Friday, December 30, 2011

GOTY 2011: Bastion

I've contributed to a few year-end best-of lists this year, including two for Paste (one for traditional releases, one for mobile games), one for Kill Screen (it'll be up on the site in January), and even the community vote at Gamers With Jobs. Had Bastion been released in a mobile format, it would've topped all four.

No other game released in 2011 felt as coherent to me as Bastion did, as well-executed in all phases of its design. This game demonstrated a singularity of purpose I didn't encounter elsewhere, with the possible exceptions of Portal 2 and Dark Souls. But unlike those (terrific) titles, Bastion appealed to both my head and heart. That's not surprising given the thoughtfulness and talent of the team at Supergiant Games, some of whom I was fortunate to meet at PAX East last year.

Below I discuss some of the reasons Bastion was my favorite game this year. But since they get into serious story spoiler territory, I've hidden them behind the break. If you haven't yet played the game, please do yourself a massive favor and hold off reading until you've finished it (preferably twice!). In Bastion, far more than in other narrative-heavy games, the element of discovery and reflection is incredibly important.

Ready, Kid? Let's go.