After launching on Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store in December 2018, A44's brutal and beautiful Ashen is coming to PS4, Switch, Steam, and GOG this year. The new versions of the game will arrive on December 9, almost exactly a year after its initial release - no-doubt a function of its one-year exclusivity agreement with Epic.
As we said in our Ashen review (opens in new tab), it's a lovely third-person action RPG that leans on systems and tropes championed in Dark Souls, but its minimalist world and communal undertones set it apart. Yes, it's a challenging game filled with dungeons and bosses unabashedly designed to kill you repeatedly, but it's also built around some light settlement building that leverages some surprisingly strong character arcs.
"In exchange for finding this or killing that, I was rewarded with increased health, stamina, gear, and new recipes for my crafting tables," we said in our review. "The next time I teleported back to town, I would see these newfound friends living in sturdier homes, surrounded by more luxurious decor, and offering more resources. It became addictive and supremely satisfying to further progress each side-story when I could see the changes I'd made in these villagers' virtual lives."
Ashen hasn't changed much since its release, but thanks to subsequent updates, new players shouldn't have to deal with some minor technical and AI issues which held it back at launch. It ought to be a great fit for the Switch, much like every other game under the sun, including - and I'm still waiting for someone to pinch me every time I say this - The Witcher 3 (opens in new tab).
Ashen was a highlight of winter 2018. Here are the best indie games (opens in new tab) of 2019 so far.