Developer: D-Pad Studio
Release Date: July 30th, 2013 (Mobile), December 4th, 2013 (PC)
Available on: Mobile, PC
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the PC. There may be differences between versions.
I’ve never heard of Savant. Apparently he makes dubstep and trip hop and glitch punk and all these other frighting names for music. Savant – Ascent is a video game based on this guy. You don’t need any knowledge of his music to play this game, and this is a good thing since Savant – Ascent is a pretty decent (if almost criminally short) twin stick shooter.
The game puts you in the role of Savant who is looking into his crystal ball. Then it blows up and throws him out of his tower because… reasons. I honestly don’t have a clue, this isn’t really a story heavy (or really story at all) game. All you really need to know is that Savant got thrown out of his tower and now needs to get back to the top. That’s it, time for gameplay.
Savant – Ascent is a twin stick shooter, so all your shooting is done simply by pointing the right stick. Unlike most games where you have free movement, in this one you only have two spots to move between. Enemies will attack on either the right or left side and you need to be on the opposite side to dodge them. You can either dash or jump to the other side, both of which will be needed to avoid enemies. You can shoot at enemies with the right stick and as you kill them you’ll begin to fill a bar at the bottom of the screen. Each rank it goes up makes your attacks a little stronger, and you can spend the bar on one super powered attack. Carefully managing this bar is a pretty important thing in the game as the super attack will destroy most normal enemies in one hit, and cause the bigger ones to redirect their attacks.
Sometimes when you kill enemies they drop broken CD pieces. By hitting a button you can use a chain to grab these pieces and pull them to you. The majority are blue CDs that just give you a bunch of points, but you have a chance of finding golden CDs too. Find four of those and Savant gains a new ability. Dieing isn’t a bad thing in this game since that’s when you get the time to unlock said new abilities, and it doesn’t have a huge negative effect on your progress, besides a loss of points. You really have to love for this game too, since Savant – Ascent clocks in at around 30 minutes long. There’s only three stages with little difference between them and each takes around 10 minutes, give or take. It will depend some on how good you are at surviving.
After you finish the main game you do unlock a few things. There’s a couple of new game modes. One of which just goes on endlessly tasking you to score as many points as possible. The other is a time trial and has you attempting to beat the story as fast as possible. Both game modes offer new abilities for Savant to learn, so there is some value in playing them. There’s also a new playable character named Vario. While playing as Vario still has the same basic gameplay as Savant, his abilities are a little different. For example his basic attack does more damage but has a shorter range. In the end it’s not a huge enough difference as to how you play.
I guess since he makes music I should mention it here as well. If you’re into the style, Savant’s tunes aren’t bad. Each time you get a new ability you also get a new song to go with it. While I was playing I didn’t find a way to let me freely switch songs, which is a bit of a shame since I liked some of the beginning songs far more than the ending ones. Overall I found it a pretty enjoyable set of music though.
Savant – Ascent is exciting while it lasts. But after it’s 30 minutes are up there’s not much left to do and there’s little reason to replay the game. People who get into it may really find something special here, but everyone else should be aware that this is only going to be a one day thing. But at least it’s a good one.