Towerfall Ascension is a retro-style arena fighter that rewards strategy, precision, and quick thinking. The frantic archery based combat sucks you in and is best enjoyed together with a few friends on your couch.
The game is very basic, but offers a great deal of thrills within each of its single screen arenas of death. Each player controls an archer and the goal is to kill off your friends, if you’re playing versus, or to slaughter waves of monsters across a handful of levels, in the quest mode. Each archer starts with three arrows in their quiver, and any arrows that you fire can be gathered up again by anyone who walks over it. With one-hit-kills in effect, the key to survival is navigating the arena skilfully while trying to outwit your opponents. Should you find yourself without arrows, you can also try to jump on enemies’ heads for a melee kill.
It sounds very simple, but once you find yourself in the midst of a hectic battle, there are many subtle things that can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Players that are quick can use the dash ability to grab arrows out of the air, simultaneously avoiding death, and adding an arrow to their quiver. Moments like these are small victories in and of themselves, as they can effectively turn the tables, and the hunter becomes the hunted. Likewise, if you can use the environment to your advantage by wall jumping or dropping into the bottom of the screen to come down at the top of the screen, you can disorient your opponents and get the drop on them.
While the game play is very straightforward there are a lot of things that you can do to switch things up and extend your enjoyment of the game. You can set all kinds of variables, like limiting and specifying item drops, have corpses explode etc. that can add to the chaos and change the flow of matches. And if you get tired of fighting each other, up to two players can take on the AI in the quest mode.
Towerfall Ascension is a multiplayer-centric game for sure. While you can play various trials, or quest mode, in single player – it simply is a lot more fun with friends. In addition, there’s no online multiplayer either, so unless you can invite some people that are into these games like this, you won’t get the full experience out of Towerfall Ascension.
The game’s presentation is heart-warmingly nostalgic, taking you back to 16-bit era of video games. The character and monster sprites are awesome, and the different levels/arenas each have a unique look and feel to them. The adventurous soundtrack wraps it all up for an all around compelling presentation.
Towerfall Ascension is the kind of game that I would have loved to play twenty years ago, and is a timeless blast that I love to play in this day and age. If you’re into fast-paced versus party games, and you can get four players together, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get this incredibly fun gem of a game.
|What's Good? Frantic and addictive versus mode, quest mode is great in co-op, tight controls & awesome presentation|
|What's Bad? Lack of online multiplayer & limited fun in single player|