Though Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer sounds like the name of a rock album that would make your mother cross herself in pious fear, it’s actually a card game put together by a handful of professional Magic: The Gathering players. The game already exists as a physical deck, but now you have the option of playing a quicker, neater version in your iOS devices. If you’re new to the game, grab it for your iPhone or iPad. It’s addictive and it challenges you on the right level, regardless of how much experience you already have with the game, or with card games in general.
Ascension’s claim to fame is its unique style of deck-building, which you build up on the fly as you play. Using a handful of default starter cards with differing values, you build up the mystic energy necessary to “hire” powerful cards from the deck. These powerful cards help you accomplish Ascension’s ultimate goal: to slay monster cards and earn more “honor” than your rival. Every match starts with a certain amount of honor, and the pool is depleted as monsters are slain. Whichever player has gained the most honor when the count reaches zero is the winner.
A magical gathering of cards.
Mind, that’s a very quick and simple explanation of Ascension’s basics. The game boasts a great deal of depth and depends on anticipating your rival’s move, not unlike a card-based game of chess. But Ascension shines because the rules are very easy to grasp, even though serious players will spend months working on their strategy.
If you’re learning to play Ascension for the first time, the tutorial might overwhelm you. If you stick it out long enough to muddle through your first game, however, everything should click by the end. Again, the similarity to chess is notable.
A fantasy card game is nothing without some totally metal card artwork, and Ascension delivers (beware, this game only works on 3GS and higher). The art style for each card differs depending on the effect it carries: You’ll see shamans, wizards, wolves, faeries, and other benevolent faces. The monster cards, which include dragons (as elemental “tyrants”), goblins, demons, and devils, are particularly fun to behold. If you have an iPad, you’ll want to park Ascension on it, especially since the iPhone’s smaller screen can make moving cards a bit of a muddle.
If you’re already familiar with Ascension, you probably don’t need to be sold on the iOS version of the game. If you know nothing about card battle games but have always been eager to try, Ascension marks a good place to start your journey to card-shuffling heroism.