Ascendancy is a 4X science fiction turn-based strategy computer game. It was released for DOS in 1995 and re-released for iOS in 2011 by The Logic Factory. Ascendancy is a galactic struggle to become the dominant life force; hence the title. The game's introductory cinematic states "Wildly different cultures competed for the same worlds. In the enormous upheaval that followed, one of these species would gain ascendancy."
Ascendancy was released during a golden age rush of 4X space games in the mid-1990s. Several reviewers praised the game for having great graphics, being entertaining, and being fun to play. At the same time Ascendancy was criticized for having weak computer opponents, which some reviewers felt made the game too easy.
In Ascendancy the player takes on the role of leader of an alien species, tasked with guiding their people into space to explore and colonize other worlds. The player does this by building structures and space ships, researching technology, and growing stronger through war or diplomacy.
Players begin with a single colony planet which must be developed. They can select several types of buildings to construct on the planet's surface, and can eventually construct spaceships and leave the planet altogether. Ships travel to other solar systems along determined paths, called star lanes.
Spaceships can peacefully colonize unoccupied planets or invade inhabited planets and usurp structures. They can also do battle with enemy planets or other ships.
Ascendancy's primary display is a three-dimensional rotatable model of the galaxy, which details the galaxy's solar systems, starlanes, and civilizations. The player can "zoom in" to view rotatable models of solar systems (including planets and ships); view a planet's surface; and use various screens to manage their fleet, planets, and research. This play style is similar to the Master of Orion series.