Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Towerfall Ascension

Review: TowerFall: Ascension

8:00 AM on 03.07.2014 // Patrick Hancock

Grab some friends, or don't!

TowerFall originally came out on the OUYA. I’ve played it on that console, and it was certainly a blast, so long as you weren’t the one stuck with the OUYA controller. TowerFall: Ascension brings the good time to a much wider audience, and it’s about damn time.

Matt Thorson, creator of games such as Jumper, An Untitled Story, Give Up, Robot, and co-creator of RunMan: Race Around the World is at the helm once again, so it’s no surprise that TowerFall has been highly sought after by us non-OUYA owners. Ascension has new modes, new maps, and new characters, and makes as strong a point as ever for Mr. Thorson to rename his company from “MattMakesGames” to “MattMakesPhenomenalGames.”

TowerFall: Ascension (PC [reviewed], PS4)
Developer: Matt Thorson
Publisher: MattMakesGames 
Release Date: March 11, 2014
MSRP: $14.99

The main event in TowerFall: Ascension is its local multiplayer versus mode. It is local only, so grab some buddies and snuggle up on the couch, close enough that you could elbow them if you need to. While the lack of online multiplayer is sure to disappoint some players, I would personally prefer to have no online multiplayer at all instead of one that may not even work.

It also helps that local play, and the gameplay by extension, is perfect. It feels like the classic days of the N64, playing GoldenEye or Perfect Dark in someone’s basement, except “screen-looking” isn’t an issue because everyone is on the same screen. This is a game that has the power to turn friends into enemies.

Gameplay matches the “easy to understand, difficult to master” mentality perfectly. Each player begins with three arrows, and arrows can also be picked up from walls and floors, or by physically coming in contact with another player. Players can jump, aim/shoot, and dodge. Dodging will prevent all damage and even intercept arrows, but can be thwarted by another player landing on top of the dodging player. 

Dodging, however, has an invisible cooldown to it, so knowing when to dodge is key. Arrows also have a small “homing” property to them, slightly altering their path as they near an opponent. Combined with the general physics of the game, the skill ceiling for TowerFall: Ascension is deceptively high. Powerups also make an appearance with different arrow types like bomb and laser arrows, plus player powerups like wings and shields. It is also possible to customize a match with a handful of variants like removing or increasing the frequency of certain powerups, altering the rules, and even playing with Big Head Mode on.

I know what you’re thinking: Is it worth it if I won’t be playing multiplayer? If you are the type of person who enjoys challenging themselves, then the answer is abso-freaking-lutely. I am the type of person who spent a whole lot of time trying to maximize efficiency in Super Smash Bros. “Smash the Targets” mode, and TowerFall’s “Trials” are essentially the same idea. If you don’t care much for perfecting the timing of a jump-and-shoot arrow, then TowerFall: Ascension will certainly lose some of its luster. Leaderboards could have helped in this regard, which would still allow friends to compete against each other’s times.

Each level in the Trials mode tasks the player with destroying a certain amount of straw dolls as fast as possible. There are par times built in, and every course has something to teach the player. At a glance, these trials will seem impossible with the given completion times, but oh, what’s this? A treasure chest with bomb arrow? Now this makes sense! At this point, it becomes an issue of figuring out the quickest way to use the items and terrain appropriately and showing that par time who is boss! Trial stages have three levels to them, with increased difficulty in each.

In addition to the Trials mode, there is a new Quest mode for Ascension. These levels are wave-based skirmishes against AI enemies. These enemies mostly consist of monsters, with their own behavior patterns that players must recognize and memorize in order to win. There are also AI archers, which really test the skills of the player. There’s also a hardcore version of each level, which ramps up the difficulty significantly. Quest mode is perfect for practicing skills in a semi-real environment since it more closely resembles the Versus mode gameplay. Did I mention that Quest mode can be played cooperatively? Because it can! So if you and a friend are tired of murdering each other, you can join forces and take on the hordes of evil that await in Quest mode.

In terms of aesthetic, the beauty is in the details. The animations are incredibly fluid and truly do steal the show. Each character manages to ooze personality without really having any story to base it off of. Chances are, everyone is going to have a favorite character which will probably be the Blue Archer because she is the best. Her hood falls off after a close call with an arrow! It’s these small ideas that really leave an impression. Each level has its own distinct feeling as well, and the design itself is impeccable. Each different level is more than just a tileset swap, as level hazards will force players to completely change their decision making.

The music, courtesy of Alec Holowka, and sound effects are equally stunning. Level themes are bound to get stuck in your head at one point or another, which is a good thing considering the amount of time that players may spend on certain Trials or Quests. Sound effects after killing enemies are oh so satisfying, and the sound that plays when the player character dies is oh so disappointing.

Do I wish TowerFall: Ascension had a perfectly working online multiplayer? Yes, absolutely. But I’m also happy that it doesn’t have a barely functional online multiplayer. I have a lot of faith in Matt Thorson, largely due to his incredible track record of videogames, and I trust his decision here. If you enjoy beating your own times and perfecting that one jump where you have to angle and shoot twice before you hit the ground, the singleplayer is well worth the price of entry.

TowerFall: Ascension has something for just about everybody. If you’re at all intrinsically motivated, you will find something to love in the deep well of content available here. I've (intentionally) not even mentioned the fact that there are hidden secrets scattered throughout the game for the treasure-seekers out there until now, as if the fact that there are secrets was a secret of its own until just now! If you do have some local friends who can come over and hold a controller, buy this game immediately and invite them over, because TowerFall: Ascension is easily one of the best things you can do on a couch.



Towerfall Ascension - Reviewed by Patrick Hancock
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Patrick Hancock, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure therealhancock Tips
Watching and playing competitive games like Dota and StarCraft take up most of his time. His three favorite non-video game things in the world are space, dinosaurs, and puppets. So if there we... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Towerfall Ascension

  Mar 11

All those servers still down? Play Towerfall instead

Ugh another Titanfall post Derpstructfail?

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

It's beginning to look a lot like censorship.

Solar Pony Django's Review on: Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Hey, my new blog is up! A few days ago! Go read it! Before......before its too late. Please. *walls start crumbling, reality starts oozing out, things begin to eeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Alright so I'm looking for a few games for my newly repurchased DS. I'm already set on RPG as it's all I have pretty much. Were there any good puzzle games? I've heard good things about Professor Layton.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I made chocolate and banana cake because why not.
able to think avatarable to think
After hearing Persona 4 Dancing All Night come out of my surround sound system; I can safely say my $20 Playstation TV purchase was totally justified. The bass on Best Friends (Banvox Remox) literally shook the floor. It's freaking awesome!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
I wish I could say I made this 'shop. [img][/img]
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow. Triple brown, triple brown, triple brown meow.
Alfie avatarAlfie
Was on the front page and was greeted by a new post, which I clicked to find "You cannot see the future". Then refreshed and it was gone. I saw Chris's post on Eight Days' cancellation as it was brought, new and unready, into the world! Rare and wonderful
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Have you ever purchased a game only to regret it later and then sell it/give it away, only to even later regret selling it and wind up purchasing it again?
gajknight avatargajknight
A decadent staircase adorned in gold rises into infinite darkness. Writhing beings beyond comprehension lurk in the shadows, their mere presence encroaching on the edges of human understanding. A blood moon glows . I am losing my mind. I need more eyes...
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
We need to be implanted with microchips because I'd really like to know how much time I've spent playing different video games my entire life.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If there are rainbows in Xenoblade Chronicles X, Reyn must be in it as well. You can't have a rainbow without Reyn, baby!
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I really hope Xenoblade become it's own franchise, it has way too much potential to simply being reduced to 2 games.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Touchable Holograms? When this eventually matures and hits market, almost all our regulars will vanish for weeks.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii for €10? Sure, Nintendo, don't mind if I do!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Super Smash Bros. 4 has too much content. So much so I almost don't want a sequel. I honestly hope that NX gets a "Super Smash Bros. For NX" port rather than a new installment. It could be a GOTY edition and come with all of the DLC.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Flegma avatarFlegma
Bought my first full-priced physical 3DS game ever - New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward. I'll try to write a post on the previous game at some point before doing the same with NSB2.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
How do you guys manage to buy all these games at day 1 with such huge backlogs?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys if I were to do a thing, how many of you would watch my thing because I was thinking of doing a thing but I dunno if people really like that kinda thing so I just wanted to know if you liked that thing because I'm thinking of doing a thing, you know?
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Bayonetta 2 is 40% off in the EU Nintendo eShop today. If you have a WiiU and don't have this game you are a horrible person and I want nothing to do with you. You can amend your errors by buying it. Xenoblade Wii is also 50% off as well.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -