Dead Ascend is a short Point and Click-Adventure.
The games story takes place in a post apocalyptic setting – zombies chased you to a tower, and you need to reach the top to escape. The riddles you need to solve to clear the way are rather balanced – pretty straightforward and fair, but not just cheap either – some clues and objects are well hidden, or have to be used in unexpected ways, making the game a good entrance to the genre for beginners or a fun little finger exercise for connoisseurs.
The hand drawn graphics are both charming and harmonious, and most certainly a labor of love – they are clearly the heart piece of the game and easily overcompensate for some of the smaller technical difficulties (that weren’t breaking for me at any point) you might encounter playing it. The SFX is fitting and goes well with the setting and atmosphere. The stock music was unobtrusive and coherent – at some point the loop stopped. I can’t tell if this was intended or not, but it worked out well with the events in the game – so I do assume it was the intended behavior.
Beside giving me a fun time, what I liked best about the game is the punkish DIYS-Style combined with a rather wicked humor (the „Zombie-Setting“ hasn’t much in common with the wave of the last decade, but rather reminded me of 80s pulp movies) – the involved people clearly wanted to make a good, fun game within the range of their abilities while not giving a damn about the salability of it. The result is a anarchic little gem, and will surely give you more than one good, surprised laugh for the brain you’ll have to invest.
Dead Ascend is free software and available for Windows, Linux and Mac; I had however trouble to fire up the Linux AppImage and ended up using Wine instead – but this worked without problems.
The responsible studio, BlackGrain, is a one person project and did not only do some other games but is also involved into some black/sludge metal bands – and surely you agree that there can’t be anything more likeable than obscure independent studios that do both free software games and music. Worth to check out there other stuff as well.