As I've mentioned from time to time I have been, and remain to some extent, a serious gamer. That is PC games, and in my younger days console games also. I have a couple of games installed on my MacBook. It seems odd to me at least then, that I have never been able to gather much enthusiasm for iOS games - especially in light of the platform's popularity.

Bastion is an exception.

I first encountered Bastion on Steam, which has been something of an indie game champion in the last couple of years with an extensive and growing catalog of indie titles. I never really paid Bastion much mind, though a couple of friends gave it glowing reviews. This may have been to my unforeseen benefit as a little while ago now Bastion launched on the iPad.

The game is a work of Art, visually it is glorious. The scenes are beautifully painted, vivid and gorgeously stylised. It's simply amazing when you first move 'The Kid', the protagonist, and the environment literally builds itself around you, the shattered post-apocalyptic landscape coming together from broken lumps and fragments a few feet ahead of you. The effect is unlike anything else I can conjure to mind.


The second surprise, and possibly my favourite aspect of the game, is that as soon as you start to explore and interact with the game the story and your actions are narrated. The voice acting is excellent, but more impressively as with the construction of the world around you it is responsive to gameplay and slowly spins the tale of The Kid and the destruction of the world. I've known games have voice-over narration before but never integrated into the gameplay in such a clever way.

My third feature of note is the soundtrack, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV series Firefly somehow, and plays on the game's subtle western vibe. It's a fairly clever mix of synth with a very countryesque guitar feel. Since playing I have purchased the soundtrack, only the second soundtrack compilation I have ever owned. Combined with the narration, this game warrants headphones and your full attention.

Lastly, the default control system on the iPad is excellent. You direct The Kid with a finger, and trigger special actions with a series of taps, most other things are automated and the UI is minimal, allowing you to appreciate the gorgeous artwork. It's a pleasure to play and an example of how the touch interface can really work for a game.

This one is well recommended.

Reading List

About Beards