Sep 12, 2023 4 min read

Hands-on with Savant Ascent Remix

This decade old mobile game gets a modern refresh, adding new levels, a new look, and new music.

Hands-on with Savant Ascent Remix

This decade old mobile game gets a modern refresh, adding new levels, a new look, and new music.

Before the success of the much-loved platform adventure game Owlboy, Simon Stafsnes Andersen of D-Pad Studio worked on a small mobile game featuring music from the experimental electronic artist known as Savant.

First released over a decade ago in 2013, 'Savant Ascent' was a tough-as-nails, fast-paced vertical shooter complete with pumping music, gothic stylings, and intense bullet hell action.

Now, ten years on, the studio is returning to the project with an upgraded 'Remix' version — adding in a handful of new levels, upgraded visuals, and of course more new music from Aleksander Vinter, the Norwegian EDM artist behind Savant.

As something of a fan of Vinter's first gaming-inspired album Vario, I was keen to check this updated version out recently at Gamescom — where we tried a hands-on demo, and had the opportunity to ask developer Simon some questions about this revamped take on his rather musical, fast-paced, and sometimes punishing game.

The premise of Savant Ascent Remix is straightforward enough — you find yourself traversing up a collection of vertical levels, shooting at wave after wave of enemies, all in an effort to collect CDs and build out your in-game Savant music collection.

Sporting an almost Castlevania-esque aesthetic, you'll quickly find that Savant Ascent Remix presents an immediate, almost Ghosts + Goblins style challenge if playing in hardcore mode.

This hardcore mode matches the exact, gruelling difficulty found in the mobile original — but Simon noted how this time around an easier 'normal' mode has been introduced in an effort to make the game somewhat more accessible to a wider audience.

The addition of this new, base normal difficulty was something I was pretty grateful for during our playtest. The game can be gruelling. Simon shared how the original mobile version was a brutal but rewarding experience, and although it found an audience of avid, committed players, the difficulty was such that it made sense to offer a new way to play for this updated take on things.

Gameplay typically sees your character quickly jumping from a number of constantly moving platforms. It's here where the mobile lineage of this game is clear — all of the levels are about moving up the screen, climbing vertically to the top of whichever structure you find yourself jumping up — just like you would have done in the first version of this handheld challenge.

Your character can shoot waves of incoming enemies from just a couple of fixed positions — your job is to navigate between these two spots, jumping from one to the other quickly to fire off a round into the next wave of incoming robots.

It's almost acrobatic in places — you dive from one moving platform, swiftly deal with a round of enemies, and then jump to the next, all whilst racking up a combo. I'll say this — it was impressive watching developer Simon effortlessly work his way through a level, combos and stylish double jumps a plenty.

The first, 2013 version of Savant Ascent was created in just five weeks — as such, it was a small by-design experience — this new 2023 take on the game, has had a slightly longer development time, coming in at around four months. That extra development time has resulted in three additional levels, new big bosses, updated visuals and of course — new music.

Racking up combos and blasting away enemies to a pumping soundtrack is what's ultimately on offer here. From our brief time with the game, Savant Ascent Remix seems to present a decent challenge, with satisfying, tight controls, all in a small package that doesn't seem to outstay its welcome.

Savant Ascent Remix takes what came before, builds on it in a small but meaningful way, adding a couple of nice quality-of-life touches along the way.

There's something novel and kinda refreshing about a project that's small in scope and nails the one thing it sets out to do — this appears to be that. The fact it's also a really cool way to release new music is a sweet bonus.

A testing, gruelling 'adrenaline-filled' elevator ride through a robot-infested tower — the updated take on Savant Ascent launches on Steam later this month — September 29.

Savant - Ascent REMIX on Steam
Get ready for an adrenaline-filled elevator ride through a robot-infested tower. Wield powerful magic, and acrobatic moves as you reclaim the Alchemist’s domain from a horde of mechanical fiends. This follow-up to the award-winning Savant - Ascent sets you off to greater heights!

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.