Axiom Verge is the brainchild of Thomas Happ, you may not know much about Thomas but his pedigree from working on Triple A and household titles such as Tiger Woods led him to create Axiom Verge a small project he’s worked on tirelessly for the past 5 years. Axiom Verge is the deliverance of this vision and hard work but does this metroidvania style puzzle plat former deliver?
Axiom Verge is the story of a scientist called Trace caught up in an accident on Earth that went horribly wrong and awaken in an alien world. An alien world you will be tasked with exploring. Dispelling disbelief for a split second how Trace just rises to this is quite comical if not heroic & inspiring. The Story plays out as you traverse the planet and line of dialogue help you the player understand and piece together the situation you find yourself in.
The crown on Axiom verge’s duel is the gameplay. Despite its pixelated graphics looking a bit dated the gameplay quickly has you hooked. Jumping, shooting and exploring this world is great fun and never looses its edge. At times the shooting can be a bit difficult to master especially if you want to fire at 45 degree angles something the controller on the PS4 doesn’t respond to very effectively. The basics are enough to get you started on your exploration and hunt down those boss battles.
The game offers little in the way of direction in terms of objectives, its up to you to find out what you are looking for and in places the map is not kind to making this obvious. The map is split into segments and as you enter them they light up on your mini map. At times I found myself going round in circles looking for that next tunnel to head on through. This can feel tedious but there’s a valuable reward when uncovering each new area. New areas offer plenty of variety to the game from new monsters and wildlife to shoot or dodge, power ups and pick-ups or simply finding a new secret area.
Exploration is actively encouraged in the game and I found this more enjoyable than searching for the actual objective. Uncovering new areas feels great and some are very well hidden. As you unlock new abilities for your character these become easier to access but you will likely find that the reward is found by retracing your steps and scouring that earlier area of the map to find the spot your new ability will help you unlock. It helps offer up a range of longevity to the game. Uncovering the secret areas will bear various rewards from health nodes, upgrades and notes.
The weapon unlocks and character upgrades really help showcase the sophisticated level design that the developer has put in place. The almost maze like map will keep you hooked for hours. Not all weapons have only one firing mode either which helps add to puzzle solving and also tactics when deciding how best to take out the new foe you just encountered. The enemy design is well throughout with a large variety of enemy types, not all the enemies felt as though they fitted the environment but as you progress through the map the difficulty curve is balanced enough to help you forget those little issues.
Boss battles are present in the game and much like in titles like Rogue legacy they involve a room lock and either you win or the boss wins. These sections also help add to the story a little bit and unlock further areas. We did find the first 3 bosses a tad too easy and for us only our patience was tested not our ability to outsmart the boss. Standing and shooting steadily for a good couple of minutes didn’t showcase the sort of variety in a boss fight I would have wanted or believe this game should deliver.
Thankfully for those challenging moments the game is kind to casual players alike with save points never too far away from the action. However the game will put you back where you last saved so if you’ve been exploring for a period of time and a long way from where you last saved beware you will be heading all the way back there upon death and only your memory will help guide you back to where you came. This is one of the charms of the game where at times you will be wondering where you are and what way do I go? Its not damaging to the game however as there are so many directions you can take that inevitably you will stumble on one or two new areas you can either choose to explore there and then or take a mental note to get their when you have the ability to.
The sound in the game is fairly basic with unique weapon sounds. There’s little environmental sounds but this game has its own unique soundtrack and this does deliver a high level of quality. Better still the soundtrack was also written by Thomas Hap there is clearly no end to this mans talent. Have a preview listen to it here.
Axiom verge is exclusive to the Playstation platform and initially releasing on PS4 the title does include Cross Buy functionality so players looking to pick this up on PSVita don’t hold back grab it now and enjoy the PSVita version for free when it releases soon.
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