Climb Out of Purgatory in Grim Platformer “Ascend”

Climb Out of Purgatory in Grim Platformer “Ascend”

A simple but grim platformer, Ascend sets the mood immediately with a header image of a skull-faced corpse lying slumped against the wall. Scrolling down to start the game indicates that the girl is not only the main character, but she’s alive and well–unless, of course, you let her die. Spikes and monsters and other standard platformer pitfalls make it harder to succeed.

Ascend is set to a moody, eerie soundtrack that is, strangely enough, punctuated with the bright boings of your protagonist’s jumps. It’s an odd choice and incongruous, and the jury is out on what exactly that accomplishes. Nevertheless, the cryptic text that sometimes scrolls in the background hints at a story filled with regret and longing and loss…

…but if the ending doesn’t make you laugh and sputter all at once, well, I don’t know what to say.

Ascend is a fairly subtle game, providing the occasional while still content to let you figure out your next move on your own. It boasts an alternate ending that can be unlocked by reaching the end with at least one extra life, which can prove to be easier said than done. (Or maybe you’re better at platformers than I am, whatever.)

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