'80s-styled online shooter Ascendant.com is getting a closed beta

In a world where dozens of online shooters are gunning, wall-running, and causing all-round havoc in a bid to get our attention, many have collapsed to the ground in bullet-pocked heaps. The online shooter realm is a tough, competitive space, which is why devs need to come up with something that not only meets the baseline criteria of kicking ass, but doing it differently.

And boy does Ascendant.com—which is running a closed beta from April 5 to April 6—seek to do that. This squad-based multiplayer shooter sees you and two other pals teaming up to dive into a vibrant biopunk-styled world in a “Battle for the Biocores.” With only three biocores being fought over by four teams, someone will come away empty-handed.  The other problem is that between you and your bounty is a post-apocalyptic landmass filled with saurian monstrosities (and, uhhh, giant loot-dropping snails —it gets weird out there), and three other teams of players equally determined to run off with the loot.

Developer PlayFusion has called Ascendant.com an 'adaption shooter,' as the environment is constantly threatening to shift and change, forcing players to adapt on the fly. For instance, if you (or another team) reach the missile launcher system in a map's central tower, you can target a part of the map and airstrike it, turning it into a crater-filled wasteland. The trade-off? Your location will be revealed to all rival players. Or maybe you prefer the toxic gas approach? Whatever your poison, Ascendant.com offers many ways to manipulate and master the battlefield.

Using the Beam Gloves in Ascendant.com

(Image credit: PlayFusion)

In direct combat, you'll have an arsenal of highly customisable futuristic weapons to fool around with. Swap out your barrel to boost toxic ammo, turn each of your sniper shots into a spread of carpet-bombing cluster grenades, or play a defensive powerhouse plonking down shields and defences for your team while they gun down the enemy. Every FPS playstyle is accounted for, and countless team compositions are viable. 

Will your team lurk in the shadows while others duke it out for the biocores?  Will you go in all guns blazing? Or maybe, to take down vicious creatures like the subterranean Burrower, you'll form fleeting alliances with your rivals, before turning on them to claim the Hyper Cannon that said creature drops upon death. Again, adaptation is key, as are quick thinking and fast trigger fingers for when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Gunplay in online shooter Ascendant.com

(Image credit: PlayFusion)

All the action is filtered through a breezy, carefree aesthetic inspired by '80s and '90s TV, movie, and music culture. It's a loud, garish game with purple blood splatters, outrageous outfits, and rad soundbites that'll take you back in a time capsule to more innocent times, even as the on-screen action is every bit an ultramodern online shooter. So it's equal parts retro and modern, get the idea?

One thing that's often missing from online games is a fun place to kick back between missions, but Ascendant's awesome lobby space addresses that longstanding bugbear. It's a vibey post-apocalyptic hub where you can make new friends (or enemies), challenge players to one-on-one duels, experiment with weapons (there are some wild ones out there!), play hide-and-seek, and take on tricksy time trials to sharpen your skills for future battles.

Riding a vehicle in Ascendant.com

(Image credit: PlayFusion)

Intrigued? Sitting on the fence? Haven't got any big plans on the first weekend of April but want to wrap a red bandana around your head and charge into the fray with your friends? Then sign up to Ascendant.com’s closed beta, running April 5-6, and wishlist the game on Steam and Epic Games Store. Ascendant will also be playable at Steam FPS Fest, which runs April 15-21, with plans for an Early Access launch in Summer 2024.

To keep up with the Ascendant.com grapevine, join its Discord community, and follow the action on Twitter (X) and YouTube. There's a post-apocalyptic party starting here, and everyone's invited. Just remember to bring your best guns, your worst haircuts, and most whack punchlines, yeah?