Towerfall Ascension Review

Towerfall is a terrific game and possibly the best game on the OUYA. Given that the platform is dying, developer Matt Thorson made the game ascend the OUYA by bringing it to PC and PlayStation 4 in the form of Towerfall Ascension. So, has this game successfully built itself up beyond the OUYA, or has it fallen so far from grace that it will die alongside the console that it was originally on?

Towerfall Ascension is a platforming action game where players take the form of a character with arrows and Mario-like jumps. In the single player mode, players can choose from four similar characters armed with a bow to take out several enemies in different locations.

The game is simplistic not just in the graphical department but also in the gameplay department. The character can move in different directions, but it can only aim its bow in eight directions, jump and dash. This simplicity is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the good side, the game flows well, as controls are fast and fluid. Although just firing an arrow and dashing around the screen seems limited, it makes the game more fast-paced and chaotic.

The bad side of this simplicity shows the lack of content of the game. With only four characters that operate the same, strategy is lacking here. I would have liked to see more diversity in the characters, like the ability to shoot farther or have more powerful arrows at the cost of moving slower or having a shorter dash. Although the levels are varied, they are still very simplistic. I would have liked Towerfall Ascension better if there were more customization levels or characters, then I would have loved it better.

Another thing that is lacking in this game is a plot. The story mode is simply a set of maps where one or two players can go through and kill several enemies. These is a great variety of enemies, from disappearing ghosts to reapers that can deflect arrows. Different strategies are required to dispatch of these enemies, and having a jump that can also kill enemies is helpful. I just had no clue why I wanted to kill these enemies at all. A story based on this premise would be amazing if this game ever gets another edition.

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However, the story mode isn’t the focus of the game. The game has its eyes set on the multiplayer component, where up to four people can play at a time. This works magnificently. The stages are simple enough to not distract from the constant action but intricate enough to include nice hiding spots for killing enemies with a well-timed arrow. Many different stages are available to play with; although, again, the player variety is also lacking.

One more thing that is also lacking from the game is the inclusion of an online multiplayer mode. This game would have been great online, especially if it could incorporate streaming into it. Online Towerfall tournaments could have been a larger idea that would have generated the game much more buzz and a ton of mindshare. Alas, it is something that is missed and would have kept me playing the game longer than I already have.

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10


Towerfall Ascension is fun. I had several frustratingly fun hours playing this game on my own. With friends, this game turned into a free for all that was better than the usual FPS games. However, it is the lack of a legitimate story, customizable characters, and online play that keep it from being amazing. Hopefully, these gaps can be filled by a sequel or used in other game. Bottom Line: Towerfall has risen from the grave called the OUYA, but I just would have liked to see a little more meat on its bones.

Shawn Richards studies games to understand how they work. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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