So, here I was just diddling around the computer, browsing Steam ’cause lord knows I’m a consumer whore. Every now and then I look up what new games come out to laugh out, all these indie no names that either put in no effort to their work, trying to make a quick buck.
Or trying to be artsy; I laugh at indie games despite liking indie games, give me a break. But there was one title that interested me one day, called Bastard Bonds. Screenshots of it looked neat, sprite work looks great, video shows features and whats that?
Recruiting enemies that have VARIANTS?
OKAY color me interested. Sure the art pages are a little weird but from the looks of it the game looks like it’s more gameplay focused, so what the hell! It’s an isometric game that tells me I can recruit my enemies, my boner for turning enemies to friends has risen. Against common sense, I bought it and played it blind, and lemme tell you, if you’re a fan of recruiting enemies, forging a group of misfits, and fucking everyone up, then this is for you!
Game starts you off with you going into a trial, way to go you fucko! First thing you do is make what you look like, be it man, woman, or orc. Naturally orc is best option because fuck humans and their liberal problems. The character customization is beautiful, you can easily spend hours on what you look like, and the best part is that.. should you want to change to human or whatever, IT KEEPS THE CURRENT COSTUME. Some poses make some parts like a dot, and each character model gives you a new pose so that dot become a goddamn vest.
You can also change how the character ‘breathes’, which tells you that this game is not going to be animation-heavy sprites wise. What you’ll get in this game is static sprites that will bounce and move around. I know this makes some people annoyed by this, but you can easily turn it off – so it’s fine. And plus, animating every single frame with every single possible piece would be WAY more time consuming… and like the video mentioned, enemies will be varied as well, not to the point of your main character, but simple stuff like ‘that lion man is wearing no pants this time’, or ‘that demon’s all pierced out-is that a prince albert?’ sorta things, so I’m willing to let that fly. Games don’t need to be super fancy, just competent for what they do. Oh uh, also fun too, I guess.
Making a new character, you choose what you are charged with, and ho boy this is quite a list of deeds you may or may not have done.
Quite a selection. Generally, most of these don’t matter, but depending on how you answer the questions of weather you did the crime or not it’ll actually gave you a trait based on it, as well as also determines your characters alignment: Lawful, Neutral, Chaos. Necromancy even gives you a unique starter companion! But good news, all answers will point to you being thrown into the slammer! THE SYSTEM WERKZ. So you get thrown to jail and be sent to not-Australia to serve your time, which depending on what you did would range from a few months to a lifetime. Was shitting on front of the orphanage really worth it? Don’t answer (yes it was).
Bad news, though! IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER, you’re basically hole’d up there to die! THE SYSTEM WERKZ. Fortunately, someone will bust in for one reason or another and save your sorry ass. Who that is, however, is up to chance. From what I can tell, with the exception of necromancer, it’s one of the premade unique recruitable characters. Which is both awesome and not good ’cause should you and your friend’s alignment differ, which could cause some issues. More on that later. So anyway, once you get your companion you must distribute your stats! DO IT NERD.
- FIGHT covers attack
- GUARD covers health and defense
- LABOR covers how much manpower the characters gives out for the group. Keep in mind it’s not the ONLY stat that give out manpower, just for the one on Force.
- HUNT is crits
- DODGE is evasion
- THWART is lock-picking as well as the Guile version of labor, as well as letting you recruit/ransom better via threatening people. With knives.
- BLAST lets you fire spells
- WARD is anti spells and can potentially ruin blast-based characters should the enemies have that high enough. Yeah every single enemy in the game goes by this grid as well.
- WEAVE, like thwart, is the magic version of Labor. Get this shit high enough and you can recruit shit like blobs, statues, and (non-talking) beasts.
Got all that? Good. Now then, leveling up ONE of these things also gives a small exp boost to everything near it. So say, you give points to Hunt, everything in Guile gets a little bit as well, AND everything in attack gets some as well. This is useful because you want to get as much traits from these stats as possible. Traits are bonus you get should a stat get high enough. See those diamonds under the Next Skill bar? Those are your friends and you should get as many friends as possible, that’s the name of the game here. Some of the higher level traits makes you or your friend REALLY hard to kill, such as insane crit rates stacked with killing an enemy gives you a free turn plus being able to run across the map at no cost plus making enemy trip over you should they try to melee you. It’s more simple than I’m making it, but regardless you can do crazy shit here.
Last thing before we start the meat of the game! You’ve got to have personality! That’s right, your character is no mute and will talk about shit just like everybody else, and personality will determine what your character says!
See that? That’s right. You can be lewd. And this is why everyone should stop making and working on games. It’s over. Bastard Bonds lets you be lewd. It’s over.
Jailbreak is a tutorial, you get out and you may or may not meet up with another muscle man who was also trapped. You can skip him but he gives out good labor to which you need for the camp. Because guess what, you’re trapped in not-Australia full of huge beasts, wailing undead, and a whooooole bunch of convicts that either want to murder you, mug you, or probably want to do lewd shit to you. Sometimes all three. Hell, the only real difference between this island and actual Australia is there are probably more women in this game. So, what do you do when you’re in island jail? You form a posse. And this is what won me over to the game the most.
“This cesspool of doddering oldfolk and degenerates. Couldn’t be better.”
p.s. that’s Dark Souls III not Bastard Bonds I’m quoting. orz
There are three ways you can recruit:
- Simply talking to an NPC
- experiencing a unique event
- and this is my favorite here, BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF THEM.
What’s cool about the first one is that if you have multiple saves, there’s a chance of your main character from the other save will appear out of nowhere to be recruitable. THAT’S AWESOME. BUUUT, out of the three, the best one is BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYONE because monsters and enemies have traits that you can’t get anywhere else, so recruiting them is really the best choice. Oh yeah, you can also ransom lives for items, but who cares when you can ransom their asses to your service! But be warned! Your posse needs a place to stay, regardless of how temporary it may be!
Once you killed everyone in a map, you can actually set up camp… should you have enough manpower, that’s where and why all the stats on the Utility column is important, because in order to get more party members, you need to have space, to get space, you seek bigger maps, but to do that, you have to get bigger manpower, and to do that, you need your current party members to spend points on. (Editor’s note: *slams head into keyboard*) That NPC I mentioned earlier that you can skip? Very goddamn important, he can be a huge labor dump and can carry on manpower early in the game.
Alignment also effects manpower, so my advice for anyone interested, for whatever reason, free hint!: Please do not spend time making a Neutral character much on utility, while they CAN be manpower mules it takes a whole lot of experience to do so, and the fact that unlike Lawful(who takes the highest Utility) or Chaos(who takes the second highest), Neutral takes all three and squares it. Yeah. Just wanted to throw that out there. ANYWAY, back to party members, take a look of my teams from three separate runs!
MEET MY TEAMS
Me on the right. I went for a chaos heretic. Hagan on the left was my very first character that I forced into my little group and while he may be weak, he can crit and dodge like hell. Also, need to mention that party members that go with you will slowly bond with you, hence the Bond part of Bastard Bonds, and if it’s high enough you get a cut-scene when you leave your encampment. Special NPCs have unique art, but everyone else is just a picture of the fireplace and text, which is understandable. Hagan’s a total bro, and working with him has calmed his inner demons. Still laughs like a motherfucker though. Moving on, the person in the bottom is Grant, whom I got from the werewolf village. He’s hilarious cause he’s so fat when he transforms it’s more like a bear. But since he’s a unique character he’s got a bit of a story as well, and I kinda like him! He’s my tank of the four.
The person up there’s Angelo, he’s a Typhon. He killed off one of my party members during a fight, I nearly murdered the shit out of him leaving him with 1 HP, he panicked and begged for his live, I forced him to join my posse on the spot, force fed him sandwiches to recover his health, and he proceeded to murder all his former companions on the spot. God, I love this game. Naturally he’s my OP plz nerf murder machine, and if anyone goes near him they’re instantly dead. And he’s got reach too, thanks to having proper equipment.
P.S. There’s no perma-death, any party member who dies goes back to your encampment, injured, and when you finish a map, you have a chance of healing them. However if you die it’s game over, and you start back at the map of the island.
Second group is kinda unfair because I tried the different difficulty setting on this one and it just makes the game rack up EXP like no one’s business and it got to the point where I racked up enough manpower to not give a shit about anything. I recruited who I wanted, when I wanted, and meld them to whatever I wished. This is another thing I like about this game, because of the simple 9 stats you can make whatever role you want. Me in the center, went as a girl this time, I had a vagrant, a spider lady, and a goddamn dragon. This isn’t including the vampire, the fire lady, or the rest of my band of 41 monsters.
Third run I ended… Okay might as well tackle the big sweaty elephant in the room.
BARAS IN PRISON
This is a total bara game. If you’re in this little neck of the woods, I would assume that what you know what a bara is. But if you don’t, just look at the towering hulk next to the black-clad knight. that’s a bara. I’m going to stress this, when I say bara game it’s not cranked up to 11, it’s more of, say, 5 or 6. It’s apparent, but not overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of women you can recruit, as well as all forms of characters in all shapes and sizes, but I know better, the main focus is big. muscular. BARAS. Romanceable baras. There’s a side-quest that you can actually marry one of the unique NPCs, and the thing is… that quest does not give a shit what kinda character you made, be it man woman or orc.
Also, if you posse up with all the unique NPCs, you’ll get a buncha unique cutscenes with them, one of which was which one of them had the hairiest chest. I found this hilarious. But yeah, total #bara game, and the funny part is that I didn’t catch on until like, discovering half of the island. Now did that bother me? Well, no not at all. I was too busy having fun with this game, recruiting my comrades through VIOLENCE, and even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t care either. I’d be more focused on game play n’ shit rather than dicks in the screen.
Not to mention that the creator has stressed that this is a mature game. Which it kinda is, not in the sense of the “I only play Mature Games for Mature People” such of myself mentality, but it’s more of ‘hey, there’s going to be a whole lot of sexing and gay shit going on, you’re warned.’ kinda shit. At the same time, despite going into my third(and forth) run into it, the game hasn’t really dried out for me. But hey, remember earlier that I said I went blind on this game? What would’ve happened if I did research as I usually do? Well, probably the fact that the creator is huge into bara, might’ve guessed at this point, does bara content. I didn’t dive too much, my research on the creator was just one YouTube video, but that was enough for a gist. I also said that the game doesn’t really bother me being bara.
I’m really not into bara, believe it or not. I’m a degenerate, don’t get me wrong, but bara’s not up there at all in my list of perversions. The fact that the steam page, despite dropping hints, sold me without it being TOO too obvious was – hook line and sinker for me. That being said, I’m as thick as a brick wall, maybe it’s obvious from the get go and I just didn’t notice, wouldn’t surprise me. I’m not going to lie, if I did research before diving in, that might’ve changed my mind on getting the game. So what am I trying to say here? Maybe it’s just that you should give it a go, even if you’re not into bara and don’t mind too much about pixelated dicks. Don’t want unique cutscenes? Don’t get the unique NPCs, it doesn’t really change the gameplay of BEATING THE SHIT OUT YOUR ENEMIES. Bastard Bonds is an equal opportunity, all will bow down to your will should you punch hard enough.
The only real concern you should have about the game is actually the combat. I’m going to lay it flat, I love the game, but the combat is VERY simplistic, and not as strategic as it should be. It can range from being too easy to too frustrating and may end up with party wipes time to time if you’re not careful. Here’s what you need to know about the Difficulty Progression option: Band=Slow Leader=Fast. First character I did band and second character I did Leader, and Leader I leveled up like none other, and actually capped at 99 while my first character, who I actually beaten the game with, was still at level 21. Leader is faster but can be frustrating at times, Band is slower but you have a little bit more control of things.
But I will mention a few things that are important combat wise! Always take risks, it’s way more worth it that just doing one more per turn. Have party members in the same alignment as much as possible, either a full group or half n’ half, if you have just one person in your team that’s a different alignment, unless they’re a tank or attacking, don’t take much risks. Your default magic’s always neutral, get lens/gem and equip it for effects. Remember you’re casting magic, not a fireball of death, cast that shit to your allies for benefits from time to time. Hiding behind your allies does nothing, everyone can jump over each other.
Uh, uh, always bring a party member solely to be a labor mule, give them an arrow, and let everyone else do the dirty work. Always be sure to check traits back at your base when you recruit, they may have negative stuff like lower armor and HP, or just be plain clumsy. Get a blacksmith and upgrade, but be forewarned if you upgrade too much your weapon may turn to something that’s… not a weapon, I won’t tell what it is but you can put two and two together if you explore long enough. You’re not only limited to upgrading weapons, if you keep getting the same junk over and over from certain enemies, then that means something.
I think that’s all I have about the game. I feel like I skimped over the actual combat of it, which to most I think is the no.1 important thing about this game, but honestly, the game didn’t win me because of that. It won me because I had to forge a team of misfits and degerates together, survive in an island that wants me dead, and regain our freedom from the island! YEAH. BASTARD BONDS. BARAS IN PRISON AND PUNCHING ENEMIES TO FRIENDS.
I give it four out of five baras.