TowerFall Ascension – Review
TowerFall Ascension is a 2014 archery arena indie video game created by Matt Thorson. It is a simple arena combat game for up to 4 players. In keeping with the new trend this generation, couch co-op games are making a comeback.
I am personally am enjoying the influx of Indie games which for me tend to be more entertaining and less disappointing than the ‘AAA’ titles of recent years.
The gameplay and mechanics of TowerFall is simple, you start with 3 arrows and run and jump around a map until you kill one of your fellow players. A single arrow can end your life and successful run up until that point.
Each player is spawned in opposite corners as you would expect, then next comes a frantic and furious match that on average lasts little more than a minute or two. If you are not paying attention, or make a silly jump or shot, it is all over until the next round.
As said a single arrow can end you life and you use one button to shoot and aim your arrows. There is no charge distance for arrows, and all arrows have slight auto-correct and auto-homing properties. All you have to do is take aim in another players general direction and let loose the arrow, simple as that. You can dodge to the left and right instantly, and dodge into incoming arrows to catch them and into players to steal arrows.
This is where player skill comes into play, and matches will be determined by how well you can transverse the map, dodge arrows, and catch arrows while returning them to the sender. As said, this all leads to very intense but fun matches that are over as fast as they started. I feel like this all speaks well for the games balance, no character/item/arrow is overpowered and the game is entirely fair and well made.
The game modes are what you would expect from a game like this. You have your basic deathmatch, team death match, and survival game modes, coupled with the many different kinds of maps, powerups, arrows types, and arena modifiers makes for more interesting games that keeps you playing one game after the other for hours.
TowerFall also boasts a campaign mode where you can play through all of the maps in either single player or co-op. It doesn’t add much to the game, but makes for good practice for a new player in both it allows you to learn all the maps and arrows type while getting used to the controls.
I believe there is also special conditions you can meet for various maps for achieving various objectives which will unlock more maps and playable characters.
There is another game mode which really puts your skills to the test. Once you feel like you are familiar enough with the controls and mechanics, you can play the Trials game mode which puts you through many, many levels testing your ability to hit targets in the required time. This make a much more skilled player out of you if you are willing to put in the time.
Aesthetically I love the pixel art style which was done by the artist MiniBoss. It’s simple, and like a lot of Indie games, fits the game well.
The music is also pretty great and the game has over 20 tracks of which 18 of them are of a decent length. I find they can get a bit repetitive however.
Overall TowerFall Ascension is a fantastic game. But I can only really recommend it if you have 3 other friends to play it with. Playing the game by yourself the is not very fun. As said, it is just there to teach you the maps and mechanics so you can practice. The Trails mode is fun, but incredibly challenging and is only for players who really want to push their skill level.
For me personally, all the fun comes from playing with 3 of my friends in the same room jammed on a couch laughing, yelling, and cursing each other as each round goes by.
Check out some gameplay of a session I had with friends:
TowerFall Ascension will provide many hours of local competitive fun for up to 4 friends on the same couch. It's one of those 'easy to play, hard to master' games, and it's great to see more locally multiplayer games out there that focus having a good time with friends in the same room, however that makes the game best played with 3 other friends.