DEVELOPER(S): Supergiant Games
PUBLISHER(S): Warner Bros. Interactive
PLATFORM(S): iOS (reviewed), Mac, PC, XBLA
RELEASE DATE(S): August 29, 2012
Now that Supergiant Games has released their game Bastion on just about every platform imaginable, it’s about time their award winning game went portable. That’s right, Bastion is now on iPad. On a platform with no physical buttons, how does one of last year’s most loved games perform on Apple’s tablet? Turns out, this adventure works just great without a controller or mouse and keyboard.
If you haven’t already played Bastion, you’re in for a real treat.
Players take control of The Kid, a silent protagonist who wakes up after his world is decimated by an even known as The Calamity. Throughout the game he meets other characters recovering from the catastrophic event and uses a place called The Bastion as a safe haven. It is here where the characters hope to makes sense of their destroyed home and rebuild it in any way possible.
The game’s story is both intriguing and involving, with genuine emotion in the characters and their tales of loss and sorrow. Rucks, an older man The Kid meets early on while heading toward The Bastion, narrates the plot as the game unfolds, making him the most relatable character. This becomes an increasingly impressive storytelling mechanic, as Rucks does this in real time, from story elements to what’s happening while The Kid is in combat.
A lot of work was put into Bastion’s world to make it an original and enchanting place not seen in any other game before. Floating islands and chunks of the destroyed city make up a sprawling world that’s fun to explore. The enemies, spirit-like beings referred to as “gas bags,” are also varied in types and sizes. The combat is also simple but fun, with multiple weapons The Kid can use. Equipping two at a time, the weapons are either short or long range. Players can experiment with different combinations to find what best suits their play style.
The big changes in Bastion’s transformation into an iOS game are not how the game looks or sounds, but how it plays. Instead of virtual buttons mapped onto the touch screen (which is available, but I wouldn’t recommend it), players now tap on the screen where they want The Kid to move or attack. Double tapping makes The Kid roll, and he now auto attacks when near enemies. These new controls may sound like a chore, but the transition from the old style of control is quite smooth. Instead the controls make Bastion feel more like an isometric dungeon crawler RPG, which isn’t a bad thing.
Although this new control scheme works well, it’s not perfect. Sometimes the auto attack doesn’t feel as consistent or controlled as I would have liked, and there are times when I meant to roll out of way of an attack and was hit because the iPad didn’t respond to my input. And even though this is a full fledged version of Bastion on par with it’s Xbox 360 and PC counterparts, it’s still a little disappointing that there isn’t any new content in the iOS version. Maybe some new challenge levels, or perhaps even a new weapon. Of course these are just nitpicks to an otherwise excellent game.
Outside of the gameplay, the rest of the game is exactly the same. The game look absolutely gorgeous on the iPad, with beautiful, hand-painted environments and kinetic action jumping off the screen. Bastion’s visuals were always superb, and on iOS the story is no different. The game’s wonderful score is in tact as well, as Bastion has one of the best soundtracks you’ll ever hear in a videogame. Rucks’s amazing voice work by Logan Cunningham is here as well and just as good as can be.
Priced at only $4.99, Bastion is a steal and a must own for everyone who owns an iPad 2 or the newest model (sorry iPad 1 owners). Bastion is still a shining example of what indie developers are capable of, making an exciting game with both great characters and an engaging story that tops most modern AAA titles of today. It’s one of the best console-to-handheld ports to date, and one of the best games available on iOS.
The iOS version of this game was used for the review.