Fun. Hilarious. Fast. Frustrating. Addictive. These adjectives describe the basics of Towerfall Ascension. The game boasts a simple yet marvelous system that anyone can learn and start to master within minutes, making it a wondrous co-op experience. This game will either strengthen the bond between friends or create strong rivalries that could potentially destroy a friendship. I say this because just like games like Super Smash Bros, the game is at its best when players of two or more in mortal combat.
In Towerfall, you start with a limited supply of arrows to eliminate your foes with. Shoot them out freely, and you risk not having any arrows. Anyone including an enemy player can pick up a fallen arrow, so one could stockpile all of the arrows, leaving opponents with none. However, a player without arrows isn’t defenseless. You can also kill someone by Mario-stomping them on the head. And to add more of a risk-reward factor to the game, even shooting an arrow can have the reverse effect of what you wanted. With a well timed dodge, players can grab an arrow shot by someone else and use it for themselves. It is not an overpowered system however, because the game is so fast that you won’t have the chance to dodge every arrow shot at you.
Rounds of Towerfall are usually short, since everyone is dying at an alarming rate. A player emerges victorious from a match of Towerfall by getting the most kills during those short rounds. You’ll spend most of your time in arena mode fighting against friends locally, so stock up on controllers. Towerfall allows various customization options. It allows you to take out or add in power-ups and stipulations to change up the gameplay in subtle ways. Maps are varied aesthetically and technically. A map can actually be considered a 5th player. This ghost player can change out the whole layout the arena out of nowhere to create a frenzy of panic and forces players to never take their eyes off of the prize. Another way that a map influences a match are the sides and ceilings of the map. If you walk or jump through an empty space on a side or bottom on the screen, you’ll appear on the other side (Like Pac-man). Not only does that increase movement ability, it opens up the possibility of shooting an arrow through an empty side of the screen for it to transfer to the other side, potentially killing someone on that side.
Every match is like a mini warzone. Dodging arrows, adapting to your environment, cursing at the guy next to you… All of these elements come together to form one of the best original multiplayer games to have ever been released.
The game also offers single player and co-op modes, but they won’t draw your attention and time like player vs player does. Quest mode is like Smash Bros Brawl, as you will fight artificial intelligent enemies solo or with a partner. It isn’t bad in any way, as it is a nice way to introduce players to the system, but nothing beats people screaming at each other in versus mode.
The only downside to Towerfall is that it only has local multiplayer. It is great seeing games support couch co-op but online multiplayer has to be a standard. The game would have greatly benefited from online shenanigans, even if bad connections caused lag here and there. Regardless, Towerfall Ascension is a must have for players who love couch co-op or competitive multiplayer titles. It will cause rage, joy, prestige and anguish; and you’ll love every second of it.
Overall: 9.5 out of 10
Try Towerfall if you liked:
Super Smash Bros Brawl
Towerfall was originally an OUYA exclusive, but later came to Playstation 4 and PC. It is a welcome addition to my ever-growing digital library on my PS4.