A Game A Day #3 - Savant: Ascent

Utterly insane. You play a masked figure dressed in a purple pimp outfit, collect broken CDs to gain powers so you could shoot at balls more effectively. Utterly fucking insane.

Honestly, I’d never expect a clever game behind such a daft name. It sounds like something straight out of a generic-fantasy-novel-writing manual. But it was made by D-Pad Studios, whose Owlboy demo charmed the pants off of me back in the day. So I gave it a spin.

At first, you look and think - I can’t see shit. But you needn’t see. You must feel. It evokes memories of Hotline Miami and Super Hexagon, even though it’s not about muscle memory. It is about flow, though, and anticipation. Reflexes too. But mostly flow. You stop and you’re dead. So much so that it’s one of those games that make time stretch. After playing it for half an hour, I thought at least two had passed.

The story goes something like this - the titular Savant is thrown out of his tower by something (a ball?) because of something, after which he has to climb it and shoot at balls. And mechanical worms. And (M/W)ario. Obviously, it makes little sense. If the pace were any slower, I might hold the batshit against it. The way things are, you don’t really have time to dwell.

When you shoot down a tougher ball, it drops a chunk of broken CD. Collect enough bits and you piece together the thing, adding a new track to the backdrop and a permanent power-up to your arsenal. The former include all kinds of dubstep (which the game makes surprisingly bearable), while the latter consists of charged shots, split shots and the like. Meanwhile, movement is restricted to dodging left/right and jumping. It’s not so much about moving as it is about stopping balls from reaching your face.

And it all looks downright stunning. I may have pegged the Savant as a whoremonger but he does look kinda dashing in his snazzy purple garb, feathered hat and all. The jagged lines of the gothic castle backgrounds are beautiful, which I’ve only realised after looking at the screenshots I’ve taken. No time for sightseeing there.

A good way to spend 2$/€/£? Fuck yes.


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