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Review

Review: Axiom Verge – if Metroid had a little brother

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The Metro­id saga is one of the most appre­cia­ted by fans, but late­ly the­re haven’t been any worthy sequel. The latest one was Other M, which didn’t feel right. Gamers have been wai­ting for a worthy suc­ces­sor of Super Metro­id, the game that defi­ned a side-scrol­ling adven­ture shoo­ter.

While we still have to wait for an offi­ci­al Nin­ten­do one, Tho­mas Happ, an indie deve­lo­per, tri­es to do what Nin­ten­do hasn’t done in a while: a spi­ri­tu­al suc­ces­sor to the 16 bit mas­ter­pie­ce. And he suc­cee­ded. Sim­ply put, Axi­om Ver­ge is one of the best indie games we’ve had the plea­su­re of play­ing.
Axiom VergeThe main cha­rac­ter, named Trace, is a sci­en­tist. When an expe­ri­ment he’s doing goes hor­ri­b­ly wrong, he gets somehow trans­por­ted to an ali­en world, with some bio­me­cha­ni­cal crea­tures as his allies. They have been hurt by someo­ne evil, who can be stop­ped only by Trace. It’s a cra­zy world fil­led with weird ali­en crea­tures. And they’re all try­ing to kill you. You’ll instant­ly noti­ce that the who­le sce­ne­ry is an homage to the Metro­id series, while adding some uni­que ele­ments of their own.

You’ll soon noti­ce some gra­phic glit­ches. At first we thought that, inde­ed, the game was glit­ching, and then we rea­li­zed that it’s part of the who­le game. In fact, the who­le back­ground of the game is based upon the con­cept of hacking. Asi­de from all sorts of dif­fe­rent wea­pons, you’ll have an hacking gun, which you can use to remo­ve some of tho­se glit­ches. But not only for that: you can also reveal hid­den plat­forms and using it against your enemies. Doing the lat­ter will chan­ge their beha­viour com­ple­te­ly, so that if it’s a dif­fi­cult ene­my you’re facing it will pro­bab­ly beco­me an easier chal­len­ge. It’s fun try­ing to expe­ri­ment with all the enemies and see how their beha­viour will chan­ge.Axiom Verge
As expec­ted from a Metro­id-kind of a game, explo­ra­ti­on is real­ly important. You’ll need to find several wea­pons, upgrades and power-ups if you hope to sur­vi­ve in this world. Speaking of sur­vi­val, expect to die. A lot. But don’t worry too much about it: you’ll auto­ma­ti­cal­ly be revi­ved at the latest save point if that does hap­pen. And you’ll keep every wea­pon and upgrade you’ve collec­ted so far, so you won’t need to do ever­ything again. But natu­ral­ly, enemies will respawn as well. We should also point out that, sin­ce you’re sup­po­sed to explo­re, you will need to do some back­tracking as well. But it’s real­ly satis­fac­to­ry using an upgrade to go into a place you couldn’t go befo­re.
Axiom VergeAxiom VergeAxiom Verge
The bos­ses are cree­py and uni­que, every boss has a uni­que weak point. That means that you will also need to choo­se your wea­pon accord­in­gly. A wea­pon may work on a cer­tain boss and may not on a dif­fe­rent one. That helps kee­ping the game chal­len­ging and make it even more satis­fy­ing when you final­ly find out how can you kill that annoy­ing boss. The sound­track is real­ly cree­py at some points, making you feel like you’re actual­ly the­re. Too bad the loops don’t work that well, when you’ll noti­ce a song actual­ly loo­ping it kin­da ruins the immer­si­on. But it’s only a minor com­p­laint; the game­play is real­ly satis­fy­ing and, as I’ve alrea­dy said, the are lots of wea­pons and upgrades, the lon­ge­vi­ty is pret­ty good, about 9/10 hours at least, it can also get to 12 if you explo­re ever­ything the game has to offer.

Conlusion

I sin­ce­rely hope Nin­ten­do makes noti­ce and final­ly deci­de to make a new worthy Metro­id. Mean­while, if you too enjoy the­se kind of games, go buy this gem. You won’t reg­ret it.

Axi­om Ver­ge
Gen­re: Action-Adven­ture
Review­ed on: PC
Sys­tems: PC/Mac (also on PS4)
Pri­ce: €17.99/£14.99/$19.99 (Steam/PSN)
Ent­wick­ler: Tho­mas Happ Games
Publisher: Tho­mas Happ Games

This game was pro­vi­ded by the publisher for review pur­po­ses, check our review poli­cy for details.

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