Developer: Disruptor Beam
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Game of Thrones, both the TV series and the novels that serve as the source material, can be best described as dense. Game of Thrones: Ascent is similarly dense, but may be fun for people who welcome the density.

Game of Thrones Ascent_IMG_0052Ascent takes place around the beginning of the series – players control a new noble trying to find their place among the figures that rule Westeros and ascend to the Iron Throne. Players can customize a variety of factors, including their stats – prefer to fight with the sword, or with a forked tongue? Want to rise under the Lannister barrier, or as a Targaryen? Many options, including one’s lineage, are available.

This is ultimately a game of storytelling and intrigue: players make choices regarding a variety of story events and how they choose to tackle them, with each action having different effects on one’s various traits: New Ways vs. Old Ways, Family vs. Realm, Truthful vs. Cunning. However, some missions will require that a Sworn Sword be sent out to complete the mission in a certain way: these characters can be upgraded and equipped with items to improve their stats in order to excel in certain missions where it may be necessary.

Of course, these missions just wind up being ones where players make a choice and then wait for it to end – in the Game of Thrones Ascent, one pays or they die because they had to wait forever. There are so many wait timers it’s hard to keep track of everything that one has to wait for. People who like town builders that give them a good look at their empire will not find the very menu-driven look satisfying. In fact, the overwhelming bulk of the game is centered around menus and text, so patience and attention is required. Again, this is a dense game.

Game of Thrones Ascent_IMG_0046It’s this density that will be both extremely appealing and off-putting. People who want a complex experience that can be as unforgiving as the land of Westeros will love this game. There’s a lot of content – heck, there’s a reward for getting to level 500. There will be events that tie into season 4 of the HBO show. There are online elements where players can team up with others for challenges, or attack other players. And there’s just the whole quest for the Iron Throne for players to sink hours (and likely, dollars) into.

It’s rather interesting having some semblance of choice in how one plays, that I can act like a cunning, back-stabbing ruler and have that all be tracked instead of feeling like I’m being led on a track. Sure there’s a lot of waiting for actions to complete – a lot of it – but at least the occasional check-ins to tap on the menu items and select the dialogue trees while waiting for random events to finish are entertaining. If I’m turning the crank to make the gears go, at least make it fun to turn, right? That’s how I approach Ascent: it’s gear-turning, but it’s turning a lot of gears.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , ,