The Kid sat down to write about Bastion, his mind empty like a soldier's wallet. Where to begin? What to say? The game wasn't a blockbuster production, but it was beautiful and expertly executed, and an epic concept delivered by a team that knew its limitations. When there isn't an army of artists, engineers, writers and coders to impress those critical gasbags, you put your vision on display.

Bastion's dynamic narration is to be the game's long-lasting cultural hook. A smooth and comforting voice relays events, but doesn't stop at exposition. There was very little the narrator didn't have a comment for, be it weapon combinations or that moment the kid simply starts smashing everything in sight.

Much like "Still Alive" did double duty as Portal's end and as its revelation, Bastion takes a similar opportunity in its credits to deliver the haunting "Setting Sail, Coming Home." A combination of themes that become familiar to players through the game, the song delivered the type of emotional conclusion that even the best cutscenes rarely offer.

But Bastion doesn't just deserve acclaim for its audio. A rich palette of colors surrounds the voiceless protagonist and his stark, white hair. Initially, it's what drew in convention goers to check out Bastion and start talking about it. Although "next-gen brown" is still overly prevalent in games, Bastion took a post-apocalyptic setting and expressed it in rich, vibrant colors.

Constructing the world around The Kid's every step is another outstanding example of Bastion's artistry. Instead of appearing one room at a time or clearing some fog of war, the world literally forms around your movements, reminding you this was a place with history, long before you came along.

Bastion is an epic indie, and combines story, audio, visuals and action in a way that could only come from a family dedicated and versed in the art of games.


Joystiq is revealing its 10 favorite games of 2011 throughout the week. Keep reading for more top selections and every writer's personal, impassioned picks in Best of the Rest roundups. The list so far:
  1. ??????
  2. ??????
  3. ??????
  4. ??????
  5. Bastion
  6. Saints Row: The Third
  7. Shadows of the Damned
  8. Dark Souls
  9. Gears of War 3
  10. Mortal Kombat

This article was originally published on Joystiq.