Making Me Steamy: Bastion Half Price

Beautiful, beautiful hack and slash dungeon-crawler (if a shattered archipelago of floating islands in the sky can be said to be a dungeon) Bastion is now half-price on the Steam digital computer game distribution pipe. I would use this opportunity to direct you to John’s review, where he implores you to buy the game. But you don’t need to believe his big lying face, because there’s also a demo you can play to try it out.

Then, once you have fallen in love with it, you can read this interview to learn a bit more about the making of this lovely thing. Hooray!


  1. King Toko says:

    I think I will get this later. Soundtrack too probably.

  2. TheFlyingWooly says:

    Wonderful game.

  3. canonfodder says:

    Impulse buy done!
    Been hanging out for it ever since playing the demo, perfect time to buy!

  4. Symitri says:

    It’s amusing to think that so far out of the whole year, the two games that have touched me most have been endearing indie games with beautiful soundtracks. Bastion is one of them, To the Moon is the other. No matter how much I anticipate Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed: Rev, SR3 and Arkham City, I’m questioning whether I’ll feel anywhere near as involved with these titles as either Bastion or TtM regardless of how fun they may be.

    • Innovacious says:

      I was incredibly surprised how much the ending (well, the ending i chose) moved me. Back when i got this i was just expecting some quick little distraction to keep me happy for a day.

      The story telling and the music is so much more though.

  5. Morph says:

    This is game of the year for me. Everyone should buy it (though PS: best to play with a joypad).

    • mickygor says:

      For what it’s worth, they’ve patched up the KBAM controls so that you don’t constantly walk over the edge now.

    • Urthman says:


      I can solve your interface problems with one button.

      yeah blah blah best played with gamepad controller whatever

      But if you’d like to sell your game to those of us who prefer mouse and keyboard, here’s what you do:

      WADS keys (user configurable, of course) for movement and the mouse controls the cursor for aiming your weapon.

      Then add one more button that will move your character (or in the case of a game like Lara Croft–jump) in the direction of the cursor. The direct move button makes the character move or jump in a straight line between his current position and the cursor.

      So for general moving and combat, the player uses the WADS keys, but then when he gets to an area with a tricky jump or some other reason to want to move precisely, something that would normally make you think “I need an analog joystick for this,” the player uses the direct move button to jump or move at a 210 degree angle or whatever the situation requires.

      (Something like this might also work for games without an aiming cursor like Assassin’s Creed.)

    • ShineyBlueShoes says:

      Or make it like SPAZ where the WASD is relative to your mouse position

    • Urthman says:

      You can offer that as an option, but personally I don’t think that works well unless the camera moves with the character. Moving forward is OK, but if you’re trying to strafe it gets too confusing for me when the character is facing toward the bottom of the screen and you have to press RIGHT to go left.

  6. Njordsk says:

    Played the demo, because I absolutly loved the art style (I generally enjoy games with colors and a palette complosed of more than brown and greenish grey).

    Sadly I didn’t like gameplay at all, the game didn’t click to me.

    • airtekh says:

      My experience with the demo was similar. I do like the art and narration though.

      Sale price is slightly tempting, but I’ve got too much stuff to play at the moment without buying a game I’m only half-interested in.

    • Apples says:

      I’m trying to struggle past the gameplay currently. I just finished one of the boggy worlds where there are plants spitting projectiles everywhere and very fast birds, and I’m not sure if I can be bothered to carry on. Agreed that the art is nice (though the Kid looks a bit strange) and the music is good, and I normally don’t give much of a toss about gameplay – but I’m just not very good at this type of game and I don’t want to furiously click on things for the meager trickle of story it gives you inbetween button-mashing.

      Everyone else seems to be having some kind of transcendent, moving experience from this game, but all I got was RSI…

    • Urthman says:

      [reply fail]

    • Juan Carlo says:

      Agreed 100%. People are so distracted by the voice over gimmick that no one seems to realize that the gameplay’s not great and that this is a pretty mediocre RPG all around. I was disappointed in it after all the glowing praise.

      Without the voiceover people would hate this game, or at least be bored by it.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Alternately, people actually, sincerely enjoyed the game, combat and all? The assumption that you know better than everyone else what they enjoyed about a game is both very common on the ‘net and very annoying.

      Personally, once I got past the first few weapons (not nearly as enjoyable as the later ones) and enabled some idols, I had a blast with Bastion – combat and all.

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    Bargain! Or would be if I didn’t already have it.

  8. sneetch says:

    Excellent game! Definitely deserves a score of Puppy on Unicorn.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      I demand at least a puppy, unicorn and a double rainbow!

    • bear912 says:

      Damn score inflation these days…

      More seriously, I’ve had the game for a while, and have yet to get around to playing it. Hopefully that will happen soon!

  9. Ian says:

    Hmm. I could probably justify this since I’ve cleared a bunch of stuff off my Big List O’ Shit To Play recently. Hmmm.

  10. Srethron says:

    I really want this. But surely an even bigger discount Steam end of the year sale is coming up. Hmm.

  11. asshibbitty says:

    It looks like a F2P Chinese MMO.

  12. Prime says:

    I bought this yesterday. Greatly anticipating playing it but have a novel to write and several existing games to finish off before I can get to it. And then of course there’s Skyrim on the horizon…Oh well, maybe I’ll get around to it in December?

  13. Emeraude says:

    One game I would love to get. Too bad about Steam.

    • Xocrates says:

      DRM free on Gamersgate. Not on sale however.

    • Emeraude says:

      It is ?

      My, thanks a lot. Sale is not an issue. Hadn’t realized it was on sale elsewhere.

      I know what I’ll be playing tonight.

    • johnpeat says:

      I probably shouldn’t start this but Steam is NOT ‘DRM’ anymore than the need for a PC to play it on is ‘DRM’ – Steam does not restrict how you play the game (arguably it makes it easier to have it installed on more than 1 PC – esp if it has Steam Cloud).

      Buy it from whoever suits you best but don’t dress-up your decision with a false cloak and dagger eh?

    • Unaco says:

      Steam IS DRM. It’s good DRM, in my book. DRM done well. But still DRM.

    • Xocrates says:

      Steam is a third party piece of software that restricts how you use the game, even if only by disallowing you to share or trade the games you buy. It is DRM.

      The fact that it provides a number of services that usually more than compensate for its limitations does not change the fact that, for all effects and purposes, it’s a DRM solution.

    • johnpeat says:

      I think it’s utterly daft to call Steam ‘DRM’ – saying you have to have Steam installed is like saying you have to have a DVD drive installed to load a game from disc – Steam is simply the means of loading the game.

      Steam places NO limitations on the number of copies/times a game can installed and, indeed, actively facilitates play on multiple systems!

      We have to be more sensible here – we can’t call any mechanism of delivery to be labelled ‘DRM’ – DRM is a system which limits or controls the number of copies/installs you can have and Steam doesn’t do that so…

    • johnpeat says:

      p.s. it’s even dafter to call it ‘DRM’ because it disables trading because ALL Digital Distribution does that – it’s like condemning DVDs because they can’t be folded…

      The whole issue of ‘resale’ is thorny but Steam is no better or worse than any other DD mechanism and almost all PC software operates through DD these days whether you like it or not.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yeah, Steam’s not DRM, it’s just a third party program that has complete control over when and whether you can access your game. You might say it’s software that manages your right to access digital content. If only there was a handy acronym for that.

    • Xocrates says:

      “Steam places NO limitations on the number of copies/times a game can installed”

      But it limits both the amount of owners and how many copies are in use at the same time. i.e. what DRM was created to do.

      “p.s. it’s even dafter to call it ‘DRM’ because it disables trading because ALL Digital Distribution does that”

      Nothing prevents me from getting a DRM free from GoG or Gamersgate and “trade” it with someone else. The only thing they lose is the ability to redownload, which they wouldn’t get if I had got the game at retail anyway.

      I like steam, and use it extensively, but I do so in the knowledge that IT IS DRM.

      DRM does not have to be mandatorily bad, evil, and troublesome. Most is, but that’s because most DRM is baddly designed.

    • Kaira- says:


      So, you are saying that a system meant for managing digital rights is not DRM, also known as Digital Rights Management? Interdasting

    • johnpeat says:

      If Steam is DRM so are DVD Drives, DVDs themselves, most middleware/game-dev tools, Windows/OSX/Linux – hell even your CPU or GPU – they are all elements which ‘control’ your ‘rights’ in relation to digital content (try playing a game without them).

      If you want to having a pissing contest over technical word definitions – have it with someone else – I’m standing on the idea that Steam is NOT DRM because it in NO way limits how I can play my games (Note: Some games on Steam carrying additional DRM which does this – but that’s not really relevant to the argument).

      f you don’t like Steam – don’t use it – but don’t stick a random and inappropriate label on your reasoning because it makes it seem ‘bad’.

    • Unaco says:

      Steam is DRM. DRM done right though.

    • johnpeat says:

      Reading back, I think the big issue here is the difference between people who buy games to play them and people who have some fanciful idea of amassing a collection of things they want to be able to access forever like some sort of historical collection.

      I’ve used Steam for years – I own over 200 games on there – it’s installed on my desktop and laptop – at no point has it EVER in ANY way restricted my ability to play any game I want (yes, including when I want to play offline).

      I could compare it to GFWL or EA/Origin – both of which I own games through and both of which HAVE interfered with my ability to play due to their endless demands for patches/updates and crashing thereof – but I won’t ;)

      I’m not going to worry about “what happens if Valve close-down” because that’s a stupid way of viewing anything – I’m not amassing a collection of fine wines or rare books, they’re games which have a finite entertainment value (which I’ll normally get within a few weeks of purchase anyway).

      If you are the sort of person who worries about this – well that’s fine and you source your games however you like – but make that clear in ways other than by sticking stupid labels which don’t really apply to things – eh?

    • psyk says:

      So when valve die and you need to redownload those 200+ games what are you going to do?

      Looking at what will happen when valve die is stupid LMAO no it’s a good question which most people would want to know before spending the cash for 200+ games.

      Or do sales make people less worried about losing access.

    • Vinraith says:

      Now people are just trying to move the goal posts. Look, it doesn’t matter for purposes of this conversation whether it’s good or bad DRM, there’s no way around the fact that it’s software that manages digital rights, so there’s no way around the label. It’s got nothing to do with collectors, or people that only ever want to play a game once, or any of the other conversations we can have about Steam as a platform, there’s just no question whatsoever that it isdigital rights management software.

    • Unaco says:

      Just because Steam hasn’t interfered with how you want to play your games, doesn’t mean it isn’t DRM. It just means it’s DRM DONE RIGHT.

      It’s still DRM though… It still restricts a game to a single account. It can be got round with Offline mode, but try playing a single copy of Portal 2 CoOp on two machines.

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d say there’s no DRM done right, but that’s not the discussion here. So, johnpeat, riddle me this: is Steam DRM if it has restricted me from playing a game I’ve bought (or subscribed to, how you look at things) with money?

    • Emeraude says:

      If I buy a boxed game that imposes the use of Steam on me it *is* a DRM, I don’t think there’s discussing this, is there ? Why should it be that suddenly, were I to buy a digital copy, it would no more be ?

      “Reading back, I think the big issue here is the difference between people who buy games to play them and people who have some fanciful idea of amassing a collection of things they want to be able to access forever like some sort of historical collection.”

      I like how condescending that sounds. Let me try the same in reverse: maybe it is the difference between solitary – sociopathic even maybe – people who never feel the need to share games with the close friends they don’t have and family they don’t visit, and those that love to share and pass around new games to those for whom they care.

      My little brother asked me to lend him my copy of Amnesia for the week-end, as I raved so much about the game. Had I bought it on STEAM, rather than boxed, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
      I still remember a time not so removed when I was poor, and being lent a game by a friends was the only way I’d ever play it. Or times when enthusiastic friends shoved games I had never heard about into my hands and made me have some of the best time of my life.

      Being able to share games is important to me. I won’t support anything that prevents this, especially when it has lines like: “YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY DISPUTE WITH VALVE WITH REGARD TO STEAM OR THE SOFTWARE IS TO DISCONTINUE USE OF STEAM AND CANCEL YOUR ACCOUNT. ” in its user agreement.

      That being said I don’t begrudge you for not caring about such things. Have a nice time.

    • Thants says:

      Reading back, I think the big issue here is the difference between people who buy games to play them and people who have some fanciful idea of amassing a collection of things they want to be able to access forever like some sort of historical collection.

      It’s amazing how fast “wanting to own the things I buy” became a fanciful idea.

      I’m not going to worry about “what happens if Valve close-down” because that’s a stupid way of viewing anything

      Video games suddenly going from “having your own copy” to “having your own copy as long as the publisher want to let you” seems worrying to me. If suddenly having a lot less control over the things you own doesn’t concern you then that’s your choice.

      If you are the sort of person who worries about this – well that’s fine and you source your games however you like – but make that clear in ways other than by sticking stupid labels which don’t really apply to things – eh?

      No one’s sticking labels on things they don’t apply to. What Steam does is the definition of DRM. If you want to argue that Steam’s DRM isn’t a problem that’s fine, but you got your terms wrong. It would be a lot easier to admit that then try and change the subject.

    • bear912 says:

      Among other things, Steam provides Digital Rights Management for producers. Yes, it is DRM, but that is clearly not the only purpose it serves. It is one of the few DRM systems which I am willing to tolerate, simply because it almost never gets in my way, and offers a myriad of other, worthwhile services that have proved more useful than Steam’s DRM scheme has proved inconvenient.

      Obviously, this is subjective, and other people might find Steam’s DRM more intrusive than I do, or find the other features that Steam offers less useful.

      I think Horace the Endless Bear would agree with me (bear-to-bear, you know) that Steam does, in fact, provide DRM for producers, and also that DRM is not the only purpose that Steam serves.

    • johnpeat says:

      @Thants – The whole concept of ‘ownership’ is nonsense when it comes to games – all you ‘own’ is a disc or a box. The game is dependant on you having a machine with the right OS/hardware to play it and the infrastructure behind that for online play – all of those will, sooner or later, cease to exist and all you’ll have is a bit of acetate…

      @psyk If Steam disappears (and it’s not that likely really is it??) I won’t have to re-download anything For offline/single player I’ll just crack the games to not depend on Steam – I can do that today if I really want to (much the same as applying a NOCD crack).

      @Vinraith – the problem with your definition of ‘DRM’ is that it applies to everything (as I’ve already said at least twice). Did you complain that you HAD to install a DVD drive to play games from disc – do you consider that ‘DRM’? because in your definition, it surely is.

      @Kaira – you’re just being stupid – you’ve created a personal demon and called it ‘DRM’. Be more realistic/grow-up a touch and stop just saying “I hate it I hate it I hate it”…

      @Unaco – to play Portal 2 on 2 machines you need 2 copies – that seems perfectly reasonable to me? It’s the same on 360/PS3 – why would it be different on PC?

    • johnpeat says:

      @emeraude – you don’t get to share you games with family and friends, the licence forbids it – it’s “piracy” (I hate the term but it is).

      Might sound mean but it’s nothing new and in no way unique to Steam – the same terms apply to every game you buy on disc or from any other DD shop.

      If you’re buying games from GamersGate and send the file to a mate to ‘try it’ – you’re committing copyright violation – simple as.

      So better a sociopath than a copyright violator I reckon…

    • Rii says:


      The whole concept of ‘ownership’ of anything is nonsense as property is a social construct infinitely malleable to the purposes of society. And it won’t be too long in the grand scheme of things until most of what currently constitutes Intellectual Property law is tossed overboard as the counter-productive detritus that it is.

    • johnpeat says:

      ” is Steam DRM if it has restricted me from playing a game I’ve bought (or subscribed to, how you look at things) with money?”

      Depends on the exact circumstances – you’d have to be less elusive.

      Bugs/problems/network issues and the like could well stop you playing a game (any game on any service) – but Steam has the relevant features to enable play in most any circumstance I can think of.

      Nothing about Steam is really designed to stop you – the account owner – playing your games on a PC (any one but just one at a time) – there’s no install limit or access restriction or timed limitations or anything like that inherrent in Steam (that I’m aware of or have encountered, anyway).

      So what’s your gripe?

    • johnpeat says:

      Rii may be right but has veered violently OT :)

      Seriously tho – what you ‘own’ in digital media terms is a really, really grey area. If you look at Nintendo, they make a fortune out of selling people games they’ve already owned (often several times) – you’d think you’d only need to buy SMB or Yoshi’s Island once – but no….

      When it comes to PC games, sooner or later you’ll need to hack/patch and provably break-the-law to get that game working – that’s just how it is and DD hasn’t made it any better or worse really.

    • Unaco says:

      ” to play Portal 2 on 2 machines you need 2 copies – that seems perfectly reasonable to me? It’s the same on 360/PS3 – why would it be different on PC?”

      Yes. It is perfectly reasonable that you can’t use 1 copy to play Co-Op with 2 people. And that is enforced by the DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT of STEAM.

    • johnpeat says:

      So what we’re saying is that the only aspect of Steam which is ‘DRM’ is it ensuring that you can only play your games on one PC at a time – not lend them to mates etc. etc.

      OOOKKK then – you win – it’s DRM – and it’s clearly necessary as you all feel that you can copy ‘your’ games as many times as you feel like instead of buying copies like what would be reasonable and all that…

      Congrats – you’ve made me a believer in DRM

    • Emeraude says:

      you don’t get to share you games with family and friends, the licence forbids it – it’s “piracy” (I hate the term but it is).

      The license may forbid it, but the laws of my country allow it. I can share my games, book or music within « l’intimité du cercle familial ou d’amis constitué par la réunion de parents, d’alliés, ou de personnes ayant des relations habituelles » which I’ll sum in English by: familly, friends and people with whom I have usual contact.

      The day I cannot do this anymore is the day I am convinced that the privilege the social body grants to a minority under the name of “copyright” needs to be revoked an fought against.

    • Thants says:

      If you had just argued that Steam’s DRM isn’t a problem, a lot of people would have agreed with you. Trying to argue that it isn’t DRM is just factually incorrect.

  14. Derppy says:

    If you don’t have this brilliant game, slap yourself in the face and buy it right now.

    The narration, visual style and soundtrack make this game an experience you don’t want to miss, even if you don’t like the genre.

    Indie games are getting so good I’m enjoying them way more than recent “AAA”-games. Anticipated Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Battlefield 3 like hell, but I’ve spent way more time with Binding of Isaac, Unepic, King Arthur’s Gold, Terraria, Bastion, Frozen Synapse and Super Meat Boy + Amnesia from last year.

    Lets see if Skyrim proves me wrong, but £40 games this year.

    • Betamax says:

      “If you don’t have this brilliant game, slap yourself in the face and buy it right now.”

      Done and done.

  15. StingingVelvet says:

    Gamersgate said on their twitter they will have the same deal soon, if you want a DRM free version like I do.

  16. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    I bought this game a little while back and while I love the look and don’t mind the game play, the narrator really, REALLY grates. There’s something really false about it, somehow. The whole gravelly voiced cowboy thing would work but for some reason it just feels like someone putting on a voice and the whole thing feels hollow somehow.

    Which is a shame, ’cause I bought it primarily to enjoy the story.

    • Burning Man says:

      It seems to be hit and miss. Some people really like the narrator, some don’t. I dislike his style more than his accent. Like you said, there’s a natural gravelly old-school cowboy accent, and then there’s this guy who’s about there but not quite.

  17. drewski says:

    I’m probably not very far into it, but so far it’s *seriously* not working for me at all. The narrator is annoying, the controls are imprecise and fiddly and I can’t find a weapon I like.

    I really, really wanted to like it because I heard such good things. But…I just can’t.

    • johnpeat says:

      That sounds to me like the problem is you and not the game – thanks for sharing tho :)

    • bwion says:

      Eh, I don’t really think that “did not like a game” counts as a personal fault.

      Bastion is easily my choice for best game of the year so far, but it’s definitely one that I’d recommend everyone try out the demo before buying. If the narration doesn’t work for you, or you’re not into this sort of gameplay, best to find out before you drop the money on it.

      (Still go out and buy the soundtrack, though, it’s amazing stuff.)

    • johnpeat says:

      I didn’t mean he was wrong but if you don’t like how a game looks/sounds/plays that doesn’t mean the game got that wrong – esp when it’s been lauded by almost everyone else

      Was my point.

    • drewski says:

      Why did you even bother replying if you were just going to be snide?

  18. Brahms says:

    Wish I liked this game but I couldn’t get into it from the demo. Something about the controls felt rigid and lacking in fluidity. I think I wanted a bit more pace from it.

    • johnpeat says:

      The trick is to play the game offered, not the game you had in your head or the game you wanted or the game you’ve been thinking of making or whatever.

      Expectations are what will get you in the end – adjust them :)

    • Emeraude says:

      Nothing wrong with expectations as long as they’re reasonable. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I do buy games to play the games I want to play – though I’ll give I do not always exactly *know* what it is I want to play. You might sell me the best beat’em-all EVER, if I bought it expecting/wanting a RPG, I’m not going to be pleased. It doesn’t mean the game is bad. Just that there was a problem in communication/marketing along the way (lack of demo, or lack of me doing my homework to dig up said demo).

    • rayne117 says:

      John is right but I hate to admit it.

    • IAmUnaware says:

      What’s up with this fellow johnpeat responding to every “controls are bad” comment with “LOL NO UR BAD”? Is he the developer’s PR monkey or just someone who can’t stand a stranger on the internet thinking something that he hasn’t officially approved?

      Also, to correct his advice, if you don’t like a game’s bad controls, the “trick” is to put it away and instead play a game with good controls, not to pretend that the controls aren’t bad and just soldier on anyway because that’s what you were given and you must accept it regardless of its flaws.

    • Emeraude says:

      To be fair, some controls aren’t so much “bad” as “something one might not want put up with”. Games are by definition constraints. Some of those we enjoy, some we don’t, depending on our preferences.

  19. bwion says:

    The thing that impresses me so much about Bastion is that, if you lift any one element out of it, that element is probably not going to be much better than “pretty good”. The only things I’d call exceptional are the music and one particularly well-executed moment toward the end of the game. (Exceptional is almost an understatement for the moment I’m thinking of, mind.)

    What’s really special, though, is the way that all of these elements combine to deliver an experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts. *This* is how you design a game. Don’t just focus on gameplay, or narrative, or visual design, or sound design, as if any of those things are the only important thing, make them all work together.

    It’s not a game that everyone’s going to connect with. (As I said in a comment above, I really recommend grabbing the demo for this one, if only to see whether the narration works for you or not.) But then, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a game that everyone will connect with, nor do I think there’s any shame in not liking a well-regarded game.

    • Apples says:

      I haven’t finished the game, but I have to disagree on part of this – so far, I feel like the visual design, gameplay and narrative are actually quite disjointed and don’t work that well together. The visual design is pretty, that’s true, but just looks like upgraded anime-style deviantart fare to me. It has little to do with the gameplay or narrative. It doesn’t feel like they chose it deliberately, just that that was their artist’s style to begin with, and it could have gone with any game. Similarly, the gameplay genre could have been FPS, strategy, platformer, anything, without affecting the art style or overall narrative very much. It feels like bits of other games and styles that the creators liked with a few innovations like the narration, plonked together with skill and artistry but not a huge amount of consideration. The parts of the game don’t work AGAINST each other, but they don’t actively support one another either.

      I know lots of other people feel differently, but to me it doesn’t have the art-gameplay-narrative cohesion (disregarding quality of any of those) that I think other games like Stacking or Grim Fandango have, where every design decision is centred around one central concept.

  20. merc says:

    Wonderful, wonderful game, probably my game of the year pick as well. Do yourselves a favor and buy it if you don’t have it.

  21. TooNu says:

    I bought this on Saturday just gone. The soundtrack edition, for full price and now it’s 50% off…timing is everything. Oh but it’s a great soundtrack, I’ve listened to it more than anybody else in the universe has.

  22. XisLoose says:

    I’ve got a question for all of those who played it already.
    I heard the game is rather short (few hours at most), is there any truth to that?
    and if so, is there any replay value?

  23. Emeraude says:

    Enjoyed the game, hated the music, and the voice over (but then the older I get the less I seem to enjoy human voices – even in music). All in all made for a nice night.

    Will play again, thanks for the advise.