Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer Review

By , on July 11, 2011


Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
  • Publisher: Playdek, Inc.
  • Genre: Board
  • Released: 30 Jun, 2011
  • Size: 640.6 MB
  • Price: FREE!
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5

PROS

  • Challenging CCG deck-building gameplay.
  • Officially licensed version of the game.
  • Online play with asynchronous turns; notifications for when it’s your turn.
  • Relatively competent AI opponents; good to learn with before challenging other players.

CONS

  • Cursory tutorial; no campaign to teach finer-points of the gameplay.
  • Seemingly no time-out for turns; games can potentially remain in limbo.

VERDICT

While not officially the first of its kind, Ascension brings an officially licensed deck-building CCG to the App Store and sets a strong baseline for further games in the genre.


  • Full Review
  • App Store Info

On the one hand, the recent influx (if you can call it that) of Collectable Card Games (CCGs) and their related game-types is a boon to fans of card based gaming and those after something to play and pass around with friends. On the other hand (and this is more of a personal note) playing these sorts of games can become a bit of an obsession. Who better than tournament champions from Magic The Gathering to understand my woe and to help design Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer by Playdeck and Incinerator Games.

Ascension is a ‘deck builder’, a variant of the genre that requires players to literally build their deck in the middle of a match (hence the name) in an effort to out-play their opponent. For those keeping track, we’ve seen this previously in The Battle of Gundabad. Though, where Gundabad was a weaker version of the genre paragon that is ‘Dominion’, this game is licensed directly to the official version of Ascension from 2010.

Games can take played online with asynchronous play or offline against human and AI opponents. Each turn allows a player to play cards in their hand, earning resources that can be spent on purchasing or ‘defeating’ other cards in the hopes of strengthening their deck. Play continues until a limited pool of ‘honor’ is depleted at which point the total honor earned and the honor value of each players deck is tallied up to determine the winner.

Touches from Magic the Gathering are evident in the design of Ascension, notably the interesting combination of bonus ‘effects’ on each card that encourage players to build towards certain playstyles such as ‘passive’, ‘aggressive’ or even ‘controlling’ to prevent other players from getting what they want.

Sadly this is merely the game ‘as is’ and it would have been great to see more in the way of a proper campaign to not only teach players how to play but to refine their skills for competitive play. An in-game tutorial and rule guide help a lot, especially if you’re familiar with CCGs in general, but there’s a lot of trial and error to be had in working out what combinations work best for you.

If you enjoy CCGs or you already own Ascension, this is an easy title to recommend, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more meat it’s worth waiting to see where the developer takes this App in the future.

Screenshots

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