Ascent of Kings (Wii U) Review

By Renan Fontes 09.07.2016

Review for Ascent of Kings on Wii U

A platformer is made up of two basic key elements: running and jumping. A good platformer utilises those key elements, but ties in tight and thoughtful design behind each aspect - design that looks back on its predecessors for inspiration and contributes to the idea, instead of just taking the idea. Not every platformer is going to manage all of its elements with the finesse of, say, Super Mario Bros. or early Crash Bandicoot, but it's rare to find one that can't manage any of its elements. Ascent of Kings on Wii U welcomes you to that rarity.

Right out of the gate, it's clear Ascent of Kings is trying to invoke a classical sense of adventure with its minimalistic approach to art and writing. The characters and scenery are as simple as they could possibly be without being literal lines of codes, looking like something straight out of MS Paint, while the story is a bare bones beat-by-beat quest that somehow manages to miss its clear Aesop parallel.

Screenshot for Ascent of Kings on Wii U

With so little time and thought put into its secondary aspects, it's beyond disappointing that the gameplay doesn't pick up the slack in any way whatsoever, instead opting for the bare minimum under the guise that a US$2 price tag doesn't necessitate the same kind of quality a $60 one does. It brings up the question of whether or not a price tag should indicate some sort of standard; should a $2 title be expected to be bad? Honestly, no, it shouldn't.

A price tag, at most, should excuse length, but never quality. Does Ascent of King's price tag excuse its length, then? No, it doesn't do that, either. Being crowned king takes less than an hour, and exploring the whole map adds about another 20 minutes, tops.

Screenshot for Ascent of Kings on Wii U

There's no longevity to the platforming; there's no jump, or screen, or moment that sticks out as memorable, despite the developer desperately trying to create memorable moments that hark back to the great Metroidvanias of yore. A fall into a lava canyon has as much impact as the initial dive into a pond during the tutorial. Nothing leaves the lasting impression that's expected out of a quality videogame experience.

There are attempts at creating some sort of challenge with precision jumping, but as dying has no consequence, it feels more like a nuisance than anything just missing a ledge and plummeting to the screen below. The jumping is made worse by a double jump being found roughly ten minutes in, with all potential need for skill being thrown out of the window.

Screenshot for Ascent of Kings on Wii U

A low price tag doesn't excuse the low amount of effort put into Ascent of Kings. Everything works on a technical level, but it's just so unimaginative that it can't justify a second play-through, let alone a first. It's a meandering mess of ideas taken from far better platformers, blended together in an hour-long hurricane that destroys any and all quality in its path. There's simply no appeal to the MS Paint drawn world that's been created; it's a boring and thoughtless mini-disaster that should just be ignored and forgotten.

Screenshot for Ascent of Kings on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

A low price tag doesn't excuse the low amount of effort put into Ascent of Kings. Everything works on a technical level, but it's just so unimaginative that it can't justify a second play-through, let alone a first. It's a meandering mess of ideas taken from far better platformers, blended together in an hour-long hurricane that destroys any and all quality in its path. There's simply no appeal to the MS Paint drawn world that's been created; it's a boring and thoughtless mini-disaster that should just be ignored and forgotten.

Developer

Nostatic Software

Publisher

Nostatic Software

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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