Review: Astral Ascent – Probably The Best Roguelite Since Hades

There’s always room for one more good one.

In 2019, a small French studio called Hibernian Workshop released a game called Dark Devotion, a promising 2D soulslike that was met with mixed reviews, but managed to garner a passionate fanbase. A couple of years later, the team returned with a Kickstarter pitch for a new roguelite called Astral Ascent, which hit its funding goal within two days and managed to blow past it considerably in the weeks to come. Since then, the crew has been busily working away at it while sharing periodic updates, and the day has now come that Astral Ascent is seeing its full release. We’re happy to report that this is a tremendous new entry in the Switch’s packed roguelite library, quickly inserting itself amongst the very best.

Astral Ascent is set in a modern fantasy land called the Garden, which is a lush and beautiful prison guarded by 12 godlike jailers, each based on a Zodiac symbol. You play as one of the prisoners in this magical place, trying your absolute hardest to break out and secure freedom for both you and your allies. Each of the Zodiacs has a unique personality and clearly knows their prisoners personally, and as you engage in your endless attempts to escape, more of the backstory is slowly revealed that highlights the connections between these characters and why they find themselves locked in this seemingly eternal loop.

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