You've gotta love Steam sales. I'm willing to bet that nothing in this world feels better than getting a discount on something -- especially when that something is an indie video game. You're helping an artist who probably hasn't gotten much exposure, and you get a nice, cheap game. If you're lucky, not only will it be a cheap game, but an enjoyable cheap game. If you're really lucky, it'll be awesome. If you're about the luckiest person alive, you'll get a cheap game that stands out, places itself above the rest, and becomes one of your very favourite games.
Enter Bastion, the first game from Supergiant Games, made by a handful of people (as in, less than ten people helped to make it). Somehow, every aspect of Bastion is not only good, and not only great, but glorious. What makes Bastion so awesome? Basically everything about it.
Let's keep it short, though. Here is a list of the top five awesome Bastion features.
No one likes a short game. That's just a scientific fact.
Time and time again, a great game can be destroyed by its lack of length (games aren't the only thing, am I right ladies?). The difference between video games and other artistic mediums is that finishing a game's plot and still wanting more is a bad thing. This is where sidequests and minigames and challenges come in.
Bastion features loads of sidequests, mini games and challenges that can add hours to playtime, as well as giving you useful items that are hard to come by otherwise, and helping to perfect the player's ability to use their weapons. Sometimes you're facing excruciating challenges in one of The Kid's pipe dreams, sometimes you're fighting hordes of enemies for prizes, sometimes you're taking on challenges for fun. How many hours you put into these missions is up to you, since they don't technically need to be completed. But the experience and prizes you earn are definitely worth at least a couple hours of effort.
I was initially going to mention the awesomeness that is Bastion's character design, level design, and concept art, all separately, and then I realised I could so easily just sum it up by saying, "this game is beautifully designed".
It really is.
Composer Darren Korb does an incredible job of getting the feel of Bastion across: most of the songs are up-tempo and adventurous. Strings like banjo and guitar (ranging from a soft acoustic to a distorted electric), tympani and trumpet are just some of the large assortment of instruments Korb utilizes to make the soundtrack awesome.
Of course, I had to listen to it as I wrote this list, and I'm having a hard time picking my favourite song. A Proper Story sets the pace just right. Brynn the Breaker has so much to it, though, and it makes everything seem so mysterious. Spike in a Rail is so catchy and cool; I could listen to it all day. The Sole Regret sounds like no other song you've heard in a video game before. And Build That Wall will send chills up your spine. You could listen to this whole soundtrack for hours … Which is important when you think about it.
This may seem like a weird reason to put a soundtrack in the number one spot on this list, but possibly the most important thing about Bastion's soundtrack is that the songs loop exceptionally well. In a video game, where you could be hearing the same song for hours, this is definitely a point in your favour.