Guild of Ascension is a very fun, adventurous, and colorful video game that has been developed by the Canadian studio: WhileOne Productions. Based in Montreal this studio opened its doors in January 2019 and was founded by Marius Ibanez; a veteran of the AAA industry, having worked for studios such as Ubisoft. GoA is the first video game released and published by PID Games on September 21, 2021.
Guild of Ascension is a blend of genres such as roguelite, turn-based, and real-time action, making for a gameplay system that is quite entertaining. To be honest, it is the type of game with a low profile. Not promising the earth but delivering some surprising gameplay, in a way that hooked me from the beginning. An experience which saw me dedicate many fun-filled hours to it. As eloquently explained by the studio founder and Marius’ and their own words describe:
“Guild of Ascension started as a passion project when I got the idea to bring real-time action and turn-based strategy together. I quickly saw the potential to play around fresh and old gameplay mechanics, which motivated me to quit my job and start this new adventure. So far, so good!
Mixing two opposite genres together was a long process but in the end, I feel that finding a good balance brings a new perspective and interesting challenges that you cannot easily find in another game – at least not one that I know of” Marius Ibanez.
Let the adventure begin
Your adventure begins with a short but very well-developed tutorial, where you will be taught the combat mechanics. Provided with the opportunity to use two characters; ‘remember that two heads think better than one.’ Where the three classes of combat available to them will be: sword and shield, bow and hammer.
The game is developed through different biomes, with each floor unlocked as you manage to finish the previous one. Where each run comprises of a floor. Experience and money are not cumulative, so must be spent before starting the next run.
It is well known that due to the genre each floor presents a degree of randomness, in terms of the map’s content. However, this did not exactly tally with my experience. After several attempts, I came to the conclusion, that the set of possibilities were already predetermined in some manner. At least it seemed so. That no matter how the floor was tackled or in whichever order, the action was undertaken; enemies, rewards, and traps were pre-established within the game itself.
Runs do not become easier with progress made. Obtaining better items alone will certainly not make the game easier either. Unsurprising as more floors are completed, the difficulty jumps with enemies receiving more hit-points or being able to inflict more damage. In turn, rewards become better. Yet it remained unclear as to what the total rewards obtained at the end of each run would be. Each map has different rooms of which only the adjacent ones will be visible, unless an item called “Magic Map” is found, which will automatically reveal the complete view of the map.
The kind of rooms that can be found are as follows
- Campfires. Here characters can check their kit and level-up, etc.
- Battles. Here you will fight against enemies, having to eliminate all of them to advance to the next room. Once you have won the loot indicated on the map is awarded.
- Random Events. Determination for such events depends on luck. Traps are where characters receive a certain amount of damage to their HP. Another event sees useful items found and retrieved, proving to be very helpful during current or future runs.
- Challenges. Basically puzzles where your skills are tested and if overcome, provide some reward.
- The Shop. Where three random items are presented for purchasing if the group has sufficient funds. It is recommended to visit the store before entering the Boss room.
- The Goddess Statue. In short provides three options that benefit of the group.
- Keys. Simply provide keys to enter the Boss room which are otherwise locked.
- The Boss. This is the last room on the floor. Essentially the final location of the run where there are only two possibilities: Defeating the Boss or to be defeated by them.
It is important to note that each character needs to buy their own equipment and weapons. The good thing is that once you have bought something, you will have the possibility to use the item whenever you want.
Guild of Ascension combat system
Guild of Ascension presents a combat system which could be a little complicated to get used to at first, but this is what makes it a special and different kind of game. I would highly recommend playing the game with a controller, since it was not very comfortable with mouse and keyboard.
Before every combat, you must choose which of your characters commences the battle. What position they occupy on the board cannot be chosen. Each character has certain abilities depending on the type of weapon they are equipped with. A bar must be filled in order to use these.
Each character has dodge and health points, with the former used to avoid damage. Once these are reduced to zero, damage will be directly assigned to a character’s HP. However, the advantage of dodge points is that they are rechargeable. Only taking one turn to achieve this.
Keep in mind that the only limitation a character possesses during a turn is time. Otherwise, they can perform the desired actions in the order required to execute your strategy. Hopefully attaining the best results possible.
As for the enemies they tend to be quite predictable since they seem to be programmed to be real “kamikazes”.
Graphics and Sound
As for the music and sounds, there is not much to say, as they are rather scarce. I think that at the very least the studio should have invested some more effort into producing better-defined sounds for combat.
The graphics look pretty good throughout the scenarios, the representation of enemies and skills. Many colors are used to generate a very impressive visual experience for a casual game. Every detail is seemingly very well planned. It is important to note that the battles take place on a kind of chessboard, which holds puzzles that can be used to your advantage or that sometimes play against you.