I don’t really have anything to preface this with other than I ended up being disappointed. Let’s get going.
I – Story [1/10]
Ascendant is a roguelike platformer from Hapa Games. The story is as follows: you (the player) assume the role of a demigod who has taken it upon his/herself to invade the realm controlled by your rivals. And that’s all she wrote folks. The premise is decent I suppose, but that premise is all there is.
II – UI [10/10]
The user interface isn’t bad. Health and mana are clearly displayed in the top left corner of the screen. The minimap is located in the top right and, to be fair, is one of the better minimaps I’ve seen in a game lately. It has multiple view styles and the game cycles through them automatically to best suit your needs. This feature was probably my favorite thing about the game as a whole. The menus were good and I had no trouble navigating around them.
III – Gameplay [3/10]
Despite the gameplay being rather solid for the most part, Ascendant gets old in a hurry. Puzzle solving, a staple aspect of platformers, is weak and scarcely found. The combat is okay. You’ll cycle through the same few attack animations by mashing either attack button. One is a direct attack and the other can catapult your enemies across the screen in a direction of your predetermination. The magic ability the player has at their disposal is boring. It only has one function and that is to shoot a projectile in any direction you want. On top of this, while you can parry enemy attacks, it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you can get the timing down.
There is no persistent upgrade system and the game institutes permadeath. You can take this to mean that every time you die (which may or may not be often) you’ll be starting from scratch. While that doesn’t generally bother me in most roguelike games, it started to irk me after a time in this one.
Levels and items found in the levels are also randomly generated. When done correctly, this is my favorite thing about any given roguelike game, but it almost felt like that was broken in Ascendant. Levels varied slightly, but enemies became overly familiar (especially finding the same bosses repeatedly life after life) and finding the same items over and over. It was unimpressive to say the least.
IV – Content [8/10]
Ascendant has a lot of content. Whether you will see it all is iffy, but it is there. There are about 16 different weapons to find/unlock during the course of the game. There were a lot of enemy types, but you may not see many of them. There was even close to 100 other items, which was a decent amount for a game such as this. Also, you had the ability to unlock other characters to play as; reach having their own pros and cons. Although the random generation seems to tamper with the content appearances, I can’t really fault the content itself.
V – Visual [9/10]
The art of Ascendant was, initially, what grabbed my attention when it came to the game. The graphics are very stylized and unique. It really makes it standout in the genre. The environments can be a bit homely at times, but I was never left wanting with character and enemy designs.
VI – Audio [1/10]
A final weak link in the chain, the music of Ascendant was very much disappointing. While it does change, it’s very quiet and easily drowned out by the sounds of combat and various other sound effects. It also becomes repetitive very quickly. If you were looking for an aural pleasure, you came to the wrong place.
VII – Overall [5.3/10]
Overall, I wouldn’t waste my time with this one. I’m glad I got it out of a Humble Bundle and that I didn’t for over the entire price tag.