Shooters in the video game space, twin-stick shooters to be exact, have come a long way since they first blasted onto the videogame stage. From the side-scrollers of the early days to the top-down shooters of more recent history, twin-stick shooters have cemented their place in the gaming landscape. If you combine this storied genre with a bit of strategic platforming you have what developer/publisher D-Pad Studios calls a shooter with a twist. Savant – Ascent Re-Mix combines fast-paced shooting action with a jump and dash ability that takes gameplay to the next level. With this in mind you’re being invited to strap yourself in and get ready to fight your way from the bottom of your alchemist tower straight up to the top.
Savant – Ascent isn’t a totally new game so you may have heard of it before. It was D-Pad Studios first offering as a game developer way back in 2013, when it released for PC and mobile platforms. How is this newly re-mixed version different from the original, you may be asking? Well, this new outing more than doubles the size of the original game. Boasting five stages over the original title’s paltry 2. In addition to this, each features its own unique gameplay gimmick, across which you’ll have to battle Laser Sharks, robotic space invaders and even an immortal Samurai.
Also included in Savant – Ascent Re-Mix as a way to spice up gameplay a bit are new double-jump and cancel-jump features as well as mid-air powershots. Some new game modes were also added like an endless Survival Mode, several new difficulty modes, and an NES-style, no checkpoints Hardcore Mode. If great music is a must for your gameplay sessions, 36 newly composed songs from acclaimed Norwegian musician Savant have been added, all of which totally slap!
In Savant – Ascent Re-Mix, you play as the Alchemist, who’s been cast down from his tower by the chaotic force of the Philosopher’s Stone. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to ascend back to the top, with your movement limited at all times to just two platforms, be they moving elevators, floating platforms or space debris. By using rapid volleys of magic missiles to take out attacking enemies and precise dashes and jumps to move between the two platforms, you must try to survive the deadly journey back to the summit. You’ll have a Power Meter that you can fill in order to administer charged attacks on your foes. Along the way, you can grab power-ups for a boost to your already formidable abilities, and as a bonus, there are additional music tracks that you can unlock to add to your already impressive musical library.
Gameplay in Savant – Ascent Re-Mix is fast and frenetic and it’s the perfect game to play if you just want to sit down and quickly get into the action. Dodging and jumping is controlled via the left joystick while shooting is controlled via the right. To pull off a jump, whether it be a double or triple jump, you simply push the left stick up while a dodge is pulled off by pushing that same stick to the left or right. To shoot at your enemies, you simply push and hold the right stick in the direction of your enemy. You can send a charged shot out by ceasing to fire and then start firing again. Everything feels really intuitive and that’s great.
Your arsenal would not be complete if you were unable to have a super-charged shot, so in true shooter fashion,Savant – Ascent Re-Mix allows you to do this by aiming at the enemy you wish to target and pressing the R1 shoulder button. You have a meter at the bottom of the screen that allows you to have three consecutive shots initially (this can be upgraded later in the game,) however, you won’t be able to fire more of these shots too quickly as you will have to wait a few seconds for the meter to refill again. Your life is represented in the top left of the screen as five purple hearts which you can replenish or add to by shooting floating chests that can be collected by pressing the X button to capture. Once you lose all of your hearts, it’s obviously Game Over.
The visuals in Savant – Ascent Re-Mix have aged fairly well over the last ten years and really set the tone for the whole game. It reminds me of an updated Castlevania type of game that focuses on platforming and shooting enemies instead of an exploration based action game. Levels are dark and foreboding, as you would expect an alchemist’s tower to be, and offer a good variety of environments so that each level feels fresh and different. Character designs, aside from the gameplay, is another area where this game absolutely shines. The enemies are varied and colorful and had me excited to see what the next level had to offer.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Savant – Ascent Re-Mix and I was fairly astounded that I had never heard of this game before because I feel like I was really missing out. There isn’t a lot that I found that I could complain about other than the time it takes from dying to getting back to playing again, but I’ve played worse so this really was not a dealbreaker. Sometimes you don’t want to play a game that requires you to do a lot of thinking and just want one that allows you to get right to the action. If that sounds like you, then this is the title to pick up. Matches are quick and fun and there is nothing like mindlessly blasting away at some baddies for a few rounds before bedtime. All in all, this is a winner for those action fans amongst you.
This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.
A twin-stick shooter with a twist!
A twin-stick shooter with a twist!
+ Fast-paced and extremely fun.
+ Music absolutely slaps.
+ Environments look amazing.
+ Gameplay is easy to pick up and a pleasant challenge to master.
– The game could load levels a little faster upon death.