Game Review: ASCENDANCE (Nintendo Switch)

With Ascendance I was so hoping for something like Refunct, one of my favourite modern first-person 3D platformers. Sadly, while ASCENDANCE is similar in many ways, it fails to capture the imagination in quite the same way.

Although it would be false to say it doesn’t have a chilled out appearance. Mostly though, it’s a frustrating experience let down by a fundamentally important aspect to get right in a game like this…the controls.

The basic premise is for you, the player, to navigate one of three levels by jumping from platform to platform to reach orbs. Once these orbs have been touched, more of the world appears before your very eyes allowing you to reach higher heights. By the end of the level, towering monoliths will be everywhere, and you will atop of them.

It’s simple, or at least it would be simple if the controls weren’t such a problem. Sluggish and unresponsive, the key element of the game…jumping is severely lacking. You just never feel comfortable with it and a running jump requires you to press the button at exactly the right time otherwise you’ll just go straight off the edge. Fun? Absolutely not.

This is expatiated by frame rate issues, making the whole experience feel clunky and rarely relaxing.

If all of that wasn’t bad enough the soundtrack is very bland and very repetitive. You’ll hear the same flourishes repeatedly making you reach for the mute button. For all its promises of a ‘zen’ like experience, few will feel it.

It’s not even as though there is a really satisfying story or tale being told either. Whereas this worked in Refunct’s favour seeing as it didn’t over-promise, here the lengthier experience just makes it all the more of a chore. What should have been a really grandiose experience has way too many flaws to make it enjoyable.

  • The Final Score - 3/10
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