The Ascot’s story seems to be an Excuse Plot, though that might not be the nicest comparison to make.
The gameplay seems to revolve around finding the best ending through trial-and-error; the story exists only as a justification for the gameplay. Many interactive fiction games, that use a parser, tend to place more emphasis on the player solving puzzles as opposed to the player being engaged by a detailed plot. Arguably, The Ascot could be seen as rarer example of a game that places emphasis on solving a puzzle (finding the best ending), but has no parser for the player to use.
That being said, I hate puzzles. And I hate the parser.
The Ascot is an exception to my eternal malice towards puzzles because it does not use a parser, but I only find it to be mildly enjoyable.
The plot is deliberately silly; don’t play The Ascot expecting to have the feels after completing the game.
I still have not found the best ending.
I am not sure if, upon reaching the best ending, the game would lock itself and require a purchase for the player to continue playing.
I am not sure if the unlimited version contains additional features not seen in the free version.
There is a general vagueness plaguing the game that makes me reluctant to shell out the five bucks needed to disable the free version’s five minute wait.
By comparison, Tin Star is also five dollars, but it is very, very, meaty. The source code for Tin Star exceeds 1.3 million words, which automatically adds some justification for the steeper price tag.
That being said, Tin Star was a remarkable game. I’d have been willing to pay ten bucks for it.
The Ascot? Not quite my cup of tea.
My guess is that The Ascot justifies its high price tag due to it being a nominee of the 2009 XYZZY Awards for Best Individual Puzzle; this means that the game has been around for a while and may have received a fair amount of attention and popularity.
Nonetheless, I would agree that the current pricing is a bit high, especially considering that other, less expensive games exist in CoG’s lineup that offer the player a richer experience.