February 21, 2013 1 Comment
Ascent of the Kings comes from the developer of Quiet, Please!, the 2D platforming/point-and-click mash-up I played last April. The fingerprints of the developer are all over this one too. Same art style, same silliness, and same bite-sized game length. It took me just over thirty-minutes to beat Quiet, Please! For Ascent of Kings, which is a Metroidvania type of platformer, it took me about twenty minutes to become king and another twenty-five minutes to find all 12 hidden shrines. So, forty-five minutes total of gameplay. At this pace, Nostatic Software’s next game might stretch to a full hour. Not that it needs to. I’ve enjoyed games that lasted as little as ten minutes. It’s crazy how spending 600 days immersed in the indie gaming scene alters your perception on how long a game should be. I’m fairly certain I’m now in a state of mind where I could approve a game that lasts one minute, as long as it’s the best damn one minute I’ve had since I lost my virginity.
So the idea is, the king has died, and in order to determine the new king, all possible suitors (which seems to consist of four brothers that live in a small cottage, still better than what England faces sometime in the next twenty years) have to hop around on platforms and reach a small shrine that bestows upon that person the power to rule. The father of these kids, apparently a bit of a dick, only gives each of the older brothers one special tool that can help them reach the summit and become king. But their hearts don’t seem quite into it. They pull such bullshit excuses as “ouch, sprained my wrist” or “twisted my ankle” like they’re trying to get out of jury duty. The youngest brother, aka you, collects their tools, allowing him to double jump, climb vines, and fire slingshots. You know, the kind of tools found in a real world monarchy litmus test. Psssssh, diplomacy? Economics? Fuck that shit. That’s for democracies.
As a game, what can I say? It’s alright. The movement physics are a bit loose and the double-jump sometimes didn’t seem to work. Level design is very basic, no frills, no surprises. There’s one section that features a timed jumping puzzle, and I hate that if I get to the top and screw up, I have to wait any amount of time before hitting the button to start over. But, the game is so brief that you can’t really get bored with it, and it ends long before any amount of frustration over the various control foibles can settle in. I guess what I’m trying to say is I had a decent enough time playing Ascent of Kings to say it’s worth a buck. It’s not the most enthusiastic recommendation, but hey, it’s not the most ambitious game! One hand washes the other!
80 Microsoft Points were joking about the one minute thing. Brian has way more stamina than that in the making of this review.