Besides, Bastion's occasionally inelegant combat foibles never hang around too long. The game's made up of quick levels. In the beginning, these do tend to merge a little into one, offering little different in their challenge pattern (follow forming platform, slash through obstacles, take on boss). Your path is also pretty linear, usually set in a single direction by an elevated path set into motion by you standing nearby - a little disappointing for a world bursting with exploratory potential.
However, more variety and supplementary paths begin to creep in after the game's halfway point. This is especially true as you near Bastion's denouement, where dream-like sequences and - it has to be said - slightly trippy exchanges muddle with a universe we were foolish enough to believe we'd become accustomed to.
One particularly clever level sees you battling part-hidden enemies through undergrowth, and it would have been nice to see more challenges dissimilar to Bastion's regular stages thrown in. This wish is partly served by Proving Grounds - challenge areas that you're free to wander back to, in which you can test out your skills with a range of Bastion's weapons in return for tonics and other prizes. There's also a 'New Game +' option on completion, which transfers your XP, weapons and upgrades into a refreshed campaign.
The biggest incentive to pick this one up however, has nothing to do with dispatching foes, improving potions or bulking up XP.
SuperGiant has created one of the most bewitching universes available on console, made all the more heart-warming by Rucks' soulful storytelling and the best gaming soundtrack we've heard this year.
Bastion, then: a good, if flawed, place to play - but a fantastic place to be.
Not an action RPG revolution, but a solid game set in a gorgeous world.
- Beguiling art style
- Narration charms - and reacts well to your choices
- Brilliant soundtrack
- Plenty of upgrades on offer
- Proving Grounds and New Game+ offer good replayability
- Combat is usually repetitive and predictable
- Levels not open to exploration
- Not enough enemy and path variety in first half of game