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Review: Astral Ascent – Movies Games and Tech

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Astral Ascent is a challenging but rewarding title that’ll kick your ass repeatedly. However, once you get to grips with the fundamentals, you eat through the levels like a crazed beast. Consequently, to get the best out of this, you’ll require a healthy chunk of patience.

This rogue-like title was developed and published by Hibernian Workshop. Moreover, there is a smattering of platforming elements and plenty of adventuring moments. Accordingly, you’ll be kept busy as you tackle every monster parkour segment.

Use the power to enter "The Garden".Use the power to enter "The Garden".
Time to enter “The Garden”.

Astral Ascent tells a great story.

The Master is a domineering and selfish asshat of a being. Moreover, he stops at nothing to get whatever he wants. As such, if you are unfortunate enough to be part of his plans, you know that death and destruction are all but guaranteed. However, this all-powerful brute underestimates a small group of heroes. Subsequently, if they succeed, his world will come crumbling down.

You control one of 4 characters that wishes to escape their astral prison. Guarded by 12 Zodiac bosses, you have your work cut out for you as you try to escape “The Garden”. Yet, with practice and patience, you’ll learn new skills and become faster, wiser, and stronger. As such, you’ll unlock new abilities and spells to tackle each gargantuan boss.

Familiar mechanics.

The central hub and drip-fed lore were reminiscent of Hades. In contrast, the slick combat reminded me of Dead Cells. Now, this is high praise and something that will make the developers grin. Yet, though there were moments of Déjà vu, Astral Ascent stands tall on its own merits.

This incredibly challenging experience has multiple endings and an array of content that helps to keep things fresh. Whether you are learning new skills, unlocking new aura abilities, or improving your character, it helps you to get one step closer to victory.

On top of this, there are more than 12 unique bosses that must be overcome. These devilishly tough opponents will outsmart you at every turn. As such, you must study their moves and attack their weaknesses. Yet, this isn’t easy as death is just around the corner and surviving long enough is not guaranteed.

Can you defeat every Zodiac and get to the Master?Can you defeat every Zodiac and get to the Master?
Will Taurus let you through?

Unique landscapes.

Exploring “The Garden” isn’t easy. Each realm is broken down into challenging rooms. To access each one, you must choose a portal. This decision will determine your prize and the difficulty of the next arena. Consequently, you must pick wisely if you wish to succeed.

If you die, and you will, you are teleported back to the central hub where you must spend your in-game currency on different upgrades. Additionally, you’ll need to address each NPC to earn rewards and unlock memories. Accordingly, each playthrough unlocks new elements and this keeps you on your toes.

Astral Ascent is wonderfully pixelated.

I adored the interesting stage design and the garish colours. Moreover, the excellent pixelated art style works perfectly with the genre and the theme. The developers have done a great job with the oppressive and occasionally sinister moments. Moreover, each realm has its own style that will catch your eye.

The orchestral soundtrack was great to listen to. The dramatic music complements the fast-paced combat. Additionally, the wonderful sound effects are uncomfortable and loud. Subsequently, this can’t be considered a relaxing experience.

The level designs are fascinating.The level designs are fascinating.
A fantastic backdrop.

Tight controls.

Astral Ascent is brilliant to play. If you use a controller as recommended, you’ll enjoy tight and responsive inputs. However, I struggled with the confusing keyboard layout. Yet, if you stick with any controller, you’ll love the intuitive UI and intelligent button layout.

This is an indie title that oozes replay value and longevity. Each playthrough is unique and lasts from 10 minutes to an hour. Additionally, it’ll take around 10 hours to complete a run. As such, you could invest hundreds of hours if you wish to experience every ending. What’s more, this can be enjoyed locally with another gamer. Therefore, you can tackle the madness with another like-minded gamer.

Astral Ascent is a brilliant indie game.

Whenever you are compared to your mind-blowing peers, you know you’ve done something special. Subsequently, this is exactly what is happening with this gem of an indie title. Astral Ascent delivers captivating gameplay with interesting lore and oodles of replay value. Moreover, aesthetically, it is undeniably pleasing. As such, I adore this game and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you escape “The Garden” and defeat the master? Choose your character, master their skills, and try and survive.


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