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Release Date: March 11th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

TowerFall Ascension

Overview -

The Ouya killer app 'TowerFall' has proven its mettle in the minors and wants to go up against the big boys. The upgraded 'TowerFall Ascension' graces the PS4 and PC with its 4-player, twitchy, arena combat and offers a bevy of additions over the original version. Arrows and head stomps are on the menu in a feast of quick and untimely death. As is the case with many combat-focused multiplayer games, what might seem basic could also have depth. It's all about the friends you have and what the game does with those snappy mechanics that makes a game a party.

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Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
Release Date:
March 11th, 2014

Video Review


As an Ouya game, the retro-happy visuals of 'TowerFall' were endearing in the vacancy of better processing power. As a PC and PS4 title, it stands up against other console retro themed games as a meek interpretation of the glorious old days. It simply does nothing with nostalgia or 8-bit sensibilities that wasn't already done before the SNES bit the dust. Though I fall under the belief that pixel-nostalgia is completely played out, 'TowerFall' doesn't even try to make an argument that there's more to it. Still, the action is perfectly clear, a paramount necessity to the fast pace, and the characters can be described as cute without the sarcasm. That said, aside from the color and generally squishiness, the sprites reflect none of the personality in the representative art in the character-select screen.

Audio Review


Some jaunty medieval-sounding tunes spice up the combat nicely. There's nothing like putting an arrow through your buddy to the chimes of epic adventure. On the sound-effects side of things, the game isn't so spicy as it is pragmatic. Sounds signal arrows, death and dodges, often in a single swing. Other than that, the game is light on personality.

Final Thoughts

Before putting the ribbon on things, there's a question of value on the table. Without online multiplayer of any sort, every PS4 owner with but one controller will be spending quite a bit of money to enjoy the majority of 'TowerFall Ascension's' value. Two controllers nets you the best of the Quest mode, while four controllers (and three willing friends) nets you the best of the multiplayer offerings. With one controller, you're basically a crab at a seahorse party. Make of that what you will.

More importantly, the game itself is underwhelming. Yes, there is immediate satisfaction in the mechanics. And yes, the many small variants will encourage continued play among enthusiastic groups of friends. The interplay just isn't as engaging to me as fighting games with disparate characters and a broader sense of variability. That's a knock on this timidly emerging subgenre of twitch-focused arena combat games in general, and it's also a knock on the core design of 'TowerFall Ascension.' It's fun for a bit, and then boring forever.