Fallen Tear: The Ascension is a Metroidvania JRPG mash-up

Posted on April 2, 2024

Fallen Tear: The Ascension takes two genres loved by many and combines them to satisfying effect, making for a gorgeous Metroidvania that’s full of JRPG references and storytelling.

The game is being developed by the Philippines-based studio Winter Crew, who are focused on making their debut title high-quality, inspired by their history of developing games for international clients, ranging from AAA gaming studios to first-in-class animation studios.

We had the opportunity to see the game in action at a special ID@Xbox Digital Session, where we got to hear from Stephen Manalastas, art director and founder of Winter Crew, and while their ambitions may be lofty, Fallen Tear: The Ascension is shaping up quite nicely.

Animations look smooth and colourful, like a kid’s cartoon come to life, with hand-drawn back-drops that show the verticality and exploration you’d expect from the genre. There are 26 biomes in Fallen Tear: The Ascension, and if the ones we saw are any indication, there’s a visual feast ahead, with a variety of enemies and characters too. Exploring and finding secrets will require tough platforming and tricky puzzles, and combat has a range of attacks that you’ll need to master in order to progress.

Some of these staples you’d expect from a Metroidvania, but the team wants their love of JRPGs to shine through. Towns are interactable with NPCs, items and hidden locations, which the team noted is not usual for the Metroidvania genre. With a lot of conversations to have with inhabitants and companions, I’m curious to see what other JRPG components come into focus as the game progresses.

While the world is filled with enemies as you’d expect, it’s also got allies and companions you can meet who will aid you on your journey. These allies, called “Fated Bonds”, have their own quests that you must complete before adding them to your party, using skills, buffs and debuffs. Combining these Fated Bonds will give you access to different skills and abilities, so mixing and matching will be important. Not all of these Fated Bonds assist with combat; one in particular was highlighted that allows you to unlock watchtowers, and fill your map with details of the surrounding area, taking a page from the book of open-world RPGs. There are also hunting contracts that reward you based on difficulty.

Fallen Tear: The Ascension

With shortcuts to progress (or backtrack) and campfires serving as checkpoints, there even seems to be a little bit of Souls-like to the DNA of Fallen Tear: The Ascension. With some interesting ideas and a compelling art style, this genre mashup from the talented Philippines studio is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Fallen Tear: The Ascension is set for release sometime in 2025.