TOW­ERFALL AS­CEN­SION 7 cert, Mini­boss, PS4 (also PC, Ouya)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FUN&GAMES - JOE GRIF­FIN

A self-de­scribed “archery com­bat plat­former”, Tow­erFall As­cen­sion is both a lov­ing trib­ute to 1980s plat­form games and a de­light­ful new ad­di­tion to the genre. God knows how many 10p coins this would have claimed if it were an ar­cade game 30 years ago.

Against a back­drop of static screens and blocky 8-bit graph­ics, the game re­quires you to bounce, run, jump and fire ar­rows in a bid to sur­vive. You can aim your ar­rows, fire blind or hop on en­e­mies’ heads Mario-style. Ev­ery level has nu­mer­ous mini-stages, and each brings a new wave of en­e­mies to dis­patch. Ar­rows are ra­tioned, so be care­ful how many you use. You can, how­ever, re­trieve them from walls and from the re­mains of your fallen foes.

It’s re­lent­lessly paced and tough, but also fair, in­tu­itive and de­cep­tively tac­ti­cal. Some en­e­mies ex­plode when killed (both a ben­e­fit and a nui­sance) and your ar­rows that pass by fires will catch flame. Be­cause it is on a fixed screen, you can run or fall through one side and emerge from the other, a la Pac-Man.

The gory de­tails in the deaths are stub­bornly charm­ing be­cause of the retro graph­ics, such as blood splashes, a float­ing eye­ball los­ing its wings and plop­ping to the ground, or a vil­lain dis­ap­pear­ing, leav­ing his empty robe to flop to the floor. Ev­ery en­emy quashed is a sat­is­fy­ing vic­tory.

Tow­erFall As­cen­sion is also a ter­rific mul­ti­player ti­tle. You can play ei­ther col­lab­o­ra­tively or com­pet­i­tively. The lat­ter is prob­a­bly more fun, not least be­cause you can pick up your op­po­nents’ missed ar­rows and fire them back.

Chal­leng­ing, zippy, funny and mer­ci­lessly ad­dic­tive. tow­

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