oOo: Ascension is a game that entirely rests upon skill, precision and split-second reflexes. It’s an experience in which every millisecond truly counts as you rally from the starting point to the finishing point. That very foundation is what carries much of the game’s personality forward, bolstered further by the player’s need to run that proverbial one last attempt. On that score, oOo: Ascension excels in being a game that’s wildly fun in short bursts, if somewhat frustrating in longer sessions. Perhaps, we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
oOo: Ascension is a fast paced arcade game that blends together aspects of platforming and racing. Players are tasked with maneuvering through a range of increasingly difficult spherical maps, each of which houses unique elements and challenges to overcome. The game begins fairly straightforward, allowing players the time to get to grips with the functionality and controls. However, before long, oOo: Ascension soon becomes a tension-fueled race against the clock, a race that’s chock-full of hazards and daring obstacles.
Players control a small aircraft that can be moved using the left or right stick. Each stage is usually short, lasting no longer than half a minute on a good run. Though, in all honesty, once the game begins to ramp up the intricacy of its stages, subsequent runs usually take north of a few minutes to overcome. Each stage comes with a timer and a track record of your best time, as well as a target time. The aim of the game is to make it from your starting point to the finishing point, but if you want to max out the game, try for the target times.
These target times are far from lenient and arguably make up most of the game’s challenge. It’s hard enough to get to the finishing point in the later stages, but throw in getting there in the space of thirty seconds or so and that’s an entirely different task to tackle. There’s very little in the way of tricky stage layouts to begin with, often amounting to nothing more than outrunning barrier confinements and such. However, just after a handful of stages into the game, the complexity rises in ways that will test not only your endurance, but your patience.
This isn’t a bad thing by any means. On the contrary I quite enjoyed the clever mechanics that oOo: Ascension constantly threw at me. Stages become less about getting to the finishing point and more about getting there at all. Dangers such as static guillotine, rotating guillotine, fired guillotine, homing guillotine, chasing barriers and more, will be doing all that they can to prevent you from success. This, is where oOo: Ascension shines at its brightest. Every single victory from thereon feels earned, more so when you nail that three star rank.
The same can be said about the stage layouts, which vary from simplistic dry runs, right up to needing to outrun deadly enclosing barriers, to hopping onto floating platforms whilst dodging all of the above. This is where my first or two gripes come into view. The movement can be imprecise. The stages house some very narrow passageways, made all the more harder by the aforementioned hazards. It’s not so much of an issue if you’re taking your time, but if you’re trying to nuke the high-scores, it can be tedious at best.
The target times of each stage typically require that you use your limitless boost (RT) to beat them. Though, when you do this while trying to outrun a homing guillotine machine, oOo: Ascension soon becomes a test of forgiveness rather than patience. I found myself constantly hitting barriers due to the ever-so-slightly imprecise controls. It’s not a huge concern by any stretch, but something I wanted to make a note of all the same. The final gripe I have with the game is that some of the target times seem far too taxing.
It’s nothing that some dedication cant overcome, but a few of them do seem wildly unfair. It helps, of course, that oOo: Ascension is so accessible. The game is certainly easy to digest and remarkably fluid too. Failed attempts result in nothing more than a second or two of waiting before being thrown back at the starting point, something that the player can self-utilize by tapping the Y button. There’s also a zoom function (LT) for those that want to see the action close-up, as well as a ghost that charts your latest run for convenience.
One neat feature is that oOo: Ascension supports local play. The screen is vertically split, with each player given their own isolated scoring. Touching up on the visuals, oOo: Ascension is a good looking game that offers up some diverse track layouts, bolstered further by a decent audio cues and a good soundtrack. It’s fair to say that at the bottom line, oOo: Ascension does more than enough to justify its price tag. It’s appealing, it’s easy to play, there’s a fair portion of content and more importantly, it performs as expected.
oOo: Ascension is a decent arcade experience that amply rewards the player’s perseverance and endurance. The ever evolving intricacy of each stage will constantly keep players on their toes, offering up new and interesting obstacles at each and every hurdle. Despite some frustrations with the, at times, imprecise controls, oOo: Ascension is definitely one for those that relish a challenge.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.