Savant – Ascent REMIX – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade game, shoot-em-up
Developer: D-Pad Studio
Publisher: D-Pad Studio
Platform: Switch, PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Savant – Ascent REMIX – Review

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Good: Amazing soundtrack
Bad: A very short game
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A decade has passed since indie developer D-Pad Studio released Savant – Ascent on a then-unsuspecting public. The game received critical acclaim and built up a loyal fanbase with its fast-paced twin-stick gameplay and beloved soundtrack. D-Pad Studio still saw room for improvement, however, as they recently unveiled Savant – Ascent REMIX, an expanded and improved version of that original game. Long-time fans of the series got the game for free, but us mere mortals who didn’t jump on the original Savant – Ascent bandwagon will simply have to buy it instead. Fortunately, Savant – Ascent REMIX is worth every penny. Read on to find out why.


Central to Savant – Ascent REMIX is the Alchemist. This mysterious masked individual was cast to the bottom from his very own tower, by an equally enigmatic enemy. It’s now up to the Alchemist to make his way back up to the tower to confront his mysterious nemesis. In a nutshell, this is Savant – Ascent REMIX’s entire plot. There are minor cutscenes in between stages, but ultimately, this is a game that focuses far more on delivering engaging gameplay than it does on fleshing out its backstory.


Aesthetically, Savant – Ascent REMIX falls somewhere between pixel art and hand-drawn visuals. If that sounds like an odd way to describe things, it definitely is, but we can’t think of a better way to describe it. The game has the look and feel of a retro 2D title, with its bright color palette and the way everything is layered and animated. However, look close and you’ll see that lines are much crisper than you’d assume at first glance. The game looks fantastic, even if it isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, and the relatively simplistic visuals don’t get in the way of the smooth performance necessary to fully enjoy the gameplay;


Even if Savant – Ascent REMIX’ gameplay doesn’t appeal to you, we absolutely urge you to check out the game’s soundtrack: it’s just that good. There are 36 tracks here, and in-game these act as collectibles that you can grab during your playthrough. The soundtrack was composed by EDM artist Savant, hence the game’s title, and is available as a separate purchase on Steam as well. While the music of Savant – Ascent REMIX is definitely a highlight, there isn’t a whole lot to be said about the rest of the game’s soundscape. Voice acting is absent and sound effects are serviceable but not outstanding.


We haven’t played the original Savant – Ascent, so we can’t quite compare the newer version of the game to what it was like ten years ago. As such, we’re looking at Savant – Ascent REMIX as its own thing. The game offers a unique take on the twin-stick shooter genre, which puts players in the role of the Alchemist. Your ultimate goal is to make it to the top of the tower, of course. This is done by hopping between a pair of elevators that ascend the tower at breakneck speed, while dodging a neverending swarm of enemies and bosses. Savant – Ascent REMIX seamlessly incorporates elements from on-rails shooters and shmup games into the core twin-stick gameplay, delivering an addictive and fun take on the genre in the process.

There is plenty of variety to be had here as well, both when it comes to strategies that you can deploy and with enemy types. The Alchemist has several kinds of attacks up his sleeve, from a short burst that can target groups of enemies to a more powerful blast that depletes a gauge that slowly recharges over time. Knowing when to use this attack can be crucial. You can also jump and double jump between the elevators in order to dodge incoming attacks. No matter how overwhelming a level seems at first, there are multiple ways to deal with what Savant – Ascent: REMIX throws at you. As is typically the case with games like this, trial and error and stage memorization play a huge part. Fortunately, this is handled in the right way. Every level introduces new enemy types, but instead of overwhelming you, the game eases you into them, allowing you to familiarise yourself with their specific attack pattern before amping things up. Boss battles are the icing on the cake, really putting you to the test. Fortunately, there is a save point right before a boss battle, although dying to a boss means you won’t make it onto the online leaderboards.

We should note that Savant – Ascent REMIX is a very short game, with under an hour’s worth of content. That may make it seem like you’re not getting a lot of bang for your buck, but the game really puts your skills to the test and before you get to the point where you actually make it to the final stage, you’ll have died a lot. This is a game in the same vein as the Cotton series in this regard, with only a handful of stages but plenty of incentive to return to them over and over again as you try and perfect your run and cement your place on the leaderboards. With various difficulty levels and even different endings, you’ll find that there is plenty of enjoyment to be had here, and the overall time you’ll spend playing Savant – Ascent REMIX is going to be exponentially larger than the game’s actual length. That’s without even getting into the unlockable Survival Mode. All in all, Savant – Ascent REMIX is definitely worth the €9.75 asking price.


We were more than pleasantly surprised by Savant – Ascent REMIX. From the fast-paced and exhilarating gameplay to the gorgeous retro visuals and especially the soundtrack, this is a little gem that will appeal to genre newcomers and long-time twin-stick aficionados alike. Sure, Savant – Ascent REMIX isn’t a very long game, but there are plenty of reasons to return to it after the credits roll.

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