The PlayStation 4 has become a gateway into the console market for indies all around the world. These small development studios create games with budgets that could be considered laughable by any of the big AAA studios in the game industry. Despite the smaller budget, some of these companies have gone on to achieve the highest level of overall critical acclaim amongst what is currently out on PS4. This is stacked up against great games like InFAMOUS: Second Son, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. So how do these small indie studios do it? One word—Originality.
Yes, I must admit, when I got to do the review for TowerFall Ascension I was both excited and apprehensive. I have reviewed indie games in the past and have walked away impressed by the concept, but not the complete picture. So how does TowerFall fare? Does small indie studio Matt Makes Games have what it takes to steal our attention?
The concept of TowerFall Ascension is very simple—three arrows, and lots of competitive fun with friends. There are three different modes of play in the game: Versus (2-4 players), Quest (1-2 players), and Trials(1 player). Each of these modes is centered around competition, and gives plenty of variety to all the different types of gamers out there.
If you are the type of gamer who prefers to duke it out directly and rule the ring with an iron fist, then Versus is for you. In Versus you are pitted against up to three friends in a battle to see who is the last one standing. At the start of the match you are given three arrows, and chests are spawned randomly around the map that can contain different types of arrows, protective shield, and wings. The combat in Versus is fast paced and if you want to be the king of the ring it requires some serious mastery of the arena layout to take the crown.
Quest is interesting because it caters to two different types of audiences, on one hand it is a co-op mode that stacks you against waves of enemies teamed up with a friend, but on the other hand it is a highly competitive battle to claim the highest score. You can get an incredible amount of satisfaction and gameplay out of Quest. The wide variety of enemy types, sheer numbers, and small supply of 5 extra life gems add a fair amount of difficulty, and having that team mate (while not being essential) is incredibly useful against the coming hordes.