Mentioning and detailing the polarizing popularity of retro-inspired games would not be a good use of my time. Reading hundreds or even thousands of words written about the relative awesomeness of the renaissance of the 2D exploration platformer would be a waste of your time and quite obvious. The same could be said of pointing out the Super Metroid, Bionic Commando and Contra influences in Tom Happ’s Axiom Verge. The comparisons are undeniable and I have no qualms with them.
Axiom Verge puts players in control of Trace who is involved in an experiment gone wrong. Trace ends up in another world and must follow the directions of a mysterious female voice to survive. The narrative in Axiom Verge has its share of twists, reveals and inquiries into the true meaning of identity and some admittedly familiar gameplay. That may sound reductive but Tom Happ’s take on the genre goes so much further than the games that inspired it. There are an almost ludicrous number of weapons, upgrades, abilities and secrets within Axiom Verge. So many in fact that the game can be completed having only found a fraction of them. The incredibly diverse and dense level of exploration is aided with a great map and unique fast-travel system.
Working on various levels is something that Axiom Verge excels at. It offers a huge selection of weaponry and secrets for the completionists, challenging but not impossible boss battles, a mysterious and engaging story, a speedrun mode and well-placed save points for all. It may sound hyperbolic, and perhaps cliche, but Axiom Verge is truly one of the best homages to classic 8 and 16-bit games. I am honestly not sure what separates Axiom Verge from the multitude of other high quality nostalgia rich games. However if you spend too much time searching for clarity in the aforementioned notion without playing Axiom Verge, you are truly missing out.
Recommendation: Worth a buy – Now
Full Disclosure: The PS4 version of this game was provided to GameEnthus by the publisher.
Genre: 2D action retro-inspired exploration
Developer: Thomas Happ Games
Publisher: Thomas Happ Games
Platform(s): PS4, PS Vita, PC
Worth a buy – paying full price for fans of the series or genre makes sense – often includes a caveat
Worth a buy on sale – not quite full price worthy but close, – often includes a caveat
No – borrow it if you must play it
Please no – Don’t waste any time and/or money on it