Game Reviews

Dungeon Ascendance

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Dungeon Ascendance

Dungeon Ascendance is a lesson in learning to walk before you can run.

Each of the game’s levels is a self-contained challenge: the object is to destroy the dungeon master and unlock the exit, but you can only achieve this by carefully picking off the lesser monsters one by one until your character is strong enough to face the ultimate guardian.

As you successfully slay the inhabitants of the dungeon, your character gains experience points and is able to level-up periodically. Doing so improves your strength, vitality, and other statistics, making the turn-based combat that little bit easier. You’ll also find food and special items to aid your quest.

If you’ve encountered a game by the name of Desktop Dungeons, then all of this will no doubt sound quite familiar. Dungeon Ascendance is a pretty thorough clone of the aforementioned browser-based title, and boasts the same basic gameplay.

Desktop dominance

This is no bad thing, as Desktop Dungeons has proven itself to be an incredibly addictive piece of entertainment. Described by many as a ‘rogue-lite’, it takes the basic elements of a roguelike title (randomly generated dungeons, turn-based gameplay, permanent death) but drastically condenses the experience.

Just like the game that inspired it, Dungeon Ascendance features similar traits, and its levels can be played in just a few minutes, making it the perfect pocket-sized RPG for players who don’t want sessions to drag on for hours.

There are several dungeons and character classes to gain access to, both of which will only come via player perseverance. You’ll also find achievements to unlock, and this will no doubt keep many adventurers committed to the bitter end.

Needs a lick of paint

Dungeon Ascendance has plenty to offer, but its presentation is a massive barrier to entry. The game looks like something you were playing on Windows 95 over a decade ago, and it's complete devoid of sound.

It’s tempting to think that the developer has intentionally adopted this style to closer ape the basic aesthetics of Desktop Dungeons, but even if that's true we imagine that many potential players will be put off by the crude standard of the graphics.

Another reason to advise caution is that an Android version of Desktop Dungeons is apparently on the horizon, and if you’re only willing to accept the truly authentic experience it might be worth holding on for a little longer until that comes out.

If you're open-minded enough you'll find that Dungeon Ascendance is a worthy substitute.

Dungeon Ascendance

Dungeon Ascendance brings the RPG magic of Desktop Dungeons to Android and is worthy of your attention - assuming the low standard of presentation isn’t too off-putting for you
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.