Bastion is a game that feels a little torn between time periods. On one hand, the game is a veritable shrine to the roleplaying and adventure games of the 16 and 8-bit eras. The isometric camera view, the varied level design, the strict adherence to playing in two-dimensions, and the cohesiveness of its unique “western-punk” fantasy aesthetic all recall a myriad of the best moments from best games of the early 1990s. On the other, the game benefits from things that only exist in the current generation: online distribution, the relative ease and availability of developing games on a small budget (with a small team cramped inside a single house), and most importantly the advent of high-definition graphics.
It’s this last current-gen advantage that really enables the world of Bastion to come alive and be realized to an extent that its pixellated forefathers could only infer and hint toward. With Bastion , the ability to include high-resolution textures and art assets allowed its creators to really imbue the world with a rich history and meaning. As I’ve noted in previous articles, I’m a big proponent of world-building. The practice of fleshing out the virtual universe of a game (or games) with information that taken alone may seem trivial or irrelevant, but collected together into a package of sight and sound really inform both the game and the gamer and provides a richer experience.