The original TowerFall was the Ouya‘s diamond in the rough, earning instant praise for its chaotic, local multi-player mayhem in the form of 2D archery combat. With TowerFall: Ascension finally releasing on larger platforms earlier in March of this year, us non-Ouya owners have obtained a taste for blood. It’s time to make some new enemies out of your friends!
The concept of TowerFall: Ascension is quite simple. Each archer only has 3 arrows to use against their opponents, so everyone frantically jumps about the screen to avoid them and prays that nobody gets in to a fist fight. If you’ve ever watched grown adults locally compete in games like Mario Party or Sportsfriends, you know damn well that things can get pretty hairy, especially when alcohol is involved.
In what’s sure to disappoint some, TowerFall: Ascension does not support online multiplayer. There. I said it. The weight of my complaint is going to vary from player to player, but I have a lot of friends in different cities, let alone different countries that I’d love to feather with an arrow or three, but we’re all limited to our local competition. Still, there is plenty to do in the game, even if you’re just running solo.
The bread and butter of TowerFall: Ascension is its 2-4 player versus mode, as it’s easy to sink countless hours in to whenever you have a buddy come over for whatever reason. It’s also an easy game to pick up and play, as it only consists of moving around 2D maps, shooting arrows, jumping and dodging. Sure there are power-ups, like bomb arrows that explode, or drill arrows that go through walls, but the gameplay mechanics are as basic as it gets, making it the ideal game to whip out whenever your living room is occupied by other people. Of course, any one who has actually played TowerFall before can attest that there is an insane amount of skill involved.
If you tend to spend most of your time gaming alone, fear not, as TowerFall: Ascension offers two single player modes with Trials and Quest. Trials is an interesting time-attack mode where you take down strategically placed straw dummies in the shortest amount of time possible. Each stage consists of three trials, which increase in difficulty as you progress and will no doubt require many, many attempts to get through. Trust me, shooting arrows at stationary targets only sounds easy on paper, but your thumbs will feel the burn and possibly develop washboard abs in the end.
Quest is the other single-player mode, but you can also bro-op it with one of your friends as you’ll battle increasingly difficult waves of enemies and AI archers. Making your way through Quest will also unlock additional characters and levels, pending you can sniff out all of the secrets or even make it through the first few waves to begin with. If you find things a bit too easy, there is also a Hardcore difficulty setting which will put your TowerFall skill to the ultimate test.
Each stage in TowerFall: Ascension has its own identity, like the passing constellations in Twilight Spire or the hazardous floors in Frostfang Keep, and I found myself whistling their respective theme songs well after I was finished playing. Hell, just writing this review has me whistling the theme song repeatedly and makes me wish I were back on my couch putting arrows in to slimes, bats or fellow archers.
Overall, TowerFall: Ascension brings me back to being crammed on the couch with my friends while playing Super Smash Bros., Perfect Dark and Gauntlet Legends on the N64. In an era where everything is so focused on bringing people together online, it’s refreshing to see a game like TowerFall that is at its best when played locally with friends. I could sit here all night and gloat about why TowerFall: Ascension is awesome, but the most important thing is that it’s just really damn fun. If you own a PS4 and you have friends, you should be playing this. And for around $15.00, you couldn’t ask for a better way to spend your night.
Recommended for fans of: The original TowerFall, Sportsfriends, Bomberman, or local multiplayer games in general.
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & aspiring writer from Baltimore, MD that handles news, reviews and editing here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not writing or knee-deep in an MMO, he’s usually watching low-budget horror films or following Orioles baseball. Follow him on Twitter, Twitch or contact him by e-mail. Love gaming? Join TEAM XBRO today!