It would appear that aliens come in a variety of colours! and Ascender is no exception. The naughty green aliens have sabotaged various nuclear reactors on your planet (you're a red alien, ok?) and you need to shut them down before the time runs out.
Doing this involves scaling the outside of each reactor and finding the cardlets that have been scattered about at random. Match the cardlets together to form keycards, one for every 4 cardlets you find. But wait, it doesn't end there!
The cardlets actually have little slots on them and only fit together in a special way (i.e. if the slots all, well.. slot together) which all sort of hinges on the base cards (the green ones). You with me so far? Good, I'll continue... so how do you go about collecting these cards?
Basically you use elevators to move up and down the reactor and climb along various pegs stuck into the walls. You can drop from higher up pegs to lower ones and you have a momentum based "swinging" action which can fling you from lower pegs to higher pegs and ladders. It's all quite hard to comprehend until you actually try it out for yourself.
What's more, there is a fantastic interactive tutorial that takes you through every aspect of the game so you're not just dumped into it and expected to know what to do.
Everything is based against the clock and that really is your only enemy in this game, although the nasty green aliens that pull you from the pegs and kick you don't help much either.
Infact that was the one element of the game we didn't really understand - some parts you have to progress through two or three aliens who can attack you, but you appear to have no means to retaliate meaning you have to wait until they boot your from the reactor (or drag you with them in a suicide drop) before they'll go.
This is a puzzle game above and beyond anything else and well worth playing. If this competition had been based on originality alone, make no mistake about it, Ascender would most probably have won. Enjoy!