A charming hack-and-slash adventure which brings some interesting ideas to the table

User Rating: 8.5 | Bastion X360
Whilst the protagonist simply known as The Kid was sleeping, the world has ended due to something known as The Calamity. He seeks refuge in the floating island known as the Bastion which needs to be rebuilt. So The Kid goes on a quest to find Shards which can help with this process. Due to a piece of the Bastion that The Kid carries with him, the levels re-form in front of you, which is an awesome visual effect as well as assisting with navigating through the levels. The graphics are very sharp and detailed, so watching the land reform in front of you is a wonderful sight. Also, as you play, a narrator is constantly chipping in comments about the story, the land, or what The Kid is happening to be doing or should be thinking at the present time. Gameplay wise, it is hack and slash. Although games like this can be a bit mindless, there's plenty of interesting ideas. You can use your shield to block, but if you time it correctly, you can reflect projectiles for a powerful attack. There are plenty of primary and secondary weapons which are found over the course of the game, each having varying properties and these can be set and upgraded before each level. You can bring two weapons with you as well as a special attack. Some weapons are standard hack-and-slash, but the ones that can be charged up often have a sweet-spot which deals extra damage. You also unlock Idols which is a way of customising difficulty. You can make the enemies have higher defence, stronger attack, faster attack, regenerating health as well as extra behaviour such as dropping grenades on death. Each idol you activate gives bonus XP when you defeat enemies, but it does ramp up the difficulty significantly, especially certain combinations. Bastion seems a bit easy at first, but given the customisation, you can make it a crazily difficult challenge. Enemies can be quite tough especially when dealing with many enemies. Some enemies attack in swarms, while others attack in bursts and can churn out a barrage of projectiles. So when you are dealing with a projectile barrage and other enemies are coming from the sides, they can take you down fairly quickly if you aren't careful. Usually, a nice mix of dodging, blocking, attacking from range, and attacking from close range is required. There is a special challenge stage for each weapon which tests either speed or accuracy and completing the stage awards you with items. When you level up, you can assign a 'tonic' to an upgrade slot which gives various bonuses. These tonics can be bought in the shop or found as you progress, and can be switched between levels. This system is a welcome addition, because if you choose an upgrade and regret it, you can just switch it out after the level is finished. Bastion isn't a particularly long game, but once you complete it, a 'new game plus' is unlocked that lets you carry over all your weapons and experience from the previous game. Bastion is definitely recommended for fans of hack-and-slash games since it is a great game and brings some interesting ideas to the table.