This brings us to Savant: Ascent, which reminded me of Ziggurat in a number of ways. It’s very simple to play and was released fairly quietly. It’s cheap. Unlike Zigurrat, there’s not much content, but what’s there is great. I’d recommend you purchase Savant Ascent to send a message that solid game and aesthetic design is the key to excellence in this industry.
D-Pad Studio, developers of the upcoming game Owlboy, have recently hit it off with the electronica musician, Savant. Having made album artwork and such for him, he’s returned the gesture by creating music for them. They threw this game together as a quick summer project to show their appreciation for Savant. That’s it; that’s the whole development story. Nobody lived off ramen for weeks to create this. Nobody struggled with publishers. Nobody felt the need to put together a giant developer blog about how difficult it was to create Savant: Ascent and how the industry simply won’t understand it. A couple of people just wanted to make something cool to promote their friend’s music, so they did so. That’s the heart of indie games right there.
It’s a pretty simple game, honestly. You play as Savant’s character from the musician’s album art. You’ve been forced out of your tower home by the villainous Vario (who you may remember from Dungeon Chaos), and your job is to destroy his minions and take it back. Toward that end, you’ve got rapid-fire lasers and the ability to hop around and dodge shots. You can also collect CD fragments from destroyed enemies; along with offering new in-game music, these provide upgrades, such as a powerful charge shot and the ability to see where enemies are spawning from so you can target them more quickly. There are only a few different upgrades, so you’ll obtain them all in short order and can focus on the gameplay and enjoying the music instead.
“Dodge and shoot your way back up the tower and blast down waves of enemies as you make your way towards the top! As you progress, you unlock CDs that not only give you new tracks to play to, but also grant you powerful new abilities!”
You’ll deal with several types of enemy – standard green birds that progress in a pattern before divebombing you, yellow birds that absorb tons of damage, but drop CD fragments when destroyed, red helicopters that move slowly, but are heavily armored, and a couple other varieties. There’s also a boss battle against Vario that’s likely to take you a few tries. Prioritizing your targets and understanding your limited set of abilities is key to success. By simplifying the gameplay to this extent, the game allows you to concentrate on Savant’s musical goodness.
In other words, the developers were able to accomplish exactly what they wanted with this game by marketing their friend’s music in a creative and entertaining way. No excuses; they just did it. That’s worth $2. It doesn’t change the world or shift the paradigm; it’s just a good game. If you could spend $20 on a game with ten times as much content that was done just as well, I’d recommend it without hesitation…but generally, you can’t.
I really don’t know what else to tell you. It’s two dollars. You’ve spent more on worse, and it’s gone toward worse causes. If you’re reading Indie Statik, that means you care about indie games, so put your money where your mouth is and support making indie games better by buying Savant: Ascent. You should also support this amazing game on Greenlight, right now.