Parents' Guide to


By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Tough but optimistic fantasy tale with melee combat, blood.

Game Windows, Xbox One 2018
Ashen Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (1):

Imagine a dungeon crawling game with less gloom and foreboding mixed with a beautiful, poetic art style, and you'll have a pretty good idea of this incredible adventure. Ashen sets a dire stage, one on which a battle for the future of humanity plays out, but the story's suffused with a sense of optimism and hope that gives real purpose to your mission to see the Ashen fully restored and the world returned to light. As you meet new characters, make new friends, and your town grows, you see and feel the fruits of your labors, which provides further motivation to keep braving the wilds. That these characters take turns venturing with you into danger as your AI companion only helps solidify the bonds between them.

But what's likely to keep many players coming back is Ashen's beautiful world and expertly designed combat. Fighting's blissfully straightforward -- just block, roll, and attack -- yet satisfyingly challenging. The controls are tight, responsive, and intuitive, meaning you're the only one to blame should you fail. You'll need to be both strategic and bold to defeat the game's strongest foes. And since you'll lose all of your unspent experience upon death, there's a real feeling of risk in everything you do. The settings in which combat takes place are equally compelling, both open wilds pocked by craggy rocks and winding streams and deep, dark, narrow dungeons teeming with danger. The world's loaded with a mix of secret perils and well-hidden treasures that encourage players to cautiously explore every nook and cranny, often leading to hidden paths that redirect back to familiar locations and serve as future shortcuts. Getting to know this cleverly designed world is one of the most rewarding aspects of the game. Ashen isn't as grand in scope or complex in design as the Dark Souls games that clearly served as its muse, but we could hardly hope for more from an independent game that's half the cost. It's all but essential for fans of challenging action-based RPGs.

Game Details

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