Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer by Playdek, Inc is easily in my top 3 favorite iOS games. It’s not 100% perfect but it is darn near close. Great art, great game play, decent pricing, full asynchronous game play support make this a total winner.
The only knock I can think of at this point is that there is no in-game chat system. This has not stopped me from playing the game but I would definitely add it to my wish list for enhancements. Otherwise, certain subtle features like easy recovery of your purchases or being able set online game durations as low as 10 minutes or as long as 28 days really show an attention to detail that you don’t see in many other games.
Entertainment Value 5/5
The game is very entertaining whether you’re playing with up to 4 computer opponents or up to 4 human opponents over the internet. You start with 10 cards, made up of 8 Apprentices and 2 Militia. From there you make all the strategy choices by drawing cards, choosing how to spend your Runes (from the Apprentices) or Power (from the Militia). Each card has its own abilities and as a player you have to decide the type of strategy you’re going to use for each game. You don’t really battle your opponents directly. Instead you make choices to attempt to earn more Honor points than them. He who has the most Honor at the end of the game, wins. Honor is earned by certain activities during the game (defeating monsters, actions on certain cards) and by card values for cards you acquire through playing the game. The starting 10 have no honor value so you must build a powerful deck in order to win.
Ease of Use 4/5
This one is slightly difficult to rate – if you play board games or collectable card games the flow of this game is very easy to understand and within that the controls on the iPhone or iPad are very easy. Even on the small iPhone 4S screen, the game play is just fine. Playing on the iPad is even better from a visual perspective but very little is lost on the iPhone. This is not a game I could hand to one of my 7 year olds and say “go for it” – so it’s not that kind of easy.
The draw deck, playing cards in front of you, seeing your opponents turns all work very well and are easy to understand. You can adjust game speed settings as you get more advanced so you don’t have as long a wait time between each turn.
Likelihood of Replay 5/5
I’m playing often in my free time and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. I have even purchased the first of 3 expansions, “Return of the Fallen”, and I very rarely will pull the trigger on in-app purchases. Ascension has me hooked.
Graphics and Sound 5/5
The graphics for the app are very nicely done. The cards appear to be originally hand painted/illustrated and digitized for the mobile platform. Eric Sabee is credited for drawing “over 50” of the cards on the playdek website. They work well with the game as do the sounds. The background music and the sound effects of the game work well for my tastes. I’m not distracted by the music and the sound effects work well.
Even though there is a bit of a learning curve for the novice, this game is a lot of fun. If you’re already in to board games or trading card games, and you’re looking for a similar experience on the iPhone or iPad, this is it. Also, and this is just as important as all the fun game play, I don’t feel like the creators just made the iOS game to take my money. You get high value for your dollar and the purchase process is not thrown in your face every time you tap the screen. There are no ads popping up telling you to buy buy buy. Sure, they need to make a profit, but they are giving me value back without crossing a very subjective line.