TowerFall Ascension was a chaotic piece of work on its own, standing out as a phenomenal local multiplayer game. But there's still more that creator Matt Thorson and his team are aiming for, which is why they've returned to release the game's one (and possibly only) expansion, TowerFall: Dark World.
Much of Dark World involves adding some keen features that didn't quite make the original TowerFall Ascension cut. Beyond some new pieces for the rousing local multiplayer, Dark World also features a short, albeit challenging, new campaign. Unlike the previous Quest mode, this one places an even greater emphasis on co-op by enabling up to four players to jump in together. Of course, even with additional allies, there's a good chance that things will go awry, especiallly on higher difficulties.
New enemy types provide an ample amount of resistance for teams of any size. Flying enemy types can swoop down, fly at an angle, or even shoot projectiles all over the place as part of their normal movement or as part of their death animation. Dying is easy, whether it's miscalculating a stomp or losing a duel with a doppelganger. It's just as easy for teammates to take one another out with an errant Bomb Arrow or setting off an explosive foe near a buddy. That's why it's really handy that resurrections are now available, for whenever your friend starts yelling at you about accidentally blowing them up.
The campaign itself is short and sweet, compiling a handful of levels culminating with some cleverly-designed boss battles. Bosses can reach out with their own attacks, while also utilizing pieces of the environment to their advantage. For example, the Blind Lich will control two massive blocks, so careless players can quickly find themselves getting smashed between them. Bosses are easy for the most part, aside from the last one. The final boss plays a little dirtier by taking away all arrows to start the battle, forcing players to rely on stomps.
Of course, the major appeal of TowerFall: Dark World is more of the local multiplayer insanity. Different power-ups and curses can be toggled to help customize sessions, allowing a degree of "house rules." New arrow types like the entrapping Prism Arrow helps turn some mechanics, like catching arrows, on their head, while Remote Arrows require a degree of strategy by having players detonate them near enemies... and not themselves.
TowerFall: Dark World further adds to what was already an immensely deep multiplayer experience. The campaign is more suited to quick runs, as most players will wrap it up in about an hour, but the longevity comes in playing with friends. Ascension was already a fine party choice on its own, but Dark World further fleshes out the package and gives it some new life in the process.
These impressions are based on a PlayStation 4 download code purchased by the reviewer. TowerFall: Dark World is available on Steam and the PlayStation Store now for $9.99. The game is rated E10+.