Axiom Verge

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Xbox One title card.

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 and experiment mishap, is transported to another planet where a most of the occupants are either dead or dying because of a ruthless evil bent on taking over the universe. 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.

Status

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.

Review

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8 9 9 8 7

Best Version: Windows

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • 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 interest 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.

Bad

  • 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. Most of them were cake, but two of them killed me the first time through. However, once I found a better weapon to use, they too were pretty easy.
  • 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 uses the analog bumper. 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.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Links

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