January 28, 2012

Oh, Right, The Building Controls On The Planets Were Also Counterintuitive.

Ascendency was basically my first experience with what I believe is called the 4X genre of games. Reading about it after the fact, it was apparently broken as fuck, and I’m sure there are many better games of this type out there now, and in the past, but it was just one of those formative gaming experiences for me, and I loved it.

So then it came out on iOS and then it went on sale so of course I bought it.

There is simply a ton to the game, and even vaguely remembering it in the past, it was hard to figure out all the controls and stuff. There are a ton of them, and some things, like being able to use your race’s special power if it’s an activated power, is kind of stored in a fucked-up place in the menu that’s not very intuitive to find. I always liked to play as the terraformer people, so being able to activate that ability whenever I needed to was important, and it took me awhile to figure out. Similarly, it’s hard to guide your ships to where you want them to go. I don’t remember ever having any trouble dealing with the pseduo 3D spaces in the original game, but I often had trouble telling a ship to go to the star lane I wanted them to go to. Sometimes they’d just kind of stop beside it for no reason, and I wouldn’t realize it. It was annoying, because you might not find that out until like two turns after you give the order, if you tend to build a fleet of super-slow colony ships like I do.

Other than having to get used to the controls (and I can’t even imagine how bad they’d be on an iPhone. They were bad enough with the screen real estate of my iPad) this is the game I remember. Apparently bugs that I never knew about from the original were fixed in this, making it harder or something? I didn’t notice. I did what I always did, being a super-peaceful researcher and colonizer, and it didn’t seem to really be any different. It is Ascendency. That’s pretty cool.

Of course, what’s not cool is when you get like 2 hours in to a game, and then it crashes for no reason and you lose progress and then stop playing. That’s pretty annoying! That happened. I reloaded though, and it happened again. I don’t know why. But that was enough to make me stop trying, at least for now. They do seem to still be patching it, so hopefully that’ll fix it? Hopefully.

I like Ascendency, but I think this is merely a nostalgia thing. There has to be a better game of this type on iOS, or just out there in general, nowadays. I just don’t know if someone coming in to it new would be interested. However, I mean, if you can grab it for a dollar like I did? That is a lot of solid game for a dollar, as long as it doesn’t crash on you. So maybe it’s worth trying anyway. Who knows?

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