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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.
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.