A charming presentation, flexible gameplay and creative storytelling make this game a worthwhile download.

User Rating: 8 | Bastion X360
One strange thing about downloadable arcade and indie games these days is, that the developer-team behind it is so much more willing to take risks than any developer of high budget games. As the people latter mentioned have so much pressure on them to create a game that appeals to as many gamer generations as possible to make it a financial success, the low budget games don't have that and they resiliently turn an innovative idea into reality no matter if people will like it or not.

It's oddly interesting seeing that arcade and indie games offer much more varied gameplay styles than their high budget counterparts. Not all of the big titles are too streamlined though, but take FF13 for instance. It was so eager to please as many types of gamers that it totally destroyed the canon of the franchise just to win as many newcomers to the genre resulting in a boring playable movie. It's actually pretty easy: "To dream of the game you would like to be, is to waste the game you are."

Anyways, to talk more about Bastion it certainly managed to estalish its own unique artistic style and gameplay experience by delivering a different approach on storytelling. Basically, while playing, a narrator tells a bit about the background of the environment and comments on your actions which gives Bastion an enormously immersive narrative that's strangely spellbinding. To that the Morgan Freeman-like omnipresent narrator throws in storybits every once in a while to keep you hooked.

Apart from the creative storytelling, there is enough varied gameplay. From swords to a sniper rifle and guns, there are some "magic" spells you can utilize to deminish your opponents, that are as well varied enough to force you to use a different attack pattern to kill them successfuly.

There are two weapon slots you can either fill with long ranged or melee weapons depending on your prefered gameplay style and there is a third slot for "magic". For the most part all weapons are fairly balanced, but I liked to use the guns and basically all long ranged weapons more because many foes or exploding parts of the environment could harm your character when he is close. When pressing A the so called "Kid" performs a roll that is conveniently useful for dodging attacks. It evolves into some kind of jump later in the game. You can also upgrade the weapons or buy passive status improvements that strengthen your character making proceeding ultimately much easier. However, if you are a much more experienced gamer you can switch on certain parameters that strengthen the enemies if you want.

Speaking of varied gameplay, at certain points in the game you are offered two choices to proceed the story and the game has two different endings, which encourages multiple playthroughs. So if you completed the game within like under 10 hours, you can choose the different storyparts, try harder enemies and equip other weaponry.

While the story fundamentally revolves around restoring the so called Bastion, there isn't a very complex overarching storyline that keeps everything together. It just happened to be the case that the Bastion got destroyed in past events and you will have to build up everything like a shrine and whatnot until you watch the ending credits.

However, there isn't much bad to say about this game as it is brave enough to go a different way by utilizing an outstanding visual design that's amazingly handpainted and a pleasure to look at and the gameplay gives the player enough flexibility while doing nuanced virtual handholding. The innovative narrative is also a great addition to what is one of the best downloadable games this summer. I only wished there were more characters to interact with and talk to, but maybe it's just me. Bastion is well worth its 1200 points as there is enough replay value, so be sure to give it a try.