[Review] Ascendance – Nintendo Switch

Written by Nintendad
  • Developer: ONEVISIONGAMES
  • Publisher: ONEVISIONGAMES
  • Release Date: 09/05/2019
  • Price: £5.99 / $5.99
  • Review code provided by ONEVISIONGAMES

Going up?

Full disclosure, I didn’t complete this game. It wasn’t through a want of trying, it boiled down to Ascendance being an incredibly frustrating and at times baffling game. Anybody who regularly reads my content on these very pages or follows me on Twitter will know how important it is for me to complete a game before writing about it. It’s fundamental to what we are aiming to achieve here at Nintendad. I won’t go on about it further, but felt it important to mention for the sake of, if nothing else, my own integrity.

From my earliest moment with Ascendance I knew that it would prove troublesome. As I precariously perused my surroundings, whilst perched atop a perilous ledge, I went to jump to higher ground. That was when I noticed just how clunky the controls were. But allow me to back up a moment.

Going down

Ascendance is a 3D platformer that promises to offer a chilled out and Zen like gaming experience. The premise is to successfully navigate across a plethora of platforms in order to reach orbs that unveil more of the game world, allowing you to traverse further towards the games summit and your inevitable goal. And that’s all well and good, but – and it’s a big but, due to the game’s cumbersome controls, exploring the game world created by ONEVISIONGAMES is truly an arduous affair and even with my altruist nature, I soon grew frustrated and quite frankly agitated by the task in front of me. Let me put it this way, if I had purchased this game for pleasure, I would have put it down after seven minutes and never looked back.

Top tier? More like trash tier!!

The game world of Ascendance is, in all fairness, relatively appealing. The lo-fi, cel shaded aesthetic offers a palatable overview to proceedings. That’s really where the positives end. The ambient soundtrack is dull and uninspiring, quickly becoming repetitive. Performance is hit and miss through out, with some moments particularly struggling to hold together any semblance of consistency. The frame rate can at times be completely unforgivable and considering the nature of this title, a smooth gameplay experience is the bare minimum requirement.

Platforming games live or die by the level of control purveyed to the player and, as aforementioned, Ascendance is guilty of being heavy handed in it’s execution, making even the seemingly most straight forward of jumps seem like hard work. There were times when I was left exasperated by my own inability to progress. Some of the ideas on offer are interesting enough and watching the landscape augment as you hit an orb is relatively gratifying, however it would be remiss to deduct that such moments could redeem what is truly an heinous gaming experience.

Conclusion

Ascendance shoots for the stars but fails to hit the dizzying heights, instead crashing down to earth at an alarming rate and with devastating force. Clunky, loose controls and persistent frame rate problems mean that this vertically challenged title should simply stay down. Having spent over four hours with Ascendance, I feel as though I should have completed this game, but ultimately couldn’t overcome my frustrations in order to do so.

Pros

  • Pleasant minimalist aesthetic

Cons

  • Clunky, unforgiving controls
  • Frame rate issues
  • Incredibly frustrating
  • Simply put, not fun to play

Verdict
Ascendance is a hot mess of a video game, crippled by poor controls and jarring frame rates.
1/5
Fifield

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