Late last year I wrote a preview of Orlando-based Hapa Games’ Ascendant, a self-proclaimed ‘broguelike’. The intense brawling and harsh roguelike rules combined for a tough, but entertaining experience while playing an early build. After a successful Kickstarter campaign in November, the developers have put in a lot of work over the past few months. The fruits of their labor were recently showed off in an updated build at local indie events Indienomicon and Game Developer Night, and I had a chance to have another look at the game along with some of those changes.
One of the biggest changes to the game is the addition of multiplayer. Two players can team up to take down zealots and gods in local cooperative play. The players aren’t necessarily working together (i.e. no combo attacks) so much as they’re battling simultaneously, giving the game an old-school beat-em-up feel. After talking to the devs, there are still some decisions to be made about how to handle balancing the difficulty with two players and what to do when one of the players dies. I had mixed feelings about the multiplayer only being for local play, but the experience does tend to lend itself better to a couch session with a friend.
Another area of improvement is with the overall polish of the presentation. A shining example are the new boss fights. While bosses were included in the early demo, this latest build includes big baddies that require some interesting combat mechanics to take down. They are also introduced in video sequences akin to the Legend of Zelda series. I did end up fighting the same first boss over and over again during my many playthroughs (it IS a roguelike afterall), so I’m curious to see what other villains the developers have in store for us. An improved set of map views make traversing the world a bit easier to handle as well.
The game’s areas are all season-based. The Summer-based areas that I saw – but didn’t play – look very close to what the team envisioned in their concept art released during the Kickstarter campaign. Since I spent most of my play time in some aesthetically-beautiful Spring-themed areas, I can’t wait to see what the artists are going to do with the environments and enemies for the other seasons.
Ascendant was originally planned for a February release, but that time frame has obviously passed. The developers are still shooting for a Spring release, possibly as soon as April. There’s still room for small improvements as evidenced by the fact that the devs are still taking in player feedback from these indie events. The game continues to look more and more promising, and the devs hope that players will see that as they push for a successful Steam Greenlight campaign. Hapa Games plans to release a new trailer soon, so stay tuned to The Indie Mine for new details about Ascendant in the coming weeks.
UPDATE: New teaser trailer released!
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