Axiom Verge is a science fiction-themed Metroidvania video game developed entirely by Thomas Happ and published by Thomas Happ Games for PlayStation 4 on 2014-03-21, and then later ported to several other platforms. You play a scientist named Trace who, after an experiment mishap, is transported to another planet where most of the occupants are either dead or dying after a deadly pathogen was released upon them. You explore the dangerous terrain trying to save the few remaining inhabitants. The game borrows heavily from the Metroid series, and other 8 and 16-bit games, but also adds a lot of content and power-ups never seen before.
I remember seeing screenshots of this game shortly after it came out and seeing an obvious correlation to Metroid, so I was pretty confident I would like it. I later saw the trailer and and friend of mine recommended it, so I added it to my Steam wish list and bought it when it was on sale. I really enjoyed the game and beat it on 2020-01-11.
I own the complete Axiom Verge bundle which comes with the game, soundtrack, and commentary videos through Steam. I beat the game with 90% items and 98% map.
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The graphics are gorgeous. The game has a lot of very attractive and intricate bosses and backgrounds and there is a lot of variation throughout the game.
- The music is really nice and atmospheric, but is still interesting enough to stand on its own.
- The game has a nice balance between feeling like you're exploring and getting lost, but I never needed to look for spoilers, which is always a good sign.
- I like the idea of a glitched reality, and the glitched animations are interesting to look at, especially the address bomb and red coat. The secret areas use great effects.
- The hallucination scene is pretty great, as is its boss battle.
- I appreciate that there is a save point outside of every boss room, and they're also scattered liberally around the map.
- I enjoyed the clear inspiration from Metroid, and the nods to Rygar and Bionic Commando are both great as well.
- Many of the game's items have tells to where they are hidden as long as you pay attention to the background. However, like with Metroid before it, a lot of the hidden objects have no hints at all, which means, if you want a 100% collection rate, you have to use the laser drill and teleport on pretty much every section wall in the game which is a very time-consuming and boring process.
- Several of the standard enemies require a lot of time to kill them for safe passage, even after you've collected most of the game's power-ups. This becomes annoying in areas where you're just traveling through to get somewhere else because it slows down progress. I would prefer that enemies that are only weak to the laser drill would become weak to normal weapons after enough power-ups.
- Like with many other Metroidvanias having to kill normal enemies feels wasteful and boring when you're full health, which is a fair amount of the time. I wish Thomas Happ would have used a more Castlevania-esque system where enemies drop random beneficial items or a currency that could be redeemed somewhere in the game.
- I found the bosses to be a bit too easy. I defeated most of them on my first attempt without even having to learn their pattern. Two of them killed me the first time through, however, once I found a better weapon to use, they too were pretty easy.
- I liked how the map system allowed for setting reminders, I just wish you could set more than per section.
- Like with most games that feature achievements, you get several of them for merely completing the necessary steps for beating the game, like killing bosses and glitching an enemy. I don't feel like these are "achievements."
- I don't like that the laser drill utilizes the analog trigger. There was never a time in the game that I didn't want it on full-blast.
- The grappling hook power-up doesn't feel very fluid. I would have liked it to work a bit more like Bionic Commando.
- Beyond the two translation codes, I never did find any of the other codes in the game necessary to get some of the last items I missed. I have seen them in walkthroughs, but do not understand how they can be obtained without spoilers.
- I felt like the Field Disruptor was only really useful at the beginning of the game. Glitching the enemies was usually too slow to bother with it, and, for the bulk of the game, it isn't needed for puzzles. However, there was one use of it near the end of the game that was very clever.
The only physical release of the game was for the Switch.