We liked Bastion quite a bit, enough to put it high on our list of 2011′s best videogames. But when Supergiant Games announced that they’d be releasing Bastion for iPad worldwide on Thursday, some were cautiously optimistic. How well could a combat-heavy Xbox 360 game translate to a touchscreen?
Pretty well, if it’s in the hands of Supergiant Games. Bastion for iPad ($4.99) might be the best console-to-tablet port yet.
The default control scheme of the iPad port (which only runs on the second and third models of Apple’s tablet) makes attacking enemies automatic, leaving you free to seek out a better position with simple touches and taps. The shield button also handles some timing-based weapon attacks, like the Breaker Bow’s power shot. The Kid auto-targets enemies that draw near, and you choose which weapon he’s using and whether or not to shield using on-screen buttons.
Somehow, none of the game’s depth or accessibility is lost, and yet it feels like it was designed for the iPad all along. It makes sense, actually. There’s no reason to not be attacking when an enemy is around, so why not just handle that part for the player?
There’s an option for a “classic” control mode in the options menu, but that just simulates buttons on-screen with virtual alternatives. There’s actually nothing classic about that, and the default option works just fine. Perhaps in a statement about the iOS games audience, Supergiant Games also included a new “infinite lives” mode in this release, to make the game easier for players.
Supergiant Games explained on its blog that it didn’t do an iPhone port of the game because it “felt the game experience would not translate well to the iPhone’s smaller screen.”