Developer Aurora44 Publisher Annapurna Interactive Format PC, Xbox One Release 2018
Bingo cards at the ready: this open world RPG has shades of Dark Souls,
Journey and Zelda. Combat in the dusky forest feels deliberate – and familiar – but it’s the passive multiplayer element that introduces intrigue. We can’t talk to our partner (as in Journey, there’ll be no voice chat, with gestures the only form of communication) but when we spot a door with two handholds, we wordlessly agree on what to do. Teamwork is key once the dungeon opens – our friend lights the darkness with a lantern while we battle a gargantuan spider. Our demo comes to an abrupt end when we blindly follow our anonymous pal off a ledge to our death. Witho no verbal warnings to heed,
Ashen will be punishing. But away from the brainteasers and bosses, battling in silence with a partner is a puzzle all its own – and one with a unique allure.