Why wait, Game of Thrones fans? And by that I mean why wait for the new season of the TV show to start on HBO on April 6 (even though that’s not far away) when you can dive into the world of Westeros on your iPad right now?
It’s possible because Game of Thrones Ascent has made the leap to mobile. Developed by Boston-based studio Disruptor Beam, Ascent built up a following as an online game playable through Facebook, Kongregate and the company’s own web portal since its release in early 2013. It’s received regular content updates since then, evolving to incorporate developments from the TV series as they happened — though it also draws heavily on the original George R. R. Martin books.
I reviewed the game for Gamezebo when it first came out, so I’m not going to rehash it all here. Suffice it to say that it feels natural to play it on an iPad, as the story-driven quests and social elements all make smooth transitions. In some ways, using a touchscreen instead of a mouse makes it even easier to explore the dialogue options and crafting menus.
The graphics and art also shine on a retina display. The UI has been adapted to fit everything necessary onto a tablet screen, and it’s easy to find anything the game has to offer with just a tap or two.
Ascent on iPad gives you the option of starting a brand new device-specific game (which I did when I was putting it through its paces) or to link to your Facebook, Kongregate or Disruptor Beam accounts to pick up where you left off online. Presumably, an even larger player pool will make the game’s PvP and cooperative events even more fulfilling.
There are a few kinks that carry over from the online version that you wish would have been ironed out. Times until crafting tasks and Sworn Sword missions are complete occasionally display incorrectly. I had a few times when I failed at a quest and the game simply hurried along to the next screen without displaying the consequences. I also had trouble naming my keep and designing my banner, though those are bugs that will only affect new players since people who’ve been playing online took care of those tasks long ago.
Even with a few bugs, Game of Thrones Ascent is a rich experience for fans of Westeros, especially considering it’s a free download. It’s going to be getting more updates during Season 4 and rolling out to Android devices in the near future, so pretty soon it will be just about everywhere. And if you’re hooked on the intrigue surrounding the Iron Throne, that’s a good thing.