Jade’s Ascension is at its best when you are playing with multiple people and facing a big wave of enemies in its four-player local co-op mode. It does manage to be interesting at first, but the game quickly becomes repetitive without a lot of new elements to keep you engaged.
There is no story in the game, but the description on the PlayStation Store describes it as how the kingdom of Mojolonia decides on a new emperor. All the candidates compete in the trial named the “ascension of Jade”, and the winner becomes royalty.
That trial consists of picking your character and shooting enemies who materialize in the room as you try to reach the top of the tower. The gameplay is similar to a twin-stick shooter, and movement is handled by the left stick with a quick dash from L1. The right stick is used to fire and aim. Higher levels spawn traps for you to activate such as a turret or tornado.
You’ll run around the room and dodge attacks while trying to shoot everything else. It normally works fine, but there are times I’m shooting directly at something without hitting. There are some enemies’ attacks that seem to hit even when you dodge. I also had someone fall off the elevator to the next room, forcing me to restart from the beginning. These issues aren’t happening every time, but they are annoying when they do.
After beating all the enemies, you can stand on the platform in the middle of the room and ascend to the next floor to rinse and repeat. The enemy variety is limited, and you won’t see many new creatures after the first handful of levels, just more of them. You also cannot save your progress, so you are always starting over from the first floor without any upgrades.
After clearing a floor, you’ll receive coins, and these can be spent in the store. It appears about every other level and offers items and upgrades. The upgrades are critical to your survival, and you can choose to increase the range for your attacks, add an extra energy ball to shoot, or add more health. Each time you buy an upgrade, the cost goes up, and the cost is the same whether you play alone or with others.
When the store appears, you also have a chance to enter a portal to play in one of the other towers. These other locations offer the same combat with new enemy types, some added difficulty, and a boss fight.
The change of scenery is nice, because, no matter which tower you visit, it never changes. The jade tower has a Chinese influence, and the wood tower is inspired by a forest, but the levels inside a tower are always a square room with the same decoration as the last. As I mentioned, there are some boss fights in the other towers, and you can move between them if you want. Despite the changes, there’s not a lot to see, and you’ll be done with the game quickly.
Jade’s Ascension is a repetitive game that pits you against increasingly difficult waves of enemies. It does have multiple stages, but you’ve seen most of what the game will show you on the first level. It’s not terrible, but it is bland and forgettable.
Jade's Ascension PS4 Review
- Overall - Not Bad - 5/105/10
Jade’s Ascension is a good effort from a smaller studio, but it runs out of steam quickly. I love that there is a four-player, local co-op mode, but the combat and environments are repetitive. With the addition of a few minor issues, this isn’t a game that will hold your attention for very long.
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Reviewed using PS4 Pro.