Ascension

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Ascension App Poster Image
Fantasy card game is a beautiful but convoluted mess.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The game has a complicated, confusing style of play that's difficult to understand, even after playing through the tutorial numerous times. Players might squeak by early on, but learning the actual gameplay is going to take a lot of patience and frustration.

Violence

Although one step in the gameplay involves attacking monster cards on the board, there's no actual fighting shown onscreen. Instead, some minor animations indicate the cards' interactions, with red flashes indicating attacks.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game does have expansion content available for purchase via the in-game shop. This is the digital version of the card game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ascension is the official mobile adaptation of the deck building card game, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, and is available for download on iOS and Android based mobile devices. Players choose their deck, made up of more than fifty hand drawn cards, and either battle solo against computer opponents or against human opponents via asynchronous turn-based online multiplayer matches. The game can be confusing for newcomers, even after playing through the included tutorial. Although fighting monsters is a factor in the gameplay, the violence isn't shown onscreen outside of red flashes to indicate combat. The base game is free to download, though multiple expansion packs are available for purchase via the in-app purchases.

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What's it about?

ASCENSION takes all the strategy and fantasy of the Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer deck building card game and puts it in the palm of your hand on iOS and Android mobile devices. You'll create your deck from more than fifty hand-drawn and detailed cards, with visuals enhanced for both phone and tablet screens. Then, you'll go solo against computer-controlled opponents or play against others in global online multiplayer matches. It's up to you to prove your skills with powerful cards and sly strategy, defeating the Fallen One's minions and earning both honor and victory for your faction.

Is it any good?

Card games have evolved quite a bit over time, many developing deep and complex mechanics with rich backstories that are a far cry from the days of a simple round of Go Fish or Gin Rummy. Ascension is one of these more complex, world building card games that tries to stand out from the crowd with gameplay that challenges players strategic skills. Between the smooth motion and the gorgeous collection of artwork on the cards, Ascension has a fantastic presentation. Unfortunately, while the game looks good, it all falls apart once the first cards are dealt.

Right from the start, Ascension is a confusing mess. The in-game tutorial doesn't do a good job of explaining the game's mechanics, mainly telling players to take certain actions without giving any understand of why. After a few turns, it leaves players to their own devices to finish the match, which can mostly be done by clicking the "Play All" button. This puts all of a player's available cards into play for a turn. Then it's just a matter of clicking highlighted cards, clicking on actions, and hoping for the best. Players may eventually pick up exactly how to play over time, but it's a head-scratching and frustrating climb up that particularly steep difficulty curve.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about card and board games. What are some ways that analog board games and card games might be better than video games? What can digital versions of these games offer that the physical versions don't?

  • What are some of the types of skills that kids can learn from card games? What are some ways that learning board/card games might help kids in the real world?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy card games

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