In the time it that has elapsed since we began to assemble this list (back in August) Bastion has already won Spike VGA awards for Best Downloadable Game, Best Indie Game, and Best Original Score, and noted in as best of the year in Paste and TIME magazine, Bastion definitely resonated with the not only the indie gaming world but the mainstream. Here is an excerpt from our review, way back when:
“It’s charming, it’s fairly original, and it works. It’ll keep you interested in the story just enough to complement the action until the very end, where instead of simply complementing the game, it becomes the focal point. I really don’t want to spoil it, but what happens at the end simply blew me away.” – HappyWulf
But I feel, as editor, and gamer, I must append to this initial reaction. Bastion is much more than a three-dimensional platforming experience. It is not only beautifully executed, and a refresh on how to display a game level, with its cascading reveals of the landscape before you (that in itself becomes an aspect of gameplay that keeps you on your toes as you ponder what paths will reveal solid ground), but it becomes a surrealist dreamscape, a post-modern fable that highlights the intrinsic experimentation that can arise from an independent developer.
While Catherine or Psychonauts attempted such metaphysical abstractions, Bastion handles it in a way that permeates on not only a philosophical, but dare I say spiritual level. It is what a collaborative interactive media effort might be wherein Manet provides the artwork, Tom Waits the narrative, Luis Bunuel the direction, Carlos Castaneda the higher esoteric ponderance and Beaudelaire the premise.
If all that sounds way too high-brow and FoS, then just know that this game is all that Braid ever brought to the table, it’s as challenging as Super Mario Bros. ever was, and it’s really fun to play.
Bastion provided a perfect encapsulation and proof of concept for the possibilities of what a game, indie or otherwise, can provide that nothing else can. We should be so lucky to get another Bastion any time soon (and to our benefit, our 2012 list of looksees may just keep that party rolling).
Even more amazing games to check out…Click Next to see the list of Very Honorable Mentions!