Wednesday, October 14, 2009

REVIEW: Bastion for the iPhone

Bastion is an iPhone app from developer Chad Townes. It combines elements of tower defense, arcade shooting, strategy, and even a little twist of tetris. What comes out of all that is a tight, challenging app that'll entertain for a handful of hours.

There are two modes: Conquer and Survival. While the premise is largely the same across both modes, there is small nuance in the challenge each thows at you.

Conquer arranges the map in a more traditional tower defense layout. To the right is your land, armories and towers while enemies flood in from the left. In Bastion, enemies take the form of ships. Some ships are smaller and faster and take less hits to destroy and the other end of the spectrum has large ships that move slower and take more damage. The largest ships also spawn small landing boats that poor small people on to your land. While the boats fire on your towers, the people do damage too so you have to defend near and far.

Bastion's biggest gameplay twist is that it gives you control over targeting the cannons of your towers. You scroll the target around ad fire with an icon in the lower right corner. This gives you more direct control which is empowering, but when you fail and miss hitting the moving targets it can be frustrating.

The difference in Survival is that it puts your armaments on an island and surrounds you with enemies. Instead of the difficulty ramping up gradually it thrusts you among many ships all at once.

Bastion allows for three profiles so you can save three games or allow a friend to start their own game. It also has a pretty thorough tutorial so even if my review didn't do the gameplay justice, you'll have a helping hand before starting play.

I've tried several different strategies, including buffing the attack power of my towers, building several weaker towers, or spending the money earned from downed enemies on the power up weapons in the armory. Each try was successful in different ways but there's no magic trick to beating the game.

Bastion is a fun, cheap title that provides a hefty amount of fun with sharp graphics and responsive controls. I would recommend the game to everyone who wants an app that they can spend a lot of time with. It's challenging and I found myself restarting after getting a game over around level 1:11 in Conquer mode.


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