Bastion is a single player adventure game featuring some classic gameplay with a new-age twist, and is complemented by an eclectically original soundtrack. On its own, the game stands as one of my favorites of the past few years. Combining the gameplay with the soundtrack’s obscure mixture of folk, trip hop and blues; however, made the experience all the more enthralling.
The game follows the trials of a young protagonist known simply as the “Kid”. Instead of a story arc that carries itself out in a traditional manner, the Kid is followed by a narrator – a gruff, raspy voiced old man. Rather then cast the narrator as an omniscient meta-being, however, the developers made him as much of a character as the protagonist himself. The narrator opens up the album very much the way that he would in the game; full of charm and bleeding with character. He makes a few appearances throughout the 22-track epic, even showing off his pipes on a some of the tracks.
Darren Korb, the producer of the Bastion Soundtrack, flexes his muscle by successfully blending a seemingly unrelated smattering of genres. Downtempo electronic, acoustic blues, heartfelt soul, and alternative rock are just a few of the influences to be heard throughout the overarching soundtrack. Of course, while genre jumping on its own can seem contrived under most circumstances, Korb brings them together with a style all his own. Twangy slide guitar contrasts with epic electric guitar riffs and high-tempo electronic percussion in “Brusher Patrol“, while just before, we’re lulled into blues territory by the beautiful female vocals and jangly acoustic guitars of “Build That Wall (Zia’s Theme)“.
While no specific song stands out too far above the rest, there is a distinct theme evident throughout the album. Its theme (of course) mirrors that of the game – a dystopian view of a society in shambles with a young, determined adventurer on a quest to rebuild with what’s left. This quest involves vanquishing a great many foes (what else would you do in a video game?) alongside the collecting of pieces of the former world. These emotional goings-on are captured perfectly in the soundtrack, further establishing the composer’s chops.
All of it is wrapped into such a beautiful package, it’s difficult to believe that this is an indie game.
I am aware that the game has been picked up and distributed by Warner Brothers, though the development team Supergiant Games formed sometime in 2010. It’s their first game together, and although I’m not sure of all the details, it’s pretty obvious how much work went into its production.
Stand out tracks:
“In Case of Trouble” “Build That Wall (Zia’s Theme)” “Brusher Patrol”
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/electronic/indie album
"Where Were We When" and download it for as many coconuts as you can spare.
Coconuts are delicious, though their milk tastes like pond water.