Over the years, I’ve bemoaned the disappearance of local multiplayer in video games. Most of this was due to the fact that my household only had one Xbox 360, but two heavy gamers. This resulted in either one person sitting to the side for a indeterminate period of time, or both people playing from a limited library of entertaining local multiplayer titles. Last year, at IndieCade, I had an opportunity to see TowerFall Ascension, and I enjoyed it and its local multiplayer immensely. This all sounds great, right? I’ve bemoaned the lack of local multiplayer for years, and now I’ve played a great game featuring local multiplayer; what complaint could I have?
First and foremost is the absence of online multiplayer. I no longer have a household of two, and given my geographical distance from most of my video game playing friends, I have no opportunity to engage in the highly entertaining versus gameplay that TowerFall Ascension offers. Including local multiplayer is phenomenal. Restricting the game to only local gameplay is unfortunate. I understand the added difficulty of providing online multiplayer, so I am not surprised that a game developed by a single person would eschew it in favor of focusing on the game itself. The other thing to consider with a local multiplayer restriction on a PC game, however, is the need to invest in four PC compatible gamepads for a single game (or small subset of games) or to have friends who already have their own.
That aside, TowerFall Ascension does offer a single-player mode that pits you against various AI controlled baddies, taking you through a large map with multiple stages. There is also a Trials mode to help you hone your skills and rack up points. You can see how the game plays in this b-roll footage video:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIrgXkM4fqI]
The controls are responsive, and the movement has all of the elements of a great platformer. There’s not really a story to the game, but its absence doesn’t hurt TowerFall’s playability. The visual and audio style is very reminiscent of classic PC/arcade titles, and definitely provides a strong nostalgic feel for the older players.
If you have 1-3 local friends who love arcade games and want to spend a lot of time at your place, this is a must-have. If you love soloing arcade games with progressive difficulty, this is a must-have. Keep in mind, though, that you will only ever be able to play with other people if you are sitting right next to them.
TowerFall Ascension is available on PC via Steam and on the PlayStation 4 for $14.99.
- Classic visual and audio design
- Great solo and local gameplay
- Simple, yet entertaining
- No online multiplayer, so local friends are a must for versus play