Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (iOS) Review

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer was always going to be a favourite game of mine on iOS. While I love gaming, I don’t just limit myself to game of the genusvideo. Board gaming is a passion of mine too.

One of my favourite board games of all time is a game called Dominion, a deck building card game where the goal is to customise your deck so as to ensure you draw a good selection of cards so as to buy better cards and, eventually, defeat your opponents. Dominion is yet to see a good port to iOS. However there are a lot of great Dominion clones and Ascension is probably the best of the bunch.

To all intents and purposes, Ascension IS Dominion with a few mechanics changed so as to avoid nasty lawsuits. For instance. while Dominion generally only allows you to perform one action and buy one card per turn (unless you have cards that allow you to do otherwise), Ascension eschews that mechanic and lets you buy as many cards and perform as many actions as you can with the cards in your hand. Also, victory points cards don’t exist. instead, you defeat monsters which give you honour points from a pool of 60, and the cards you buy also contain a certain honour value. Once the pool of 60 honour points is depleted, the player with the most honour points (from both the pool and their card values) wins.

It has asynchronous multiplayer (turn-based multiplayer gameplay that allows you to  play your turn when it’s convenient, like Words with Friends) which makes it about as close to casual as a hardcore game can be. Matches can be created or joined in the lobby, but sadly it’s impossible to just issue a challenge to one of your friends via Game Centre or even within the app itself. Instead, you’ll need to tell your friend (via whatever external communication protocol you prefer to use) you’ve set up a game and then have them join it. After that rematches allow you to play your friend ad infinitum, but the initial challenge is a bit clunky and could use refinement.

There’s several expansion packs available as in-app purchases that make the base game even better… and probably a bit more complicated. They’re well worth getting if and when the base game starts to bore you.

It’s also a Universal app, meaning it’ll work on both your iPhone and your iPad. I don’t recommend playing it on an iPhone, however. The text on the cards is quite hard to read on the iPhone’s smaller screen. Even the slightly bigger screen of the iPhone 5 is wasted, given it (currently) isn’t optimised for the iPhone 5. An iPad Mini is the minimum screen size you’ll want to play this on, but a full sized iPad is definitely where you want to be playing this.

If you’ve never played Dominion… go play Dominion. It’s awesome. If you have played Dominion and you own an iOS device, definitely buy Ascension. It’s great and will easily satisfy your need for iOS Dominion until Goko gets its act together.

Final Score: 8.5


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